föstudagur, janúar 20, 2006


Today is Bóndadagur, or Man-of-the-House Day. It's the kickoff of the Þorrablót festival, the old Viking midwinter festival and the start of the month of Þorri on the Old Norse calendar. It's traditional during this time to eat the Icelandic foods that come from the days when making use of every part of the animal was necessary to stave off starvation. Some of the foods include sviðasulta (sheeps-head jelly), hrútspungar (pickled ram testicles in loaf form), sviðahaus (singed sheep head or half-head), hákarl (fermented shark meat in little cubes), the slátur (slaughter) category which includes blóðmör (blood pudding) and lifrapylsur (liver pudding), lundabaggar (literally, "puffin-bales", but closer to a fruit roll-up, except made of fatty meat), og fleira, og fleira. I expect there will be a small spread of samplings at lunch later today, and tonight I was invited to an all-male 800-person Viking dinner in Árbær that I turned down. I don't think I am up for 4-5 hours of Brennivín shots and plates of sour, grey meat. I was a vegetarian for seven years, after all.

Today it's traditional for women to do something nice for their men. I am eager to see what E has cooked up for me. Probably a nice hangikjöt (smoked lamb) dinner, which would suit me just fine.


Blogger Paul said...

sounds awesome. I finally picked my cod book back up read yesterday that Icelandic people traditionally ate every part of the cod. Each little piece is part a separate dish. The bones were softened using sour milk until they could be eaten :-) mmmmmm... sour milk.

Blogger Farbror Willy said...

Actually the "lunda" part in lundabaggar doesn't refer to puffins, I think it refers to "lundir", which means tenderloins if I'm not mistaken. So it's probably some made from some part of the sheep near there.

Anonymous Nafnlaus said...

Hello Admiral J

The sheep jam you refer to is actually known in parts of the Anglophone world as head cheese, although then you would be using pork instead of sheep, but the sheep are much tastier. Also, we will use all the head excluding the brain (but including eyes, ears, mouthfill, etc.) while, from what I understand from head cheese production, people are a bit more selective as to what is used.
Kapitan M

Blogger Moxx said...

vegetarian for seven years? why'd you switch back to carnivore? (just curious).

Blogger JB said...

PLo, that sour milk is damn good stuff, if it's the same as today's súrmjólk. It's a lot like buttermilk in the US, but creamier. They have all kinds of flavored varieties to put on cereal for breakfast. And it makes great muffins, too.

F. Willy, ok! I was misled by Dr. D and others in the office into believing it was all about puffins.

Magnús, I think that sviðasulta is perhaps the most difficult thing I have ever eaten. I did manage a largeish piece, but it was rough. The fact that it's served cold is maybe the hardest part.

Moxx, Iceland switched me back to carnivore. It's possible to be vegetarian here, but much more difficult than it was in Boston. And our lunches at work are all company-catered and rarely offer a vegetarian option. If I were to move elsewhere, I'd go back on the wagon again.


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