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The Norwegian Viking

If you are anything like me, then the first thing you think about when you think of Norway are the Vikings. Which isn’t really fair to the rest of the Scandinavian world as the Vikings hailed from all the Scandinavian countries at one time. Being a seafaring people meant that the oceans and seas were part of your domain.

Norway is more than its history, though it is a beautiful land of mountains, rivers and fjords that capture the imagination. In her Norwegian trilogy called, Kristin Lavransdatter, set in the 14th century, Sigrid Undset gives us a taste of medieval Norwegian food. She says at a picnic in the mountains the family had “soft bread and thin lefse, butter and cheese, pork and wind-dried reindeer meat, lard, boiled beef brisket, two large kegs of German ale, and a small jug of mead.”

Like most of the Scandinavian world, the Norwegians enjoy lots of seafood. Besides fish though, pork, mutton, lamb and preserved meats of all kinds are widely eaten. Many of these can be found in stews or roasts. Meat is not the only thing on the menu though as vegetables like onions, carrots, cabbage, leeks, turnips and peas are often added to these dishes.

Norwegians are huge dairy eaters too. Norway is in the top 20 of the countries in the world that produce cheese. One of their most famous cheeses is not really a cheese at all. The sweet brown cheese called brunost is made of caramelized lactose. It’s a very unique flavor! 

Like their Viking forbears, the modern Norwegians still love their breads and the native fruits of their land like cloudberries, lingonberries and bilberries. Their most famous bread is probably lefse, a flat potato and white flour bread made around the holidays. Butter and sugar are sprinkled on and then the bread is rolled up to enjoy.

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