Lofotr Vikingmuseum has employed the Swedish archaeologist Daniel Serra to experiment with Viking Age food. He uses reproductions of Viking Age cooking equipment to cook food, inspired partly by archaeological finds, partly by Viking Age accounts of food, and partly by medieval recipes and accounts of food. The outcomes of his experiments every day also form his lunch for the day. He will be with us until some time in July, and writes about his experiments and experiences in his English-language blog eldrimner.wordpress.com.
Some of the things he's been working on so far include:
- cold-smoking both untreated and salted meats using just the smoke present from keeping the room's fireplace lit
- cold-smoking us poor guides - this is a default extension of the previous point (the sacrifices we make for science...)
- making an approximation of the thrall's meal from Rigsthula - soup based on stock from boiled meat and tough, heavy bread
- regaining salt from spent brine
- extracting bone marrow from sheep bones without cracking the bone (ethnological accounts from Iceland indicate a longstanding superstition that breaking a bone was considered bad luck, and a find of a lamb bone with a small hole in it, from the Viking Age, is seen as support of this)
- popping malt
Most recently he is asking for suggestions about medieval uses of potash or lye, apart from soap, glass and tinder - if anybody has any suggestions, I'm sure he'll be very happy to get feedback.