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Viking Foods 8 – Meals & Feasts by Rob Shackleford

Viking Foods 8 – Meals & Feasts by Rob Shackleford

Viking meals and feasts by Rob Shackleford

In discussing Viking foods, it’s important to consider when foods were eaten.

Most Viking family meals were eaten in a common room of the longhouse. This meal was often either a stew served with bread or, in Iceland at least, skyr, a type of yoghurt, and cheese with bread. The Norse ate two meals a day: one, the dagveror (day meal) shortly after waking in the morning and the other, the nattveror (night meal), in the evening, roughly around 9:00 pm (21:00).

The Vikings had bowls and plates very similar to our own, but made more often from wood rather than pottery. Spoons were made from wood, horn or animal bone. They were often carved with delicate patterns of interlaced knotwork and the heads of fabulous beasts. Drink was taken in horns, similarly decorated and sometimes with metal tips and rims.

Everyone had a personal knife which was an all-purpose tool and, at the table, served as both knife and fork. The fork was unknown in Scandinavia during the Viking Age but a pointed stick was sometimes used for the same purpose. The family would gather at a table in the central room of the house and sit on benches. Most tables were of rough wood but wealthier families had crafted and polished wooden tables covered by a linen table cloth.


Viking feasts and meals by Rob Shackleford

Aside from the daily meals, there were ritual feasts – such as at weddings and funerals or to seal a business contract – and the famous sumbl, the Viking drinking party. The sumbl involved far more drink than food, and, as with the meal in one’s home, was prepared and presented by women.

Often, a celebration meant a sacrificed horse, where the meat was spitted and roasted like a kebab. There was also roast lamb, salted fish and pork, goat and plenty of fresh bread. For dessert the Vikings ate fresh fruit and a little honey on buttered bread. Beer was drunk as well as mead, made from honey.

Feasts were often a show of power and influence, where a leader was measured by the generosity of his table. Foods at a feast might mean importing goods from far afield to include wine and foods never seen by the common folk.

Compared to today’s diets, the diet of almost any people of 1000 years in the past was very limited. Today we think nothing of eating foods from throughout the world, eaten out of season, and often prepared by some of the world’s finest cooks and chefs.

Many of our images of Vikings are highly glamorized, especially of feasts. There were no forks, horned helmets, or beautiful Viking women in warrior garb. But it makes for a terrific story.

Viking feasts and meals by Rob Shackleford

Would you survive if you were sent to Viking times?

More links and Viking Recipes

Recipe Book

Find out more


Viking Life by John Guy and Richard Hall (Ticktock, 1998)

Encyclopaedia of the Viking Age by John Haywood (Thames &Hudson, 2000)

Cultural Atlas of the Viking Age edited by Graham-Campbell et al (Andromeda, 1994)

Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings by John Haywood (Penguin, 1996). Detailed maps of Viking settlements in Scotland, Ireland, England, Iceland and Normandy.

Other Viking Blogs

Why Vikings?

Who Were the Vikings?

What did Vikings Look Like?

Viking Ginger Connection

Vikings Loved Bling Part 1

Viking Hygiene

Viking Clothes – Looking Good!

Viking Men’s wear

Viking Women’s Wear

Vikings Loved Bling Part 1

Viking Jewellery Part 2

Inked Up – Vikings and Tattoos

Were Vikings Inked?  Part 2

Viking Health

Viking Teeth

Viking Medicine

Vikings at Home

Viking Society

Viking Thralls

Viking Karls

Viking Jarls

Viking Women Part 1

Viking Women Part 2

Viking Women Part 3

Viking Villages and Towns

Viking Fortresses

Vikings and Cats

Vikings Loved Dogs

Viking Pet Menagerie

Live Like a Viking

 Viking Foods 1 – Day Begins

 Viking Foods 2 – Grains and Bread

 Viking Foods 3 – Vikings Ate Their Veges

 Viking Foods 4 – Sea Food

Viking Foods 5 – Fruits & Sweets 

Viking Foods 6 – Meats

 Viking Foods 7 – Booze





About the author:

Hi, I’m Rob Shackleford. I am author of a number of novels, though so far only Traveller Inceptio and Traveller Probo have been officially published. As Traveller Inceptio looks at the fates of modern historical researchers sent to the early 11th Century Saxon world, Vikings do feature.

Below are the Amazon links for the two novels so far.

In reading my novels, I ask if you wouldn’t mind posting a review and, perhaps, a picture of yourself with my book – either paperback or on kindle. Link to me on Social Media. I most welcome your comments and images.

I hope you enjoy.

Rob Shackleford Traveller Inceptio - a novel by Rob Shackleford Traveller Probo - Book 2 of the Traveller Series by author Rob Shackleford

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Short Stories

Rob Shackleford - The Coin short story

Travelling New ZealandRob Shackleford and Deborah-Jane Mackay Travelling with Traveller Inceptio on Brecon Beacons Travelling the UKRob Shackleford and Deborah-Jane Mackay house sit Anglesey in Wales India by Royal EnfieldShacklefords ride India - Royal Enfield Bullet

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