So… one of the things influencing my Viking recreation efforts these days is that since last summer I’m doing my best to only eat plants. Let’s say “plant-powered” rather than the v-word, since that comes with so much political baggage. It doesn’t always work out, but I think in aggregate I maybe miss by 5-10% a week (and that’s usually cheese or eggs in something).
Anyway, the Vikings obviously didn’t eat that way. I think that they (or at least many of them) relied heavily on dairy products and that meat and fish were a constant (if not staple foods). At the same time, I think they ate a lot of plants too, probably more than we do in the modern American diet.
Where I’m going with all this is that I’ll be continuing to experiment, but there may be a few substitutions here and there. I want to try to stick to “Viking-possible” if not “Viking-probable” ingredients. As an example, I’ll use hazelnut milk as a substitute for dairy milk. I know the Vikings ate lots of hazelnuts. We know that Medieval Europeans made “milk” from almonds. Does that mean vegan Vikings drank hazelnut milk? Nope. Hence possible, not probable. What I won’t be doing is making Viking porridge with tempeh bacon. Not even possible.
Alright, that said, over the weekend I tried out the first plant-based experiment at Eulalia’s open fire cooking day. In a round bottomed clay pot, I stewed a leek and a turnip (diced) in hazelnut milk (I used Pacific Foods brand, but I’ll probably try making my own) until the turnips started to soften up. To that I added some brown mustard seed, a bunch of fresh dill (chopped), a bunch of watercress (chopped), and a bag of frozen green peas, plus a little salt at the end. I was pretty pleased, and would certainly consider making this again. Some people found the “dill as a vegetable” a bit much, but I’m a fan, and it has a great texture. Kale or cabbage would do well in this too, and it might not be bad with dried peas, although the overall “green-ness” of the peas + dill + watercress was nice. I also considered trying dried fava beans, so maybe that will be next time. I had meant to pick up some dried dulse (seaweed) to add, which I think would have been good, but I forgot.