Of pots and porridge: food, cooking, and serving in Old Norse sources

Steve Ashby, Harriet J Evans Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores the ways in which medieval Icelanders imagined the food and culinary practices of their Viking-Age ancestors. Through a critical synthesis of vocabulary and narrative in sagas, poetry and law texts, it becomes possible to move beyond isolated references to food and culinary practice, and to begin to consider attitudes to particular foods and technologies. The survey identifies some apparent constants in culinary memory – boiling, the use of kettles – as well as contrasting cooking and eating practices in elite and non-elite circles, and in foreign and domestic settings. The textual evidence thus usefully augments and nuances what can be gleaned from the material remains of culinary practice in Viking and medieval Iceland.
Original languageEnglish
JournalViking and Medieval Scandinavia
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021

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  • food, cooking, sagas, eddic poetry, skaldic poetry, þættir, cooking pots

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