Sea fare and menu

Photo: Torben Ellehøj Okkels
Published 28th Jul 2019

Everyday life on a Viking ship is somewhat different than it is at home. You sleep where you can and it takes a lot of energy to be on the water so many hours a day. Therefore, it is not without significance that you get some proper food. But how do you actually eat on a viking voyage?

Saga texts and finds from, for example, the Oseberg Ship from Norway tell us that the fare at sea consisted of porridge, flour, dried fish, butter and bread. Boiled or roasted meat was rarely part of the provisions. The most common drink on board was water; this was carried in barrels or vats. Beer was only found on the chieftains’ or the King’s warships.

On board Skjoldungen today the diet is more varied but it is still important that provisions on board are able to be kept fresh for a longer period of time. Like the Vikings, the crew on Skjoldungen also mostly drink water.

Generally, the crew eats breakfast and dinner on shore and lunch at sea. Torben Okkels has been so kind as to write to us about their diet:

We have a 2-burner cooker. In the box we store 2 large pots, 1 pan and a kettle. In the box we also store matches and a lighter in a waterproof container.

In the morning we make oatmeal in the largest pot. 4 liters of water are boiled, a little salt and 1 packet of oatmeal are emptied into the pan. We can supplement the oatmeal with raisins, almonds, syrup and milk if we have it. We have brought shared cutlery. "Plates" are large plastic mugs from Friluftsland. We cook water for tea, coffee or cocoa, and for filling our thermos so that we can enjoy a warm cup on the sea. We drink out of small plastic mugs, each crew member has a color with their name.

Onions are a good vegetable to have at sea, as it can stay fresh relatively long and contains lots of vitamin c.

We are 8 people on board. We make breakfast and dinner 2 and 2 in turn. So every 4th days you are in charge of making food and doing dishes.

Often it is a stew for dinner, but on Thursday night it was on tortillas, they tasted good. 

Created by Sabine Stubbe Østergaard