Cooking is one thing but what I really enjoy is the research, finding old well loved recipes, researching what was found in a trash dump at an archaeological site and how they may have made dishes and food, reading in Sagas and books about the feasts that were held and the food present. Checking out finds on kitchen utensils and sites.
I am now starting on a journey focusing on Viking cuisine and am starting with dairy. Specifically a often mentioned product called Skyr. The easiest way to describe it is a soured milk or drinkable yogurt. Even to this day Scandinavians are rarely lactose intolerant due to the large amount of dairy in there diet.
Also in a day and age where safe drinking water was not a walk to the kitchen sink away having a shelf stable milk has a lot of advantages. Something that would keep while you were out and about, farming, hunting, tending a herd, and traveling makes a lot of sense. It also has a lot of great health benefits as a few variations of it are still made to this day. It is easier to digest due to the fermentation and filled with probiotics
Skyr is mentioned in a few Sagas including Egil's Saga, there is also a written record where a bag filled with Skyr was used to help settle an argument, the bag was wounded rather then the participants. It is a fermented product and I was able to track down cultures to make my first batch. It balances between a yogurt and a cheese and can be made in different thicknesses based on how long you let it set and can be remade over and over by adding a little of your last batch to the new milk which would be easy enough to do. Even then, by adding milk back into the container and letting it set for a few days to let the cultures ferment the fresh milk.
So here is my first batch, using the culture and local whole milk. It does have a consistence of a runny yogurt and is a little on the sour side. I think the flavor will develop as more batches are made. Skol!