'Viking Age Food—Looking for a Lost Food Culture'

Culinary archaeologist and lecturer Daniel Serra, from Malmo, Sweden, will give a presentation titled "Viking Age Food—Looking for a Lost Food Culture" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 7:30 p.m. in the Franklin W. Olin Building, Room 102 at Luther College. Serra's newest book "An Early Meal – a Viking Age Cookbook & Culinary Odyssey" will be available for purchase and signing at the presentation. This event will be open to the public with no charge for admission.

 "Serra is a leading expert on Viking age food and is highly sought after for lectures and workshops," Darlene Fossum-Martin, Vesterheim's education specialist. Serra says he has been actively engaged in experimental archaeology in order to get a better understanding of the cooking methods and culinary possibilities of both Viking age and medieval cuisine. He discovered his interest in historical food when he started to study archaeology in the early 1990s. As a student he experimented with ancient Roman, medieval and Renaissance recipes and later, he started a medieval catering company, delivering facts about the food and culture as he served the guests. Serra is a Ph.D. student in archaeology working on a doctoral thesis on Viking age food culture.

Serra's research has so far produced two cookbooks. The first was a medieval cookbook "En sås av ringa värde," based on a Danish thirteenth-century manuscript, was published in 2009. He released his second book, a Viking-age based cookbook and culinary factbook, "An Early Meal," in 2013. This book was nominated best historical cookbook at the International Association of Culinary Professionals' awards ceremony in Chicago. The book, now available in English, takes readers on a journey to discover the food culture of Viking Age Scandinavia. The first part explains what the Vikings ate and how their food was cooked. The second part is a cookbook containing 42 recipes from seven different Viking age settlements.

This event is a collaboration between Vesterheim, the national Norwegian-American museum and heritage center in Decorah, and the Luther College Nordic Studies Department.

Through 33,000 objects and 12 historic buildings, Vesterheim, the national Norwegian-American museum and heritage center in Decorah, Iowa, shares the most comprehensive collection of Norwegian-American artifacts in the world. This treasure is also a center for folk-art education, offering a wide variety of classes in traditional and contemporary Norwegian folk art. For more information on the museum, check Vesterheim’s website at vesterheim.org, call (563) 382-9681, or write to Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, 502 W. Water St., P.O. Box 379, Decorah, IA, 52101-0379.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,005, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.

Daniel Serra