I found this interesting article on the origins of the Scandinavian Diet:
“The origin of the Scandinavian diet dates back many thousands of years. Because the winters in Scandinavia are long and cold and last for many months, methods of preserving foods so that they could be kept and eaten through the winter months had to be developed early. Because the Scandinavian countries are all on the sea, many different types of seafoods were widely available. In an attempt to preserve these available foods, the process of smoking and drying was widely used. Even before the year 1000, the Vikings were catching and drying cod so that they could take it with them on their voyages.
The long, cold Scandinavian winters also meant that early Scandinavians needed to preserve other types of foods, not just meats and seafoods. Cheese making is popular in Scandinavia, because making cheese is a good way of preserving milk. Fresh milk spoils very quickly, but cheese concentrates many of the nutrients of milk, and concentrates the energy in it, in a way that can be stored for a long time, sometimes for years. Beets and potatoes are also popular in Scandinavia, possibly because they are root vegetables, and root vegetables tend to store better than other types of vegetables.
Sugar did not arrive in Scandinavia until relatively late. The first time that sugar is recorded as having been brought to Sweden was in 1324. At that time 1.5 kilograms (about 3.3 pounds) was imported to celebrate the funeral of the wealthiest man in the country. Sugar would have been available only to the extremely wealthy for a long time afterwards, and would have remained an expensive commodity for hundreds of years.”
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