Monday, April 14, 2014

Þorrablót in Toronto

You should already now, from reading my posts about the country, that I have a frank and irrational crush on Iceland.  It's so absolute and passionate that, when I found out the Icelandic Canadian Club of Toronto was hosting a Þorrablót (sounds sort of like Thorrrrabloht), which is a 19th century festival inspired on a 12th century custom where people get together, have speeches, tell stories, drink and eat traditional Icelandic fare (þorramatur), my vegan me had to give way to my Iceland-is-super-rad me.   

[NECESSARY SIDE NOTE:  So, yeah, in 12 years of veganism I haven't been 100% vegan 100% of the time.  Big deal.  I've still been vegan the vast majority of the time.  When people tell me they couldn't do veganism fully, I tell them they should do whatever they can.  My philosophy about this particular subject is doing the best you can, and not deciding to do nothing simply because you can't do everything.]  

And now that I've dealt with the big, dead, roasted elephant in the room, let me get back to the Þorrablót!  Well, to the dishes.  Having been twice to Iceland and witnessed Icelanders partying in many different places, yesterday night's Canadian-Icelandic crowd was, well, really quiet and well behaved.  So there's actually little to nothing to say about the "party" (thank Thor we were there with good friends! [bad joke? Thor? hmmm].  But the þorramatur, the food, well, that was something you wouldn't just get at any corner shop, eh?

Among the appetizers you had (are you ready?) súrir lundabaggar (soured roll of lamb flank), harðfiskur (wind dried fish), hrútspungar (ram's testicles soured in whey), blóðmör (blood sausage), hákarl (fermented shark) and svíð (burned sheep head, listed as an appetizer, but placed at the main table, because of it's size maybe?):

Then, as the main dinner you had, among others, hangikjöt (smoked Icelandic leg of lamb), lax (poached salmon), brúnaðar kartöflur (roast sugared potatoes), rófustappa (mashed turnip), rauðkál (braised red cabbage) and pylsur (Icelandic hot dogs!):

Finally, for dessert - and don't ask me how we managed to fit dessert in after appetizers, dinner and a bottle of mead (mead!) - we had the opportunity to pile our plates high with vínarterta (a layered Icelandic cake that was popular in Iceland in the 19th century and which remains popular in the US and Canada), kleinur (trapezoidal fried pastries), pönnukökur (thin pancakes), skyr (Icelandic yogurt),  sætsúpa (sweet compote soup with cream), smákökur (cookies)...

So, if the feast wasn't rowdy, at least the food was really one of a kind.   My inner Icelandic-troll was pretty happy, and certainly fuller that it'd ever been! Takk!

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