Olde Nordic dishes: Smalaføter / Columns / The Foreigner

Olde Nordic dishes: Smalaføter. Sheep in Norway used to be consumed from head to toe. Cooked hooves were another Christmastime foodstuff. Classed as being generally more of an ordinary meal rather than the festive smalahove, the cloven hooves were prepared at the same time, and in the same way as the sheep’s head. About three to four hours of cooking time was needed before the hooves were ready to be served. They could be eaten together with smalahove, raspeballer (flour and grated potato-based dumplings) or blodpølser (a cooked/dried blood-based sausage).  

sheep, christmas, norway, food



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Olde Nordic dishes: Smalaføter

Published on Wednesday, 30th December, 2015 at 13:59 under the columns category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 30th December 2015 at 14:21.

Sheep in Norway used to be consumed from head to toe. Cooked hooves were another Christmastime foodstuff.

Norway sheep and landscape
Norway sheep and landscape
Photo: Thomas Mues/Wikimedia Commons


Classed as being generally more of an ordinary meal rather than the festive smalahove, the cloven hooves were prepared at the same time, and in the same way as the sheep’s head.

About three to four hours of cooking time was needed before the hooves were ready to be served. They could be eaten together with smalahove, raspeballer (flour and grated potato-based dumplings) or blodpølser (a cooked/dried blood-based sausage).  

Cooking the hooves also produced a rich stock, which was eaten together with the hooves themselves or other meat, such as meat soup. Another way of eating the stock was to dunk flatbrød (flatbread) into it.

There were regional variations to the dish too. Some people either scalded or singed the hooves before placing them in brine prior to drying or smoking them. Two western Norway counties’ traditions were almost like chalk and cheese, so to speak.

Hedmark County diners would have been served hooves in a cream-based white sauce, with a little syrup or sugar added on festive occasions. This was accompanied by flatbread or lefse (a type of soft flatbread), as well as potatoes (in the 1800s). People meticulously removed a bitter-tasting lock of hair from between both toes before eating the cloven hooves.

In Rogaland County’s district of Jæren, sumptuous fare was produced by cooking them slowly for between eight and 12 hours before they were left to cool in the stock. This made the hooves tenderer and resulted in the stock jellifying. The dish was eaten in the evening accompanied by foodstuffs including bread.

 “For those of us who grew up with that tradition, the fragrance of the cauldron containing sheep’s hooves was the real smell of Christmas,” the (unnamed) author from Jæren wrote about his childhood memories.

“There are other food customs now, and Christmas Eve is dominated by pinnekjøtt (mutton ribs) and ribbe (pork ribs with crackling) […] But for hard-core sheep’s hooves lovers, a nigh religious atmosphere still rests over a meal of hooves,” he/she continued.

Norway currently has some 19 different breeds of sheep.

(Sources: Members’ organisation Norsk Sau og Geit (unknown article author)/article for private organisation Opplysningskontoret for egg og kjøtt (The Information Office for Eggs and Meat) by Kari-B. Vold Halvorsen, curator at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (Norsk Folkemuseum))




Published on Wednesday, 30th December, 2015 at 13:59 under the columns category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 30th December 2015 at 14:21.

This post has the following tags: sheep, christmas, norway, food.





  
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