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Þorramatur

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Þorramatur (Icelandic pronunciation: ​; transliterated as thorramatur; food of Þorri) is a selection of traditional Icelandic food, consisting mainly of meat and fish products cured in a traditional manner, cut into slices or pieces and served with rúgbrauð (dense and dark rye bread), butter and brennivín (an Icelandic akvavit). Þorramatur is consumed during the Nordic month of Þorri (Thorri), in January and February, particularly at the mid-winter feast of Þorrablót (Thorrablot) as a tribute to old culture. Being thus connected with the tradition of Þorrablót festivals, Þorramatur is most often served as a buffet.

Left (from top to bottom, left to right): Hangikjöt, Hrútspungar, Lifrarpylsa, Blóðmör, Hákarl, Svið. Right: Rúgbrauð (dark brown in color), Flatbrauð
Lifrarpylsa: liver sausage, cooking in a pot
Harðfiskur: wind-dried fish
Svið: boiled sheep's head, served here with mashed potatoes and mashed turnips

Contents

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Þorramatur is an example of an invented tradition that first emerged with the midwinter festivals of regional associations of migrants who had moved from the Icelandic countryside to Reykjavík during the urbanisation boom of the post-World War II era. These festivals were very popular in the 1950s and 1960s and some of them are still held every year, although their impact on Reykjavík nightlife has greatly diminished. Sometimes at these events there would be served "Icelandic food" or "Icelandic food by ancient custom". This was usually a buffet of country food, often particular to the region in question and quite familiar to the people attending, but which had become rare on the tables of ordinary city-dwelling Icelanders by the middle of the 20th century.

The idea of connecting this kind of buffet to the month of Þorri and the Þorrablót festivals, which had been held by many student associations since the late 19th century, came from the restaurant Naustið in Reykjavík. In 1958 the restaurant started advertising Þorramatur, which is the first mention of the word in Icelandic texts. The food was served in large wooden troughs, containing enough food for four people, which were copies of old troughs that could be seen at the National Museum of Iceland. The idea, according to the restaurant owner, was to give people who were not members of a regional association the opportunity to taste traditional country food. It was also an attempt to generate business in an otherwise rather dull season for restaurants. The attempt was successful, as the idea immediately caught on and boosted the popularity of Naustið, even though it was quickly copied by other restaurants. Very soon, many of the regional and student associations which organised annual Þorrablót festivals started serving Þorramatur buffets at their events.

Þorramatur has undergone many changes since the 1950s. The great midwinter festivals of associations in Reykjavík have been supplemented by many smaller ones and nowadays even informal family gatherings can be called Þorrablót, which has come to be defined by the serving of Þorramatur, i.e. the consumption of Þorramatur is a necessary and sufficient condition for any kind of party to be called "Þorrablót". Originally, this led to the standardisation of the buffet around a few foods mass-produced by large meat-production houses for the Þorrablót season, whereas previously the food was obtained locally. Not least, Þorrablót festivals have become one of the high points of the year in the countryside and villages around Iceland in the last three decades. Being thus exported from the city to the countryside, the buffet has again come to reflect regional culture and traditions.

Þorramatur has also changed to reflect changing tastes. The traditional method of storing meat by submerging it in fermented whey, which gives the food a characteristic sour taste, is unfamiliar to most generations of Icelanders alive today and therefore a Þorramatur buffet usually has a choice between sour and unsoured pieces of the same food, served on separate trays as the acid readily contaminates[dubiousdiscuss][citation needed] food with which it comes into contact. However, some of the food, for example the rams' testicles, has to be cured by the acid before serving. A number of foods have been added to the buffet that have never gone out of fashion in Icelandic cuisine, such as smoked lamb, fermented shark and dried fish, which are still commonly consumed in all seasons. Þorramatur also may include some novelties, traditional food that was strictly regional and even rare as such, and unfamiliar even to the older generation. Examples include seals' flippers, known only from the Breiðafjörður area, which is sometimes, albeit rarely, served as part of Þorramatur.

Þorramatur consists of many different foods, including:

  • Kæstur hákarl, fermented Greenland shark.
  • Súrsaðir hrútspungar, the testicles of rams pressed in blocks, boiled and cured in lactic acid.
  • Svið, singed and boiled sheep's heads, sometimes cured in lactic acid.
  • Sviðasulta, head cheese or brawn made from svið, sometimes cured in lactic acid.
  • Lifrarpylsa (liver sausage), a pudding made from liver and suet of sheep kneaded with rye flour and oats.
  • Blóðmör (blood-suet; also known as slátur lit. 'slaughter'), a type of blood pudding made from lamb's blood and suet kneaded with rye flour and oats.
  • Harðfiskur, wind-dried fish (often cod, haddock or seawolf), served with butter.
  • Rúgbrauð (rye bread), traditional Icelandic rye bread.
  • Hangikjöt, (hung meat), smoked and boiled lamb or mutton, sometimes also eaten raw.
  • Lundabaggi, sheep's loins wrapped in the meat from the sides, pressed and cured in lactic acid.
  • Selshreifar, seal's flippers cured in lactic acid.
  • Súr Hvalur, whale blubber pickled in sour milk.
  • Rófustappa, mashed turnips

During the month of þorri, þorri buffets are quite popular in Iceland where many restaurants in Reykjavík and elsewhere serve þorramatur, sometimes on wooden platters, called trog (trough). At these gatherings, Icelandic Brennivín is often consumed in copious amounts. Plastic trays with a selection of þorri delicacies can also be found in supermarkets during midwinter.

Þorramatur
THorramatur Language Watch Edit This article includes a list of references related reading or external links but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations May 2013 Learn how and when to remove this template message THorramatur Icelandic pronunciation ˈ8ɔrraˌmaːtʏr transliterated as thorramatur food of THorri is a selection of traditional Icelandic food consisting mainly of meat and fish products cured in a traditional manner cut into slices or pieces and served with rugbraud dense and dark rye bread butter and brennivin an Icelandic akvavit THorramatur is consumed during the Nordic month of THorri Thorri in January and February particularly at the mid winter feast of THorrablot Thorrablot as a tribute to old culture Being thus connected with the tradition of THorrablot festivals THorramatur is most often served as a buffet Left from top to bottom left to right Hangikjot Hrutspungar Lifrarpylsa Blodmor Hakarl Svid Right Rugbraud dark brown in color Flatbraud Lifrarpylsa liver sausage cooking in a pot Hardfiskur wind dried fish Svid boiled sheep s head served here with mashed potatoes and mashed turnips Contents 1 History 2 Dishes 3 Notes 4 References 5 Further readingHistory EditThis section does not cite any sources Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed October 2013 Learn how and when to remove this template message THorramatur is an example of an invented tradition that first emerged with the midwinter festivals of regional associations of migrants who had moved from the Icelandic countryside to Reykjavik during the urbanisation boom of the post World War II era These festivals were very popular in the 1950s and 1960s and some of them are still held every year although their impact on Reykjavik nightlife has greatly diminished Sometimes at these events there would be served Icelandic food or Icelandic food by ancient custom This was usually a buffet of country food often particular to the region in question and quite familiar to the people attending but which had become rare on the tables of ordinary city dwelling Icelanders by the middle of the 20th century The idea of connecting this kind of buffet to the month of THorri and the THorrablot festivals which had been held by many student associations since the late 19th century came from the restaurant Naustid in Reykjavik In 1958 the restaurant started advertising THorramatur which is the first mention of the word in Icelandic texts The food was served in large wooden troughs containing enough food for four people which were copies of old troughs that could be seen at the National Museum of Iceland The idea according to the restaurant owner was to give people who were not members of a regional association the opportunity to taste traditional country food It was also an attempt to generate business in an otherwise rather dull season for restaurants The attempt was successful as the idea immediately caught on and boosted the popularity of Naustid even though it was quickly copied by other restaurants Very soon many of the regional and student associations which organised annual THorrablot festivals started serving THorramatur buffets at their events THorramatur has undergone many changes since the 1950s The great midwinter festivals of associations in Reykjavik have been supplemented by many smaller ones and nowadays even informal family gatherings can be called THorrablot which has come to be defined by the serving of THorramatur i e the consumption of THorramatur is a necessary and sufficient condition for any kind of party to be called THorrablot Originally this led to the standardisation of the buffet around a few foods mass produced by large meat production houses for the THorrablot season whereas previously the food was obtained locally Not least THorrablot festivals have become one of the high points of the year in the countryside and villages around Iceland in the last three decades Being thus exported from the city to the countryside the buffet has again come to reflect regional culture and traditions THorramatur has also changed to reflect changing tastes The traditional method of storing meat by submerging it in fermented whey which gives the food a characteristic sour taste is unfamiliar to most generations of Icelanders alive today and therefore a THorramatur buffet usually has a choice between sour and unsoured pieces of the same food served on separate trays as the acid readily contaminates dubious discuss citation needed food with which it comes into contact However some of the food for example the rams testicles has to be cured by the acid before serving A number of foods have been added to the buffet that have never gone out of fashion in Icelandic cuisine such as smoked lamb fermented shark and dried fish which are still commonly consumed in all seasons THorramatur also may include some novelties traditional food that was strictly regional and even rare as such and unfamiliar even to the older generation Examples include seals flippers known only from the Breidafjordur area which is sometimes albeit rarely served as part of THorramatur Dishes EditTHorramatur consists of many different foods including Kaestur hakarl fermented Greenland shark Sursadir hrutspungar the testicles of rams pressed in blocks boiled and cured in lactic acid Svid singed and boiled sheep s heads sometimes cured in lactic acid Svidasulta head cheese or brawn made from svid sometimes cured in lactic acid Lifrarpylsa liver sausage a pudding made from liver and suet of sheep kneaded with rye flour and oats Blodmor blood suet also known as slatur lit slaughter a type of blood pudding made from lamb s blood and suet kneaded with rye flour and oats Hardfiskur wind dried fish often cod haddock or seawolf served with butter Rugbraud rye bread traditional Icelandic rye bread Hangikjot hung meat smoked and boiled lamb or mutton sometimes also eaten raw Lundabaggi sheep s loins wrapped in the meat from the sides pressed and cured in lactic acid Selshreifar seal s flippers cured in lactic acid Sur Hvalur whale blubber pickled in sour milk Rofustappa mashed turnips During the month of thorri thorri buffets are quite popular in Iceland where many restaurants in Reykjavik and elsewhere serve thorramatur sometimes on wooden platters called trog trough At these gatherings Icelandic Brennivin is often consumed in copious amounts Plastic trays with a selection of thorri delicacies can also be found in supermarkets during midwinter Notes EditReferences EditTHorramatur 1 from the Reykjavik Grapevine Iceland s main English language newspaper Fetched 28 November 2006 THorrablot Menu Icelandic feastsFurther reading EditBjornsson Arni 1986 THorrablot a Islandi Reykjavik Bokaklubbur Arnar og Orlygs Bjornsson Arni 2007 Everyday Life in Traditional Iceland Marking the seasons Paper presented at the Beck Lectures on Icelandic Literature University of Victoria September 26 Electronic document http gateway uvic ca beck wo audio html around 1 14 00 1 16 45 Hastrup Kirsten 1998 A place apart an anthropological study of the Icelandic world Oxford New York Clarendon Press Oxford University Press see pages 96 107 Lacy Terry G 1998 Ring of seasons Iceland its culture and history Ann Arbor University of Michigan Press see pages 58 Simpson Jacqueline 1987 Review of THorrablot a Islandi by Arni Bjornsson Folklore 98 2 243 244 Torres Jessica 2008 Thorrablot Consuming Icelandic Identity Maum Courtney 2008 A Pot Porri of Fermentation The Thorramatur Festival in Iceland Rognvaldardottir Nanna 2001 Feast Days and Food Days A Few Icelandic Food Traditions Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title THorramatur amp oldid 1025759418, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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