Source: "Norwegian Food: Do they really eat this?"
Smalahove is a macabre meal and one of the most notorious Norwegian
traditional dishes. You eat everything on the sheep’s head and are left with a
scrubbed skull. The toughest even eat the eyes! Some say that
Norwegians are untamed barbarians living on the outskirts of civilization;
this dish is an illustration of that.
Smalahove was an everyday food in the old days when food was scarce.
Today it is mostly a party food. Smalahove is a dish that is
often consumed with mixed feelings of terror and joy. The skull is a challenging
sight, but even the most skeptics admit that the meat itself is fantastic.
After slaughtering the lambs, their heads are cut off from their carcasses.
The heads are placed on a stick and put over fire to burn the wool. This
is what makes smalahove black. You then scraped away the remaining
wool with a knife, cut the heads lengthwise and take out the brains.
You then wash the heads and leave them a couple of days in brine before
hanging them up for smoking. Before you can start cooking the smalahove,
you need to leave it in water for 24 hours. You then boil the heads
for about three hours. You know it is ready to be eaten when you can
stick your finger through the cheeks. Serve it with carrot, boiled potato,
strong beer and aquavit.
Learn more about the unique but sometimes weird Norwegian food tradition in our new book
You can read more and order it online here.
Read more about our amazing Norwegian friends in our Norwegian Toolkit