Food of Iceland
June 22, 2019 12:42 PM   Subscribe

Micro McGee is currently obsessed with Iceland and wants an Icelandic feast for his birthday. Ideas? Recipes? Menus?

We're in the US and my kids are only so adventurous, so no whale or horse or pickled fish. (I thought probably lamb or fish as a main?) Generally we do appetizers, main with sides, and dessert. Sometimes a special drink.

Dishes could also be Iceland-themed (like ice cream floats we name after an Icelandic glacier) if there's not really an appropriate dish; puns welcome!

Also always looking to extend the theme; we'll probably listen to Bjork, for example.
posted by Eyebrows McGee to Food & Drink (26 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not terribly knowledgeable about Icelandic food (though I remember Icelandic yogurt which would be easy enough to include). But I have been to Iceland (recommended!) so regarding some Icelandic themes which might be fun:
1. Geysir (the actual name of the famous Geyser after which the word was adopted to reference all geysers).
2. Blue lagoon
3. One thing that's very cool about Iceland is that it sits on the European and North American plates which are drifting apart and literally tearing the island into two (very, very, very slowly). There are huge rifts in the landscape one can walk through. Some are filled with water which people can go scuba diving in. So maybe something that is pulled apart to eat?
4. Icelandic horses are purebreds descended from Norwegian horses 1000 years ago. Because of the isolation and danger of disease, no horses are allowed to be brought to Iceland and any horses that leave Iceland can never return. They quite small and resemble ponies but are structurally/biologically the same as horses. They are also incredibly gentle and have the fluffiest manes imaginable.
5. There is, of course, the famous volcano: Eyjafjallajökull. You could have a competition to see who can say it without tripping over their tongues!
6. You can also listen to Sigur Rós
posted by acidnova at 12:58 PM on June 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Icelandic hotdogs are famous. (link, link)

This bisque-like soup is also well-known.

It would be cool (!) if you did a dry ice glacier or Blue Lagoon centerpiece. (dry ice tips)
posted by xo at 12:58 PM on June 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

The Icelandic hotdogs sound amazing and I want one right now! I will happily try it with both raw and cooked onions as recommended.

I was thinking that geysir and volcano themes could be extended to after dinner playtime with some Mentos and Diet Coke
posted by McNulty at 1:13 PM on June 22, 2019

A lot of ideas (adapted for what ingredients you can get in the US) available from the United Noshes: Iceland page. Obviously not the sheep's head or head cheese, but the bread and fish balls (fish sticks?), the pancakes and the caramelized potatoes all sound pretty good and kid friendly.

Or, going the Lazytown route, you could just bake a cake
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 1:21 PM on June 22, 2019

If µMcGee wants the true Icelandic dining experience, don't forget to charge a huge amount of money …
posted by scruss at 1:40 PM on June 22, 2019 [12 favorites]

It sounds like all kinds of interesting licorice candies are a big deal! Although they may not be a hit with kids who don't like licorice.

I've also seen recipes for a number of skyr-based desserts (ice cream, cheesecake, etc) floating around the internets.
posted by karayel at 1:43 PM on June 22, 2019

Plokkfiskur! It's like clam chowder as a casserole.
posted by Gneisskate at 1:44 PM on June 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

Trader Joe's sells very tasty Icelandic yogurt in strawberry and plain flavors
posted by fingersandtoes at 2:01 PM on June 22, 2019

Kjotsupa and rugbraud.
posted by so fucking future at 2:03 PM on June 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Kaffi Loki in Reykjavík makes ice cream with bits of rúgbrauð (which is similar to Boston brown bread). I don't think it's traditional, but it's very tasty -- not too far off from cookies 'n' cream, actually.

Cucumbers and tomatoes are everywhere (they don't necessarily have to be imported, as some are grown in geothermally heated hothouses!). There's a "cake" made from layers of salad and crustless white bread, where the salad layer contains shrimp, hard-boiled eggs, cucumber, tomato, green grapes, and mayonnaise. I imagine some kids would find this to their taste and others would find it too weird...
posted by aws17576 at 2:13 PM on June 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I like Pönnukökur (basically crepes).
posted by pinochiette at 2:16 PM on June 22, 2019

Oh, and if you want to make a bunch of kids giggle, just serve flatkaka.
posted by aws17576 at 2:17 PM on June 22, 2019

Soundtrack idea: Kattullus made a wonderful post about Icelandic funk and soul.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 3:04 PM on June 22, 2019

Just got back from 10 days in Iceland. Definitely serve lamb or fish. Soups in particular were all over restaurant menus (at least the merely expensive rather than ruinous restaurants we were patronizing).
posted by quaking fajita at 4:07 PM on June 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Baked Iceland instead of Baked Alaska? Tea with Sugarcubes? A volcano punch bowl with dry ice floating in it?
(By the way, your themed feasts are one of the awesomest family traditions I've ever heard of.)
posted by Daily Alice at 4:09 PM on June 22, 2019

Bunch of Icelandic yogurt available at our grocery store
posted by bq at 6:09 PM on June 22, 2019

Lamb, grilled lamb, any kind of lamb. Cheesecake made with Skyer (name?) yogurt. But for a kid maybe hotdogs would be easy sell:)
posted by bquarters at 9:17 PM on June 22, 2019

When I was there I ate a ton of pastries/breads that had some sort of caramel spread which was then covered with licorice sprinkles and it was delicious.

Licorice ice cream.

Licorice covered in chocolate.

Yes, I love licorice.
posted by gaspode at 6:46 AM on June 23, 2019

It's puffin or nuthin'!
posted by Umami Dearest at 10:35 AM on June 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

You could have your own Jólabókaflóðið.

Kjotsupa (lamb soup) from the reputable Australian multicultural broadcaster SBS.

Check out episodes of Delicious Iceland on YouTube. Lots of lamb, smoked mackerel, berries, mushrooms and birch syrup going on.

Add Immigrant Song to your play list when you need a break from Sigur Rós.
posted by some little punk in a rocket at 7:21 PM on June 23, 2019

Even bananas are grown on Iceland, so you could serve that, maybe while debunking the (European) urban myth that Iceland is Europe's largest exporter of bananas (mentioned in the Wikipedia article I linked).

The best food I had when visiting was mutton, which was absolutely delicious. Fish was a close second.
posted by Harald74 at 4:50 AM on June 25, 2019

You can also check out Global Table Adventure
Global Table Adventure-Iceland

The family made meals from every country. This link is everything tagged Iceland.
posted by ReadNTravel at 7:12 PM on June 25, 2019

Okay, so the tentative menu is:

Blue Lagoon Mocktails (with dry ice dropped in so they smoke like thermal springs)
Smoked salmon on rye with brined herb stems

Roast Leg of Lamb w/ pan gravy & cognac-red currant jelly
Carmelized Potatoes
Green Peas

Volcano Cake (chocolate bundt on top of a chocolate layer with lots of frosting ... and dry ice dropped in a glass in the bundt hole yes I just wanted to say bundt hole)

This seems pretty achievable (if a bit heavy for June in Chicago) although I'm suspicious of the caramelized potatoes (whyyyyyy do the potatoes want to be sweet?). I also found just endless delicious-looking soups that I'm just going to make for regular dinners because they look amazing.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:33 PM on June 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

Your menu sounds wonderful! There's no reason you can't do another Icelandic meal in the wintertime. Those hearty soups would be perfect!
posted by acidnova at 8:37 PM on June 25, 2019

Okay! I made an instagram to post my feasts so here is today's!

The appetizers (smoked salmon and chevre on rye, with brined dill) were a big hit. The lamb was AMAZING, and the rugbroad was spectacular -- that is definitely entering my regular recipe rotation. The carmelized potatoes three of us liked, and two of us (including me) did not ... I'm just not ready for sugar on potatoes. The pan gravy I made was unreal it was so good, although it wasn't super-pretty. The currant jelly didn't gel very well but tasted really good with the lamb.

The volcano cake was a knockout, as were the blue lagoon mocktails (/cocktails). My kids were BLOWN AWAY by the dry ice in the drinks and in the center of the volcano making the smoke. Their cousins came over for the cake and were likewise amazed. (The mocktails were lemonade with curacao syrup (i.e., non-alcoholic) and a bit of dry ice dropped in for the steam/thermal spring look ... and really delicious! To cocktail-ify, we added a splash of vodka. But I'm not much for sweet drinks and the curacao made these really yum.)

But omg make rugbroad, it's so easy and so good! I used this recipe (not having a geothermal spring handy) -- I actually also used light maple syrup because neither of the two grocery stores I went to had golden syrup and I was too pressed for time to drive to the fancy baking grocery store that I know has it, and it was very good with the light maple syrup (and I don't really like maple syrup that much in baked goods, so it's very subtle).
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:31 PM on June 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

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