Nordic Countries | Fish
She [the Finland Woman] put the fish into the kettle of soup, for they might as well eat it. She never wasted anything. Hans Christian Andersen, The Snow Queen
With Scandinavia’s extensive coastlines, fish is a major element in Nordic people’s diets. Rich in protein, omega-3s and antioxidants, fish such as herring, cod, mackerel, salmon and trout are served with boiled potatoes and root vegetables. The region also boasts a wealth of forest fruit such as lingonberries, cloudberries, wild strawberries and raspberries, and these are especially rich in vitamins and minerals.
Because winter ice and storms restricted the fishing season, Nordic people became adept in preserving food. Salting, smoking, pickling and drying are still traditional techniques, intensifying flavors as they extend shelf life. In ancient Norse culture, fish symbolized adaptability, determination and the flow of life.
The Inuit live across the circumpolar region from northern Siberia to Greenland. Their diet is traditionally composed of marine mammals, mainly seals, fish, caribou (reindeer), gathered plants and small game and birds. Hunting and food-sharing form the core of Inuit society, and meals are communal. Sami groups, who live in the northern reaches of Scandinavia and western Russia, depend for their food on herding reindeer, fishing, gathering plants and hunting small game and birds. Colonized in the thirteenth century, the Samis’ diet has been influenced by northern European cooking patterns.