Saturday, December 6, 2014

Winter parties: A Viking feast

Inspired by the excellent book Hand of Vengeance by Douglas Bond, we created a Viking/ Saxon birthday for a party in October 2013!
This theme appeals to children and adults of all ages and genders! In fact, this particular birthday was for a teenage brother and sister and they both had a blast with it! Let's start with a concise look at the party: 

Sliced Ham
Pork and Chicken portions cooked in apples
''Harvest'' muffins (see below for recipe)
Hunks of bread
''Meade'' (apple cider- see recipe below)

''How to Train Your Dragon'' by John Powell
music by artist Alexander Rybak

(it is always a good idea to plan ahead so you can keep your eyes open while shopping thrift stores and antique shops!):
For children: 
-How to Train your Dragon items

For all: 
-Brown or green ''beakers'' (mugs from thrift stores (or here  and here on Etsy))
-Unique metal buttons with Celtic designs (antique/thrift stores)
-Unique stone or metal items
-Jewelry made of metal or stone
-Metal or stone drinking cups (antique/thrift stores)
-Maps (create these yourself)
-Poems and hidden messages written in Rune alphabet (see below)
-Woven items such as baskets
-Sea shells
-Wooden serving dishes and utensils

For more inspiration...see pictures below!
Viking gown created using old and new items...see below for more details.

We used a Playmobil character we already owned.
The picture behind is one we found online and printed out. The frame was found at ...a thrift store of course!

Of course candles always lend the perfect atmosphere to every table setting! Here we have a  soy tea light candle perched on some sea shells inside a tiny basket. 

A piece of jewelry entwines an ornate candle holder. To the right, a message I wrote in Runes- the ancient Scandinavian alphabet.
This was a quickly-created craft for the birthday using a Native American canoe we already owned. We added a mast with red and white striped sail, a figurehead and viking! The 'shields' along the side are all metal buttons. I am serious when I say that we find things months ahead at antique and thrift stores! You can probably find them on Etsy or elsewhere online. 

Found this beaker at another antique store! It works as a splendid thermos

In a hurry, Nikola assembled this viking ship prow from a large cardboard box and strips of brown paper. Add a cardboard shield and a plastic piece and you're all set!
Sorry we don't have real instructions.

                                                            As for the noon feast....
We had slices of ham...

...hunks of bread

''HARVEST'' muffin recipe: 
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups applesauce or pear sauce (cook pears just as you would apples and blend)
4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. cloves

In a medium-sized bowl, sift dry ingredients. In a mixer, beat sugar and egg together. Add applesauce, alternating with dry ingredients and fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 20 minutes. 

Optional: chopped walnuts for a great twist!

Heat samples of ''mead'' by placing a bowl above a candle, as shown above!
Bubbling-hot ''Mead'' recipe:
All you need is 
-1 gallon of apple cider, heated up with 
-3 sticks of cinnamon 
-and your favourite mulling spice blend- we used a plum spice variety
 (if unavailable, try adding 1/2 tsp. cloves, 1 tsp. ginger and perhaps some dried plums and berries!) 
-about 1 cup red wine (for child-friendly cider either continue to simmer the cider until alcohol has worn off, or use grape juice!)

....and last, but not least: Pork cooked with apples, and sausages!
 As I am unsure as to what recipe we followed, allow me to suggest this one here! Enjoy.

For more inspiration, here are the pictures we took that day...
(if you are looking for a women's Viking-style costume, look no further than your local resale shop! We found this heavy gown at our thrifstore! With altering, it became a convincing Viking lass outfit! We split up the sides of the dress, and then laced it up using twine laced through leather tabs.  Add a metal belt and you're set!)

Of course she happened to have remarkably authentic hair that year!

''To arms! To arms!'' the watchman cries in fear. 
''A sail! A sail! The dragon ships are near!
The shields are set and now the sails are furled!
Now oars extend like claws that rend the world. 
And men, like wolves, they grind us with their keels, 
Our shores, our crops, our homes, beneath their heels...
Hold fast! The saintly warrior king appears, 
And with him valiant thegns who turn our tears
To steadfast courage stout and purpose strong, 
Who steel our will to stand against the wrong.
           To arms! To arms! Let none your valour quake!
We'll fight and die for our Defender's sake!''
-The falcon-eyed watchman by Douglas Bond-

How to Train Your Dragon by John Powell

For the spirit of Norway, Alexander Rybak is amazing!

Excellent historical fiction

A wonderful book for children!
I thought this an interesting introduction to Viking history for young readers 

Edwin: High King of Britain (The Northumbrian Thrones #1)

I have not read many of this genre, as you can tell. 
See this list for more inspiration!


Have you seen Pendragon:Sword of His Father by Burns Family Studios? It is an excellent story, perfect for children of all ages! Very well done especially for an amateur company!

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