Iceland Celebrates Husbands by Eating Testicles

Today is Bóndadagur, "Husband's Day," when Icelandic wives feed their husbands "dried fish, smoked lamb, putrefied shark and soured blood and liver pudding along with other soured meat products, including ram testicles" as a token of their love.

Icelandic food magazine Gestgjafinn offers an English-language explanation of Thorrablót, the traditional feast of Thorri, the midwinter season that kicks off on Bóndadagur. Most notably:

Hrútspungar, lamb's testicles, are pressed and preserved in whey, with a mild, slightly sour taste and a peculiar texture, fairly similar to roe, but smoother.

Hákarl, fermented shark, usually buried for months to allow certain unhealthful substances to leak out, then air-dried. It is usually served in bite-size cubes and washed down with ice-cold brennivín. It is divided into two types, glerhákarl (glass shark), the part closest to the hide which is chewy and semi-opaque, and skyrhákarl (skyr shark), soft and tender inner parts. Both can have a pretty strong taste.

Halved sheep's heads, svið, are sometimes served and sviðasulta, headcheese, both fresh and whey-preserved, is a must at a Thorri feast. The head is boiled until the bones fall out and the meat (with eyes, tongue, and everything else) is pressed into a mold to set, along with a little of the gelatinous cooking liquid.

Some traditional dishes—like whey-preserved whale blubber, which is "stringy and tough"—are no longer available due to fishing restrictions. Others, like seal flippers, are no longer in vogue. Happy Husband's Day, everyone! [Iceland Review, Gestgjafinn via Fark. Image via Ørvar's Flickr]