Nordic Food Lab is very weird, very cool, very specific project—a non-profit that attempts to “explore the edible potential of the Nordic region.” Countries with extreme winters aren’t known for their agricultural bounty, but Scandinavia has been inhabited by humans since at least 6,600 BC, so that means rediscovering a lot of food that’s been nearly abandoned by those contemporary and so-often cosmopolitan descendants of Vikings—or in the inspiring words of Nordic Food Lab, “(re)valorising the despised and forgotten.” So what did they come up with during their culinary experiments with animal blood? Some really appealing-looking food, actually!
Of course, plating and presentation can fool the eye—what about flavor though? Apparently it depends on a lot of biological factors:
We discovered that taste perception in general differs between male and female tasters, and younger and more elderly, with women generally having an increased sensitivity towards metallic taste. Perception thresholds for bitter and sweet compounds vary not only between the sexes, but also with monthly-changing hormone concentrations in women that influence their nervous system. Decreasing thresholds during menstruation means that women will perceive bitter compounds more easily at these times. Unfortunately no research has been done on changes in metallic taste-perception during the menstrual cycle, since metallic taste via ion-channels is a rather young discovery. During our own tests of our blood pastry products, however, this difference became obvious to us.
So apparently if you’re a lady on the rag, blood tastes worse to you? How counterintuitively fascinating! Nonetheless, article author Elisabeth Paul has some high praise for the blood recipes, which also have the added benefit as an egg alternative for those with allergies. Blood of course, clots, making it a somewhat difficult ingredient to work with, but if you want to make your own blood foods, Nordic Food Lab has recipes on the site, along with best practices for handling blood—they used pig’s blood if you’re curious.
If you’re more of an audiovisual learner, check out the video below of the charming Swede walking you through a how-to for traditional Finnish blood pancakes after the jump…