A balanced breakfast is a very important meal in just about all over the world, but not many of them require a blood sacrifice. There is a traditional dish that is exactly what it sounds like: a pancake made with a healthy helping of blood. And that’s true. Scandinavians use blood to make dark and savory flapjacks! During the icy Scandinavian winters, local cooks learned to make the most out of every animal they hunted, so, nothing was wasted. They boiled hooves into gelatin, fried hearts into nuggets, and baked blood into pancakes!
Blood pancakes are probably originally from Finland, where they are known as veriohukainen, but Swedes (who call its blodplättar) and Norwegians are also consumers. There are a number of variations on the recipe, but ingredients are generally the same: milk, flour, sometimes even an egg, and blood. The most recipes use pig or cow blood (available from the butcher), but any blood can be used, for example, the Sami people of northern Norway use reindeer. But it seems that some people have also used their own blood, and more specifically, menstrual blood!
In pancakes, blood operates as a curious egg substitute, like eggs is high in protein, making it a simple source of the nutrient, and it binding the milk and flour together. Unlike egg-based pancakes, however, these alternative kind of flapjacks turn dense, savory, and dark. In addition, blood is extremely high in iron, which can help stave off anemia (although it also gives it that metallic aftertaste).
To counteract any metallic flavor, tipic of the blood, cooks often use spices or sweeteners like molasses and completed their finished recipes with a sprinkling of sweet lingonberries or lingonberry jam. Some Sami chefs also cover their specialities with a sauce made with cream, butter, and reindeer fat. The result is a rich and fatty breakfast that should fortify people to face another icy day!