‘Slaughter season,’ or sláturtíð, is this time of year when lambs are slaughtered. Only a few decades ago, it was the custom in almost every Icelandic home to ‘make slaughter’ or taka slátur, but the custom and knowledge of the process is no longer as common as it used to be. ‘Making slaughter’ involves making two kinds of sausages from the offal of the sheep. One, the liver sausage (lifrarpylsa), is made from liver and suet; the other, blood sausage (blóðmör), is made from blood and suet. Both are highly nutritious and inexpensive food.
Aware that this food preparation is no longer common knowledge, KEX Hostel is celebrating the season this weekend. On Saturday, the hostel offers visitors a free taste of all sorts of dishes, prepared from lamb and offal. The dishes will be served between 1 and 5 pm in the hostel’s Gym & Tonik hall.
On Sunday, KEX hosts a family event where the focus is on ‘making slaughter.’ Margrét Sigfúsdóttir, director of the School of Home Economics, leads the instruction. Guests are invited to follow every step in the process of making liver and blood sausages.
The first step is to clean the rumen, which is used for wrapping the sausages, cutting it to make wrappings for the sausages and sewing them together, leaving one side open; then the suet is cut into small pieces; the mixture for the liver and blood sausages is stirred together; the rumen is filled with the mixture and the opening sewn together, before the sausages are finally cooked.
Böðvar Guðjónsson, event manager at KEX, commented, “Many people of my generation have never ‘made slaughter.’ Nonetheless, this is part of our culture, and it matters to maintain this knowledge. Something tells me that if we lose it, we will regret it.” He described the event as the hostel’s way of keeping the knowledge alive.
You can watch a video and read more about ‘making slaughter’ here.