University of Oulu

Kylli, R. (2023). Nourishment, emotions, identity. In R. d’Errico, S. Magagnoli, P. Scholliers, & P. J. Atkins, Eating on the Move from the Eighteenth Century to the Present (1st ed., pp. 111–124). Routledge.

Nourishment, emotions, identity : food in late 19th-century Nordic polar expeditions

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Author: Kylli, Ritva
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: embargoed
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Language: English
Published: Routledge, 2023
Publish Date: 2024-12-07


In the second half of the 19th century, polar expeditions were sent to the Arctic from many European countries, as attempts were made to sail through the Northeast Passage and cross Greenland. Well-known explorers included A. E. Nordenskiöld from Sweden and Fridtjof Nansen from Norway. This chapter examines the travel meals of Nordic polar expeditors, using memoir literature written by them. Food had to be very high in energy, and its composition had to be carefully thought out in advance, but food was more than sustenance for the polar expeditors. Although they were often very fearless travellers, they associated food with a wide range of emotions. The chapter also takes into account the identities of the explorers as combined with food, i.e. the eating habits that reflect the food habits of their home countries. Nordic explorers felt proud of knowing how to survive in snow and ice. Bold and resourceful foodstuffs were one way to show national courage: according to Nansen, people hungry enough would eat even their own dogs. The flip side was that Nordic explorers were regarded as rather barbaric in other countries. For the British, resorting to dog meat would have been like eating a person.

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ISBN: 978-1-003-32782-0
ISBN Print: 978-1-032-35613-6
Pages: 111 - 124
Article number: 8
DOI: 10.4324/9781003327820-11
Host publication: Eating on the move from the eighteenth century to the present
Host publication editor: d’Errico, Rita
Magagnoli, Stefano
Scholliers, Peter
Atkins, Peter J.
Type of Publication: A3 Book chapter
Field of Science: 615 History and archaeology
Copyright information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge/CRC Press in Eating on the Move from the Eighteenth Century to the Present on 7 June 2023, available online: It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.