Rotten Shark: Ultimate Punishment for a Bad Husband?

Amy Kuras

Fermented shark ... it looks so innocent.

Iceland recently celebrated the feast of Bondadagur, or "Husband's Day." Married women celebrate their husbands with a special meal "as a token of their love."

And looking at the menu, all I can think is that women in Iceland really, really hate their husbands. In fact, it makes a Valentine's date at White Castle seem positively dreamy by comparison.

Here's what's on a traditional Bondadagur menu: Soured meat products, including lamb testicles, dried fish, and preserved sheep's head. The head is boiled until the bones come loose and the whole thing, including eyes and tongue, are pressed into a mold along with the gelatinous cooking liquid. The lamb testicles are pressed and preserved in whey.

And that's not even the most disgusting thing. That would be (and do not keep reading if you are pregnant or otherwise prone to being grossed out to the point of hurling): Rotten shark.

A shark is buried for months and then air dried. There are two kinds: chewy, close to the surface "glass shark," and "skyr shark," which is the softer and more tender inner part.

Ewwwww. I wouldn't serve that to my worst enemy, much less my beloved, sweet, kind, father of my children.

This is all part of the traditional feast of Thorri, which starts off on Bondadagur, and even younger Icelanders think the foods are a little odd. There's also a wife's day called Konudagar, and ladies, we have it easy: The husband is supposed to bring the wife her first morning cup of coffee, or these days, flowers are more traditional.

Sure, food is cultural, and certainly an Icelandic person wandering around here would find a substantial proportion of what we eat thoroughly disgusting (grilled cheese cheeseburger, anyone?). But rotten shark? Ugh. On the plus side? Pretty sure there's no obesity problem in Iceland.

Want to celebrate your husband with a special feast day for him? I think Steak and BJ Day might be a little more welcome on these shores.


Image via Christine Zenino (chrissy575)/Flickr

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