Labskaus: The food of sailors


June 3, 2024

A fresh sea breeze, huge billowing sails and creaking planks – on board the sailing ships of the 18th century, the days were long and the work hard and physically demanding. There had to be something hearty on the table that would fill you up. Long weeks at sea demanded provisions that could survive long crossings unscathed and were nutritious at the same time. Long-life cured meat, pickled beetroot and gherkins as vitamin suppliers as well as nutritious potatoes meet all these requirements. They were perfectly suited for supply on the high seas and formed the basis for Labskaus.

There are numerous variants and variations of this dish, which originated in northern Germany and Scandinavia. What they all have in common is that the components are minced or very finely chopped, creating a kind of porridge. In today's recipes, corned beef or cured beef are used, among other things, which are cooked and mixed with beetroot and pickles and put through the meat grinder. Added mashed potatoes complete the dish. Nowadays, Labskaus is also often served with rolled pugs and fried eggs.