VUDTM Traditional Food Studies

Target Group and Admission Requirements

The study programme is aimed at:

  • Established participants and newcomers to agriculture who need to develop their skills in the processing and distribution of local resources and farm tourism.
  • Students pursuing further training from different types of schools, people within tourism, chefs in the restaurant industry and institutions.
  • Others who are interested in Norwegian food traditions

Admission requirements:

Students must fulfill general admission requirements.

Applicants with prior experiential learning may also apply for admission.

Aim of the Programme

The study programme will:

  • Provide an introduction and understanding of Norwegian food culture and traditions
  • Provide knowledge and understanding of the social aspect of meals related to everyday life and festivals, and also the symbolic and ritual aspects of the food culture
  • Provide fundamental knowledge of the various aspects of cooking and food research
  • Provide students with the ability to use traditional materials in new contexts

Further Education opportunities

The study programme may be included in a Bachelor’s degree programme.

Curriculum and structure

Code Course title Credits O/V *) Credits pr. semester
  S1(A) S2(V)
30TRADM Traditional Food Studies 30.00 O 15,0 15,0
Total: 15,0 15,0
*) O - Mandatory course, V - Optional course

Food, drink and cultural traditions follow us from the cradle to the grave, form a part of our everyday lives and are also important during the holidays. However, we are in danger of losing these traditions, and many people today understand the importance of preserving them. Local raw materials and nature, and regional and local ties are important as a counterweight to the food industry’s mass-produced, anonymous food.

The programme aims to inspire and mediate knowledge to those who wish to improve their skills within this area. This may concern the processing of local resources, small-scale production, farm tourism or other issues. Central to the programme is the focus on regional and local food traditions and the diversity that makes up traditional food.

This is a part-time study programme that runs over a year and comprises 30 ECTS credits. It is organised into ten 3-day workshop sessions (more or less once a month). One of the sessions consists of a mandatory study trip.
The study programme combines theoretical and practical topics. The practical part will include cooking, demonstrations and meeting local tradition-bearers, as part of the passing on of practical knowledge.

The programme also includes excursions to local small-scale producers.
The theoretical part will as far as possible be related to the practical part and will include lectures, group work and dialogue-based work relating to individual assignments.
Work between sessions will involve self-study, both concerning work with project assignments and study of the theoretical syllabus.


The study programme is divided up into 5 major course units with different weightings:

  • Food and Culture – 6 ECTS
  • Food and Agricultural Policy – 3 ECTS
  • Food, Health and Hygiene – 3 ECTS
  • Food and Practical Cookery – 15 ECTS
  • Subject Didactics – 3 ECTS

Food and Culture

Food is a fundamental element of a country’s culture, and often called “the soul of culture”. In other words, food and culinary traditions play an important role in the creation of identity.
In this study programme we wish to convey knowledge of culture, and an understanding of the value of keeping this culture alive as a part of Norwegian cultural heritage.
Course units:

  • Diet and Traditions in Historical Perspective Viewed in an Ecological / Economic and Socio-Cultural Context
  • Traditional Households that Utilise Food Storage; Local Food Produce in Relation to Commodities and Groceries; Influence and Development
  • Food and Meals; Types of Social Gatherings; Food’s Social, Symbolic and Religious/Ritual Significance; Food and Identity
  • Food for Every Day and Parties; Festive Occasions; The Different Seasons; Food in Relation to Age, Gender and Social Status; Regional and Local Traditions
  • Food and Cooking; The Hearth and Building Traditions; Development of Cooking Vessels, Utensils, Technical Innovations and how this Affects Food Culture; Words and Expressions in Relation to Food.

Food and agricultural policy

Agricultural policy is closely related to production methods and food processing.
The study programme will provide an introduction to the following topics:
Course units:

  • Norwegian, European and Global Agricultural Policy
  • Action Plan for “Norwegian Food Culture”
  • Exploitation of Local Resources in Small-Scale Production and in the Context of Tourism
Food, health and hygiene

Course units:

  • Food from the Perspective of Health and Nutrition
  • Hygiene in Historical Perspective; Knowledge of Hygienic Principles
  • Hygiene Requirements in Relation to Production and Processing of Foodstuffs

Food and practical preparation

Students will acquire basic knowledge of Norwegian food traditions and skills in the traditional uses of raw materials. In individual assignments, students will be able to experiment with new dishes and taste variations on the basis of traditional recipes.
The semester plan may vary from year to year, but it is natural that the sessions in the autumn will focus on meat and fish. Autumn was, and still is, time for freshwater fishing, hunting and slaughtering animals. Fresh meat was seldom eaten in the historic past, when methods of conservation were important. Autumn is also the time for fruit and berry picking.
Both corn and milk have been used as the basis for countless local variants of bakery and dairy products. In addition the potato has been important, as well as other root vegetables and wild herbs.

Course units:

  • Traditional Utilisation of Meat and Fish, from Slaughter to Finished Dishes
  • Long-Term Storage, Different Forms of Conservation
  • Uses of Berries and Fruits
  • Traditional Work Methods, Utensils, Tools and Methods Related to Corn and Milk.
  • Traditional Bakery and Dairy Products
  • From Barley to Malt and Beer
  • Vegetables and Herbs Used in Food and Medicine
Subject didactics

An overall goal of the study of folk culture is to equip students with skills in relation to the conservation, continuation and renewal of relevant traditions. Students are encouraged to base their project assignments on their own local traditions, so they will be able to use this knowledge in their local communities when they have completed the study programme. They will also be encouraged to experiment with traditions. The study programme will also focus on laying the table, meals and forms of social gatherings.

Course units:

  • Classics in the Field of Food
  • Planning, Execution and Evaluation of the Consequences of the Dissemination of Traditional Food in Various Contexts
  • Presenting Various Forms of Traditional Food through, for example, Exhibitions and Demonstrations
  • Completing and Presenting Two Projects

The first project is a specialisation assignment that students work on in the first semester and submit before Christmas for assessment. Students present the assignment through an oral presentation to their fellow students. This assignment may be used a pilot project for the assignment that they submit as their final examination.

Teaching and Learning Methods

The teaching and learning methods will be adapted to the organisation of the study programme.
Roughly half of the time used during the sessions will concern practical work with food. This will involve demonstrations, but mainly concentrate on active participation and independent work under supervision. The theoretical basis for cooking will be closely related to practical work. All the major course units will focus on theory, and include lectures, group work and studies of the subject literature.
Longer study trips are sometimes arranged.
Students will have periods of self-study between the sessions in which they will read the subject literature, complete assignments and carry out fieldwork. Students will receive guidance in their work on projects. Guidance will be given both individually and to the whole class. Project assignments constitute a significant part of the study programme.

The study programme will be problem-oriented, and often focus on local traditions.
Students will submit a project assignment before Christmas which will be assessed on a pass / fail basis. If the assignment does not receive a passing mark, students will be given a new deadline for a new assessment in February.
The written examination will be held during the February workshop session.

Theory and Practical Training

The study programme includes both theory and practice. The theoretical aspect of the study programme will be closely related to the practical work.

Assessment Methods

Terms of final assessment:
Students must complete a specialisation assignment in the first semester, which concludes with an exhibition or demonstration and includes a written report. The project assignment will be assessed on a pass / fail basis.
Students must receive passing marks on all obligatory assignments and work they will be allowed to take the final examination. Students must have a minimum of 80% attendance and participation during the whole of the study programme.
Final examination:
In the second semester students will work on a practical / theoretical project assignment, which will focus on several aspects of the study programme, such as the historical / cultural-historical, didactic, and practical work. The work will include a written part and a practical result on the basis of a self-chosen problem. The topic will be related to local traditions and renewal.
The practical aspect of the project may be presented in an exhibition or demonstration.
The written and practical parts of the project will be weighted in relation to the focus of the project, i.e. theoretical / practical. For example, if the assignment has a practical focus, this aspect will count more in the assessment; if the project has a more theoretical perspective, then the written work will count the most.
This assessment will count for 60 % part of the final grade
A 4-hour written examination in the theoretical curriculum will count for 40% of final grade
A single grade will be entered on the diploma.

Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean

Publisert av / forfatter Frode Evenstad <>, last modified Ian Hector Harkness - 09/09/2010