From Iceland — Who Eats Putrefied Skate Anyway? The Truth Revealed

Who Eats Putrefied Skate Anyway? The Truth Revealed

Published December 23, 2015

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Paul Fontaine

A new poll from Market and Media Research sheds light on what kinds of people eat putrefied skate, as per tradition on this day.

As many are probably aware, today is Þorláksmessa, a special holiday which in Iceland is celebrated with the eating of putrefied skate, or skata. The smell and the taste are famous, or notorious, for being quite powerfully imbued with the rich, heady essence of ammonia. An acquired taste, its popularity is apparently on the wane, the poll shows.

According to the results, only 35.8% said they were going to eat skate today, compared to 42.1% in 2013. While the popularity of skate may be on the wane, it still raises the question: who are these 35.8%?

The demographics show that the typical skate-eater is almost twice as likely to be a man than a woman, and the older he is, the more likely he is to dig into some skate. Rural folks were more likely to eat it than city slickers, and while there was little difference between income levels, those who support the current government are more likely to eat skate than those who do not.

By party affiliation, the biggest skate-eaters were Progressives, 47% of whom said they would dine on skate today. Following close behind were Social Democrats, at 46.9%. Skate was decidedly unpopular with Bright Future voters: only 13.6% said they would be eating the dish on this day.

If your diet permits, do try and eat some skate at least once in your life. You might not like it, but you will never forget it.

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