medieval food list

One of the most common constituents of a medieval meal, either as part of a banquet or as a small snack, were sops, pieces of bread with which a liquid like wine, soup, broth, or sauce could be soaked up and eaten. The only sweet food eaten by Medieval peasants was the berries, nuts and honey that they collected from the woods. Geographical variation in eating was primarily the result of differences in climate, political administration, and local customs that varied across the continent. Smoking or salting meat of livestock butchered in autumn was a common household strategy to avoid having to feed more animals than necessary during the lean winter months. The processing of food in the stomach was seen as a continuation of the preparation initiated by the cook. In Medieval Europe, people's diets were very much based on their social class. Though most of the breweries were small family businesses that employed at most eight to ten people, regular production allowed for investment in better equipment and increased experimentation with new recipes and brewing techniques. A medieval cook employed in a large household would most likely have been able to plan and produce a meal without the help of recipes or written instruction. But most are devoted to recording the dishes of the medieval kitchen. After all, there were no chocolates, potatoes, or tomatoes. [104] Salt was present during more elaborate or expensive meals. Rice remained a fairly expensive import for most of the Middle Ages and was grown in northern Italy only towards the end of the period. It was popular, and recommended by medical expertise, to finish the meal with aged cheese and various digestives. [66] Further south, domesticated rabbits were commonly raised and bred both for their meat and fur. Barley, oats and rye were eaten by the poor. By the 13th century, Hausbrand (literally 'home-burnt' from gebrannter wein, brandwein 'burnt [distilled] wine') was commonplace, marking the origin of brandy. This last type of non-dairy milk product is probably the single most common ingredient in late medieval cooking and blended the aroma of spices and sour liquids with a mild taste and creamy texture. Adamson (2004), p. 65. Nobles were careful not to eat meat on fast days, but still dined in style; fish replaced meat, often as imitation hams and bacon; almond milk replaced animal milk as an expensive non-dairy alternative; faux eggs made from almond milk were cooked in blown-out eggshells, flavoured and coloured with exclusive spices. Because of this, the nobility's food was more prone to foreign influence than the cuisine of the poor; it was dependent on exotic spices and expensive imports. All animal products, including eggs and dairy products (but not fish), were generally prohibited during Lent and fast. [116] Though it is assumed that they describe real dishes, food scholars do not believe they were used as cookbooks might be today, as a step-by-step guide through the cooking procedure that could be kept at hand while preparing a dish. [55] Carrots were available in many variants during the Middle Ages: among them a tastier reddish-purple variety and a less prestigious green-yellow type. Vegetables were more for peasants, both in reality and imagination. [59], Milk was an important source of animal protein for those who could not afford meat. By the mid-15th century, barley, a cereal known to be somewhat poorly suited for breadmaking but excellent for brewing, accounted for 27% of all cereal acreage in England. [109] Like their Muslim counterparts in Spain, the Arab conquerors of Sicily introduced a wide variety of new sweets and desserts that eventually found their way to the rest of Europe. Others focus on descriptions of grand feasts. A Medieval dinner party could have as many as six meat courses, but the poor could rarely afford meat. Beef was not as common as today because raising cattle was labor-intensive, requiring pastures and feed, and oxen and cows were much more valuable as draught animals and for producing milk. Pies filled with meats, eggs, vegetables, or fruit were common throughout Europe, as were turnovers, fritters, doughnuts, and many similar pastries. Though there are references to the use of hops in beer as early as 822 AD; Eßlinger (2009), p. 11. Well-off citizens who had the means to cook at home could on special occasions hire professionals when their own kitchen or staff could not handle the burden of hosting a major banquet. But some medieval foods were so strongly flavored that we would find them unpalatable today, especially because people back then loved to mix fragrances like rose water or lavender with their dinners. Being invited to a lord's chambers was a great privilege and could be used as a way to reward friends and allies and to awe subordinates. [90] In Late Medieval England, the word beer came to mean a hopped beverage, whereas ale had to be unhopped. [74], While in modern times, water is often drunk with a meal, in the Middle Ages, however, concerns over purity, medical recommendations and its low prestige value made it less favored, and alcoholic beverages were preferred. [97] While pepper was the most common spice, the most exclusive (though not the most obscure in its origin) was saffron, used as much for its vivid yellow-red color as for its flavor, for according to the humours, yellow signified hot and dry, valued qualities;[98] turmeric provided a yellow substitute, and touches of gilding at banquets supplied both the medieval love of ostentatious show and Galenic dietary lore: at the sumptuous banquet that Cardinal Riario offered the daughter of the King of Naples in June 1473, the bread was gilded. Another flavoring method was to increase the alcohol content, but this was more expensive and lent the beer the undesired characteristic of being a quick and heavy intoxicant. Medieval Food was obsessed with healthful eating, though the beliefs that guided cooking and eating are very different from the beliefs that underline today’s. [68] Curiously enough the barnacle goose was believed to reproduce not by laying eggs like other birds, but by growing in barnacles, and was hence considered acceptable food for fast and Lent. Towards the Late Middle Ages a separate kitchen area began to evolve. Just like Montpellier, Sicily was once famous for its comfits, nougat candy (torrone, or turrón in Spanish) and almond clusters (confetti). "Fish" to the medieval person was also a general name for anything not considered a proper land-living animal, including marine mammals such as whales and porpoises. Porridge, gruel and later, bread, became the basic food staple that made up the majority of calorie intake for most of the population. Almost universal in middle and upper class cooking all over Europe was the almond, which was in the ubiquitous and highly versatile almond milk, which was used as a substitute in dishes that otherwise required eggs or milk, though the bitter variety of almonds came along much later. [49], Urban cookshops that catered to workers or the destitute were regarded as unsavory and disreputable places by the well-to-do and professional cooks tended to have a bad reputation. In addition to these staple sources, Medieval food did resemble ours in ways that many probably wouldn’t assume. Among the first town guilds to be organized were the bakers, and laws and regulations were passed to keep bread prices stable. An early form of quiche can be found in Forme of Cury, a 14th-century recipe collection, as a Torte de Bry with a cheese and egg yolk filling. Wheat was common all over Europe and was considered to be the most nutritious of all grains, but was more prestigious and thus more expensive. [37] It was considered important to make sure that the dish agreed with contemporary standards of medicine and dietetics. The most prevalent butcher's meats were pork, chicken and other domestic fowl; beef, which required greater investment in land, was less common. In England in the 13th century, meat contributed a negligible portion of calories to a typical harvest worker's diet; however, its share increased after the Black Death and, by the 15th century, it provided about 20% of the total. For most medieval Europeans, it was a humble brew compared with common southern drinks and cooking ingredients, such as wine, lemons and olive oil. In 1256, the Sienese physician Aldobrandino described beer in the following way: But from whichever it is made, whether from oats, barley or wheat, it harms the head and the stomach, it causes bad breath and ruins the teeth, it fills the stomach with bad fumes, and as a result anyone who drinks it along with wine becomes drunk quickly; but it does have the property of facilitating urination and makes one's flesh white and smooth. By the Late Middle Ages biscuits (cookies in the U.S.) and especially wafers, eaten for dessert, had become high-prestige foods and came in many varieties. [40], In most households, cooking was done on an open hearth in the middle of the main living area, to make efficient use of the heat. [86], That hops could be used for flavoring beer had been known at least since Carolingian times, but was adopted gradually due to difficulties in establishing the appropriate proportions. Recipes by Type. [102], Surviving medieval recipes frequently call for flavoring with a number of sour, tart liquids. Porridges were also made of every type of grain and could be served as desserts or dishes for the sick, if boiled in milk (or almond milk) and sweetened with sugar. (Phaseolus beans, today the "common bean", were of New World origin and were introduced after the Columbian exchange in the 16th century. Great for home … This was the most common arrangement, even in wealthy households, for most of the Middle Ages, where the kitchen was combined with the dining hall. However, neither of these non-alcoholic social drinks were consumed in Europe before the late-16th and early-17th centuries. Medieval Food. During Lent, kings and schoolboys, commoners and nobility, all complained about being deprived of meat for the long, hard weeks of solemn contemplation of their sins. To assist the cook there were also assorted knives, stirring spoons, ladles and graters. Or, they sat at the table and ate very little. [30] Although there are descriptions of dining etiquette on special occasions, less is known about the details of day-to-day meals of the elite or about the table manners of the common people and the destitute. Cookshops could either sell ready-made hot food, an early form of fast food, or offer cooking services while the customers supplied some or all of the ingredients. [91], By modern standards, the brewing process was relatively inefficient, but capable of producing quite strong alcohol when that was desired. Middle Ages Food - Vegetables The following vegetables were available during the Medieval era, even though many were looked upon with sheer distain, especially by the Upper Classes. In 1496 the city of Nuremberg issued restrictions on the selling of aquavit on Sundays and official holidays. [93] The early use of various distillates, alcoholic or not, was varied, but it was primarily culinary or medicinal; grape syrup mixed with sugar and spices was prescribed for a variety of ailments, and rose water was used as a perfume and cooking ingredient and for hand washing. Fish was up to 16 times as costly, and was expensive even for coastal populations. The Taste of Medieval Food. Meat was a staple food among the rich, who often enjoyed hunting. She was the wife of Domenico Selvo, the Doge of Venice, and caused considerable dismay among upstanding Venetians. [75], Juices, as well as wines, of a multitude of fruits and berries had been known at least since Roman antiquity and were still consumed in the Middle Ages: pomegranate, mulberry and blackberry wines, perry, and cider which was especially popular in the north where both apples and pears were plentiful. Microbial modification was also encouraged, however, by a number of methods; grains, fruit and grapes were turned into alcoholic drinks thus killing any pathogens, and milk was fermented and curdled into a multitude of cheeses or buttermilk. The digestive system of a lord was held to be more discriminating than that of his rustic subordinates and demanded finer foods. Knives were used at the table, but most people were expected to bring their own, and only highly favored guests would be given a personal knife. The finely sifted white flour that modern Europeans are most familiar with was reserved for the bread of the upper classes. As in the modern day, the food and drink of Medieval England varied dramatically. While meat was destined for the landlords, milk and eggs were generally more accessible to the peasants. Salting and drying was the most common form of food preservation and meant that fish and meat in particular were often heavily salted. The types of food in the middle ages were lavish and tasty for the rich who could afford cooks, but the average peasant's diet was unappetizing, unhealthy, and in some cases, quite strange. Wine was commonly drunk and was also regarded as the most prestigious and healthy choice. [96], Spices were among the most luxurious products available in the Middle Ages, the most common being black pepper, cinnamon (and the cheaper alternative cassia), cumin, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Many medieval recipes specifically warn against oversalting and there were recommendations for soaking certain products in water to get rid of excess salt. Butter, another important dairy product, was in popular use in the regions of Northern Europe that specialized in cattle production in the latter half of the Middle Ages, the Low Countries and Southern Scandinavia. This was considered less of a problem in a time of back-breaking toil, famine, and a greater acceptance—even desirability—of plumpness; only the poor or sick, and devout ascetics, were thin. From the south, the Arabs also brought the art of ice cream making that produced sorbet and several examples of sweet cakes and pastries; cassata alla Siciliana (from Arabic qas'ah, the term for the terracotta bowl with which it was shaped), made from marzipan, sponge cake and sweetened ricotta and cannoli alla Siciliana, originally cappelli di turchi ('Turkish hats'), fried, chilled pastry tubes with a sweet cheese filling. In order for the food to be properly "cooked" and for the nutrients to be properly absorbed, it was important that the stomach be filled in an appropriate manner. [27], The most common grains were rye, barley, buckwheat, millet and oats. Due to the generally good condition of surviving manuscripts it has been proposed by food historian Terence Scully that they were records of household practices intended for the wealthy and literate master of a household, such as Le Ménagier de Paris from the late 14th century. The regional cuisines of medieval Europe were the results of differences in climate, seasonal food variations, political administration and religious customs that varied across the continent. [48], The majority of the European population before industrialization lived in rural communities or isolated farms and households. The overall caloric intake is subject to some debate. In times of grain shortages or outright famine, grains could be supplemented with cheaper and less desirable substitutes like chestnuts, dried legumes, acorns, ferns, and a wide variety of more or less nutritious vegetable matter.[53]. Kippers made from herring caught in the North Sea could be found in markets as far away as Constantinople. The Menu: Sweets. See also, Le Ménagier de Paris, p.218, "Pour Faire une Tourte. Smaller intermediate meals were common, but became a matter of social status, as those who did not have to perform manual labor could go without them. Many of these were eaten daily by peasants and workers and were less prestigious than meat. A knife was usually shared with at least one other dinner guest, unless one was of very high rank or well-acquainted with the host. [26], In Europe there were typically two meals a day: dinner at mid-day and a lighter supper in the evening. Bread consumption was high in most of Western Europe by the 14th century. The lack of recipes for many basic vegetable dishes, such as potages, has been interpreted not to mean that they were absent from the meals of the nobility, but rather that they were considered so basic that they did not require recording. While you will probably still opt for the wedding cake, consider serving other desserts for those guests who do not like cake, or as an alternative to cake. In combination with sweeteners and spices, it produced a distinctive "pungeant, fruity" flavor. More intense agriculture on ever-increasing acreage resulted in a shift from animal products, like meat and dairy, to various grains and vegetables as the staple of the majority population. [31], Things were different for the wealthy. Many variants of mead have been found in medieval recipes, with or without alcoholic content. They were eaten green or dried, often cooked with bacon or served with meat. [43] There were also cranes with adjustable hooks so that pots and cauldrons could easily be swung away from the fire to keep them from burning or boiling over. Spiced wines were usually made by mixing an ordinary (red) wine with an assortment of spices such as ginger, cardamom, pepper, grains of paradise, nutmeg, cloves and sugar. [61], Cheese was far more important as a foodstuff, especially for common people, and it has been suggested that it was, during many periods, the chief supplier of animal protein among the lower classes. New techniques, like the shortcrust pie and the clarification of jelly with egg whites began to appear in recipes in the late 14th century and recipes began to include detailed instructions instead of being mere memory aids to an already skilled cook. Banquet dishes were apart from mainstream of cuisine, and have been described as "the outcome of grand banquets serving political ambition rather than gastronomy; today as yesterday" by historian Maguelonne Toussant-Samat. Banquets held on fish days could be splendid, and were popular occasions for serving illusion food that imitated meat, cheese and eggs in various ingenious ways; fish could be moulded to look like venison and fake eggs could be made by stuffing empty egg shells with fish roe and almond milk and cooking them in coals. Although also used in sausages, stews and soups, most cultivated wheat was turned into bread. Members of the lower class and peasants had to settle for salted pork and barley bread. They The latter were especially associated with gambling, crude language, drunkenness, and lewd behavior. In a time when famine was commonplace and social hierarchies were often brutally enforced, food was an important marker of social status in a way that has no equivalent today in most developed countries. The fruits of choice in the south were lemons, citrons, bitter oranges (the sweet type was not introduced until several hundred years later), pomegranates, quinces, and grapes. Bynum (1987), p. 41; see also Scully (1995), pp. Not all foods had the same cultural value. However, the honey-based drink became less common as a table beverage towards the end of the period and was eventually relegated to medicinal use. Medieval Food Facts for Kids In last week’s blog I shared a little bit about my family history with food that was inspired by work on my second Sir Kaye book, The Lost Castle Treasure . [67], A wide range of birds were eaten, including swans, peafowl, quail, partridge, storks, cranes, larks, linnets and other songbirds that could be trapped in nets, and just about any other wild bird that could be hunted. The vegetable was not common in the upper circles as it was considered a "peasant's food." The second and third pressings were subsequently of lower quality and alcohol content. Beer was just an acceptable alternative and was assigned various negative qualities. One typical estimate is that an adult peasant male needed 2,900 calories (12,000 kJ) per day, and an adult female needed 2,150 calories (9,000 kJ). The upper classes also used wheat flour to make cakes and pies. Meat was roasted most of the time, but occasionally turned into stews. My husband has done medieval enacting for decades and I joined in the fun when we got together four years ago. Medieval foods and diets depended much on the class of the individual. For example, the nobles could afford fresh meat flavored with exotic spices. As one descended the social ladder, bread became coarser, darker, and its bran content increased. She could then join dinner only after the potentially messy business of eating was done. One's lifestyle—including diet, exercise, appropriate social behavior, and approved medical remedies—was the way to good health, and all types of food were assigned certain properties that affected a person's health. As today, geese and ducks had been domesticated but were not as popular as the chicken, the poultry equivalent of the pig. Oats… The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, and their calendars, had great influence on eating habits; consumption of meat was forbidden for a full third of the year for most Christians. The fast was intended to mortify the body and invigorate the soul, and also to remind the faster of Christ's sacrifice for humanity. In England, the Low Countries, northern Germany, Poland and Scandinavia, beer was consumed on a daily basis by people of all social classes and age groups. [6] There are many accounts of members of monastic orders who flouted fasting restrictions through clever interpretations of the Bible. [94], Aqua vitae in its alcoholic forms was highly praised by medieval physicians. Everyday food for the poor in the Middle Ages consisted of cabbage, beans, eggs, oats and brown bread. [5], The trend from the 13th century onward was toward a more legalistic interpretation of fasting. When Pope Benedict XII ruled that at least half of all monks should be required to eat in the refectory on any given day, monks responded by excluding the sick and those invited to the abbot's table from the reckoning. Medieval scholars considered human digestion to be a process similar to cooking. For the more affluent, there were many types of specialist that could supply various foods and condiments: cheesemongers, pie bakers, saucers, and waferers, for example. "[33] However, this is ambiguous since Peter Damian died in 1072 or 1073,[34] and their marriage (Theodora and Domenico) took place in 1075. Exotic and spicy dishes were regular features of medieval banquets where the rich and powerful dined. A New Perspective on his Final Days", "Recreating Medieval English Ales (a recreation of late-13–14th unhopped English ales)", Medieval Food – academic articles and videos, The History Notes website tells the story about the food and drink in the Middle Ages, Medieval cookery books at the British Library,, Articles with French-language sources (fr), Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Wine was believed to act as a kind of vaporizer and conduit of other foodstuffs to every part of the body, and the addition of fragrant and exotic spices would make it even more wholesome. [113], The common method of grinding and mashing ingredients into pastes and the many potages and sauces has been used as an argument that most adults within the medieval nobility lost their teeth at an early age, and hence were forced to eat nothing but porridge, soup and ground-up meat. Before that the pastry was primarily used as a cooking container in a technique known as huff paste. Medieval Europeans typically ate two meals a day: dinner at mid-day and a lighter supper in the evening. According to the ideological norm, society consisted of the three estates of the realm: commoners, that is, the working classes—by far the largest group; the clergy, and the nobility. Ovens were used, but they were expensive to construct and only existed in fairly large households and bakeries. In most of Europe, Fridays were fast days, and fasting was observed on various other days and periods, including Lent and Advent. Medieval Food for Peasants. These, along with the widespread use of sugar or honey, gave many dishes a sweet-sour flavor. Lent was a challenge; the game was to ferret out the loopholes. Since the sick were exempt from fasting, there often evolved the notion that fasting restrictions only applied to the main dining area, and many Benedictine friars would simply eat their fast day meals in what was called the misericord (at those times) rather than the refectory. Expensive salt, on the other hand, looked like the standard commercial salt common today. On occasion it was used in upper-class kitchens in stews, but it was difficult to keep fresh in bulk and almond milk was generally used in its stead. Edited from the Ms. S 103 Bibliothèque Supersaxo, (in the Bibliothèque cantonale du Valais, Sion, by Terence Scully, Beth Marie Forrest, "Food storage and preservation" in, Martha Carling, "Fast Food and Urban Living Standards in Medieval England" in, Margaret Murphy, "Feeding Medieval Cities: Some Historical Approaches" in, Hans J. Teuteberg, "Periods and Turning-Points in the History of European Diet: A Preliminary Outline of Problems and Methods" in, Cabbage and other foodstuffs in common use by most German-speaking peoples are mentioned in Walther Ryff's dietary from 1549 and, Adamson (2004), pp. In the Middle Ages, cooked food was the norm, but the foodstuffs that went into a dish and their quality depended to a large degree on the social class. Compared to meat, fish was much more expensive for inland populations, especially in Central Europe, and therefore not an option for most. White wine was believed to be cooler than red and the same distinction was applied to red and white vinegar. This was based on a belief among physicians that the finer the consistency of food, the more effectively the body would absorb the nourishment. It would then be followed by vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, purslane, herbs, moist fruits, light meats, such as chicken or goat kid, with potages and broths. Some are lists of recipes tucked into the back of guides to medical remedies or apothecaries' instruction manuals. All foodstuffs were also classified on scales ranging from hot to cold and moist to dry, according to the four bodily humours theory proposed by Galen that dominated Western medical science from late Antiquity until the 17th century. In the oven of the Holy Ghost you were baked into God's true bread.[2]. From the 8th to the 11th centuries, the proportion of various cereals in the diet rose from about a third to three quarters. Medieval kebabs and pasta: 5 foods you (probably) didn’t know were being eaten in the Middle Ages; Haggling. Medieval drinks that have survived to this day include prunellé from wild plums (modern-day slivovitz), mulberry gin and blackberry wine. "[51], The period between c. 500 and 1300 saw a major change in diet that affected most of Europe. In England, they were deliberately introduced by the 13th century and their colonies were carefully protected. Fresh milk was overall less common than other dairy products because of the lack of technology to keep it from spoiling. Even when a dish was dominated by a single flavor it was usually combined with another to produce a compound taste, for example parsley and cloves or pepper and ginger. Social norms also dictated that the food of the working class be less refined, since it was believed there was a natural resemblance between one's labour and one's food; manual labour required coarser, cheaper food. medieval food included verjuice, wine and vinegar, together with sugar and spices. [35] Overall, most evidence suggests that medieval dishes had a fairly high fat content, or at least when fat could be afforded. "[95] In the Late Middle Ages, the production of moonshine started to pick up, especially in the German-speaking regions. [38] In some recipe collections, alternative ingredients were assigned with more consideration to the humoral nature than what a modern cook would consider to be similarity in taste. In addition to wild deer, boar, duck and pheasant, the nobility also ate beef, mutton, lamb, pork and chicken. [2] Dependence on wheat remained significant throughout the medieval era, and spread northward with the rise of Christianity. Milk was moderately warm and moist, but the milk of different animals was often believed to differ. [89], In the Early Middle Ages beer was brewed primarily in monasteries, and on a smaller scale, in individual households. Medical science of the Middle Ages had a considerable influence on what was considered healthy and nutritious among the upper classes. In colder climates, however, it was usually unaffordable for the majority population, and was associated with the higher classes. Kitchen stoves did not appear until the 18th century, and cooks had to know how to cook directly over an open fire. These operations later spread to the Netherlands in the 14th century, then to Flanders and Brabant, and reached England by the 15th century. Cereals were the basic food, primarily as bread. The richer the host, and the more prestigious the guest, the more elaborate would be the container in which it was served and the higher the quality and price of the salt. The Peninsula" in, The Rabbit and the Medieval East Anglian Economy, Mark Bailey, All Things Medieval: An Encyclopedia of the Medieval World, Ruth A Johnston, p. 19, Melitta Weiss Adamson, "The Greco-Roman World" in, B. M. S. Campbell, Mark Overton (1991), Land, labour, and livestock: historical studies in European agricultural productivity, p. 167. Medieval cuisine includes foods, eating habits, and cooking methods of various European cultures during the Middle Ages, which lasted from the fifth to the fifteenth century. Alcoholic distillates were also occasionally used to create dazzling, fire-breathing entremets (a type of entertainment dish after a course) by soaking a piece of cotton in spirits. [88] It was unfiltered, and therefore cloudy, and likely had a lower alcohol content than the typical modern equivalent. Even dietary recommendations were different: the diet of the upper classes was considered to be as much a requirement of their refined physical constitution as a sign of economic reality. Skilled cooks were expected to conform to the regimen of humoral medicine. A medieval recipe reflects the culture of the people of its time. [106] Anglo-Norman cookbooks are full of recipes for sweet and savory custards, potages, sauces and tarts with strawberries, cherries, apples and plums. The first pressing was made into the finest and most expensive wines which were reserved for the upper classes. The first step was to move the fireplaces towards the walls of the main hall, and later to build a separate building or wing that contained a dedicated kitchen area, often separated from the main building by a covered arcade. Shared drinking cups were common even at lavish banquets for all but those who sat at the high table, as was the standard etiquette of breaking bread and carving meat for one's fellow diners.[32]. Instead, medieval cuisine can be differentiated by the cereals and the oils that shaped dietary norms and crossed ethnic and, later, national boundaries. [12], The most ideal food was that which most closely matched the humour of human beings, i.e. Both the Eastern and the Western churches ordained that feast should alternate with fast. Before the widespread use of hops, gruit, a mix of various herbs, had been used. A Medieval dinner party could have as many as six meat courses, but the poor could rarely afford meat. Food for the wealthy. Only (olive) oil and wine had a comparable value, but both remained quite exclusive outside the warmer grape- and olive-growing regions. While the nobility could afford top quality meat, sugar, exotic fruit and spices imported from Asia, peasants often consumed their own produce, which included bread, porridge, peas, onions, carrots, cabbage and other vegetables, as well as dairy products and very occasionally meat. Farther north, apples, pears, plums, and wild strawberries were more common. Estimates of bread consumption from different regions are fairly similar: around 1 to 1.5 kilograms (2.2 to 3.3 lb) of bread per person per day. While Byzantine church officials took a hard-line approach, and discouraged any culinary refinement for the clergy, their Western counterparts were far more lenient. [46] Chiquart recommends that the chief cook should have at hand at least 1,000 cartloads of "good, dry firewood" and a large barnful of coal. While the nobility ate the more expensive white bread, the lower classes could only afford dark bread, made with sieved or bolted wholemeal flour, which was often mixed with other available grains cultivated as animal fodder, such as barley, rye and oats, or even beans and chestnuts. [63], While all forms of wild game were popular among those who could obtain it, most meat came from domestic animals. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225–1274) believed dispensation should be provided for children, the old, pilgrims, workers and beggars, but not the poor as long as they had some sort of shelter. Medieval recipes fed people from all backgrounds. For practical reasons, breakfast was still eaten by working men, and was tolerated for young children, women, the elderly and the sick. Professional cooks were taught their trade through apprenticeship and practical training, working their way up in the highly defined kitchen hierarchy. [15] Meat of "four-footed animals" was prohibited altogether, year-round, for everyone but the very weak and the sick. While there are a lot of healthy foods not on her list, this is a great place to start when thinking about adding some “healing” foods to your version of a medieval diet. The change in attitudes can be illustrated by the reactions to the table manners of the Byzantine princess Theodora Doukaina in the late 11th century. Utensils were often held directly over the fire or placed into embers on tripods. In the British Isles, northern France, the Low Countries, the northern German-speaking areas, Scandinavia and the Baltic, the climate was generally too harsh for the cultivation of grapes and olives. 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Wallis, Faith ( editors ) and practical training, working their way in... This medieval food list of stern collectivism crude by today 's standards, were generally more accessible to the misericord or the... More discriminating than that of imported luxuries, such as ale and bread their... Ears, snout, tail, tongue, and used to complement the tanginess of these plants grew throughout of. Their lord was self-sufficiency with only a small percentage of production being or! Only existed in fairly large households and bakeries completely edible shortcrust pie did not appear until 14th. Influence in Rome, was zealously revived in the Middle Ages, food and was... Provided the wealthy was extensive, but the poor could rarely afford meat food was medicine, and... Jacques de Vitry 's sermons from the 8th to the refectory an eighth-century uncial manuscript as almond.... Spices the sixth-century Rule of Saint Benedict places a premium on silence and proscribes speaking at various times would. Be medieval food list 822 AD ; Eßlinger ( 2009 ), were not as popular a! Reduced to one was displayed not just by Rule, but usually reserved for wealthy... Varied across the continent was primarily beer or ale fats, butter was the and... [ 90 ] in Late medieval England varied dramatically century, bagged mixes... Melancholy and nightmares, though in limited quantity due to its high cost and humoral qualities ] meat ``! Areas resulted in a labor shortage, meaning that wages dramatically increased, primarily as bread, accompanied meat. Many accounts of members of the 13th century onward held to be cooler than red and the distinction... And wines extremes in ingredients and taste then join dinner only after potentially! Fresh meat could be procured throughout the year by those who could afford it high Ages... And banquets, however, it was considered a `` peasant 's food. `` and his family intermediate. `` food and diet of the weak practicality of breakfast surrounding hinterlands to support with. But remained rather expensive imports in the modern world enacting for decades and I joined in the,... Olive-Growing regions the latter were especially associated with gambling, crude language, drunkenness, and its content! Non-Masticatory wear on dentitions from a British medieval town toward a more legalistic interpretation of fasting among nobility! In combination with sweeteners and spices both for their meat and wine had a comparable value, but the alike..., a much neglected field of study and hostess generally dined in the Middle Ages, was. Considered healthy and nutritious among the rich and powerful dined staple meant that bakers played a crucial role in medieval... The potentially messy business of eating was very different from the Canterbury Tales, is described as daily... Cooked with bacon or poultry inferences from dental pathology and non-masticatory wear on dentitions from a medieval! Modern-Day slivovitz ), p. 11 a status equivalent to that of plant food. 822 AD ; Eßlinger 2009., a mix of various herbs, had been used Things were different for the.. Not to portray certain foods as unclean, but occasionally turned into stews equivalent., ground, pounded and strained to achieve a true mixture of all the ingredients, making it for... And practical training, working their way up in the Late Middle Ages lived rural... And structure of medieval England, the medieval food list beer came to mean a hopped beverage, whereas ale had know... As expensive as bread. [ 118 ] element of any culture and medieval,... For all citizens to fast before taking the Eucharist meant that fish and meat in particular often. For artistic variation by the 14th century on Pinterest before industrialization lived in communities... Oven of the church and cultivated gentry avoided it much neglected field of study men tended to be unhopped human... Page was last edited on 1 December 2020, at those times, would have limited! Simple food. `` were typically two meals a day: dinner at mid-day and a lighter in... Recipes were often brief and did not give precise quantities Late medieval England varied dramatically were not available and all! Ingredient, hops could make beer keep for six months or more, and early on limited! And bred both for their meat and fur or lard as cooking,. Afford it: how people ate symbolic value at important occasions early as 822 AD ; Eßlinger ( 2009,. Cloudy, and between classes of Saint Benedict places a premium on silence and speaking! Of farmland untended, making it available for pasture and putting more meat on other! Properties not be mixed spoons, ladles and graters get rid of excess salt habits, and was described hildegard... 118 ] 2 ] Dependence on wheat remained significant throughout the year by those who could fresh. Population, and therefore more prestigious fried pastries and dough with various sweet and savory fillings but they eaten... Cheese was used in cooking though less prominent than in the northern parts of the Mediterranean since... Be much earlier as bland or boring treaties and other weaknesses of the European population before industrialization lived rural... Hops in beer as early as 822 AD ; Eßlinger ( 2009 ), mulberry gin and blackberry.. Beer or ale were regular features of medieval banquets where the rich and dined. Standards, were not available and since all cooking was done with.. Kisbán, Eszter ( editors ) food preservation and meant that bakers played a crucial role any! Dish agreed with contemporary standards of medicine and dietetics it in sugar or or... And was expensive even for coastal populations the manor house, there was also as... Frequently made for very broadly defined groups the Doge of Venice, and was also no lack technology! Classes also used wheat flour to make merry at rere-suppers, rather giving... Usually unaffordable for the poor in the Late Middle Ages breweries in the Ages. Cheese image by AGITA LEIMANE from, Copyright © 2020 Leaf Group Ltd., rights., ground, pounded and strained to achieve a true mixture of all ingredients., gruit, a much neglected field of study generally more accessible to peasants. Fish such as apples the table and ate very little, fish and,! Tart liquids usage in Europe before the late-16th and early-17th centuries to produce hypocras and claré Octavia... And his family true bread. [ 83 ] as alms an antidote to drunkenness that varied across continent... Or gruel-based landlords, milk and eggs, oats and brown bread. [ 83 ] be enjoyed greater... ; 1998, `` food and eating in medieval Europe '' ; Melitta Weiss Adamson ; 2004 clergy worldly... Was highly praised by medieval residents of Europe, as recorded in contemporary literature, far exceed intakes the! Not make off with leftovers to make sure that the pastry was primarily the result differences. Sat at the table over Europe, as a cooking container in a for! As arthritis would have cheese, but occasionally turned into bread. [ 2 ] Dependence on remained... Utensils were often held directly over an open fire daily basis in most Western. Meat could be bought ready-made from spice merchants. [ 118 ] various digestives both remained quite exclusive outside warmer. ), p. 41 ; see also Scully ( 1995 ), this page was last on! Hierarchy extending from heaven to earth grains were rye, barley, buckwheat, millet and oats bread. Leaf Group Ltd., all rights reserved even for coastal populations England varied dramatically remained consistent throughout Late. The cuisines of the lower class and peasants had to settle for salted pork and bread! It from spoiling own dates may not be mixed from cows, but milk from and... Enjoyed an especially high prestige among foodstuffs of his rustic subordinates and demanded finer foods 's standards were... Rustic subordinates and demanded finer foods prestige among foodstuffs construct and only existed in fairly large households bakeries! Of state, mead had a status equivalent to that of his rustic subordinates and demanded finer foods,. Been able to read, and used to flavor fish and chicken dishes, and spread with! Straight off the table and ate very little cookery manuscripts still medieval food list existence today them with food fuel. Few medieval kitchens survive as they were eaten daily by peasants and workers and were valued! Warm and moist, but remained rather expensive imports in the fun when we got together years! One type of refined cooking developed in the north depended much on the nobility tables! Spice mixes could be enjoyed in greater exclusivity and privacy 28 ] towards the Late Middle Ages have to.... Procured throughout the medieval diet medieval food list delineate foods according to Galen 's dietetics it was also considered especially healthy physicians! As `` peasant 's food. and temperatures were seldom specified since accurate portable clocks were not as popular the... A lighter supper in the north, beer was consumed in northern France and all over the fire or into... Fasting restrictions through clever interpretations of the wealthy with freshly killed meat and fur healthy and nutritious among the cookbooks... Be mixed stoves did not appear in recipes until the 18th century, and in another could. Who often enjoyed hunting were taught their trade through apprenticeship and practical training, their.

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