Medieval Food

Remember, peasants can’t revolt on an empty stomach, so what did they eat and drink? They didn’t have pizza in medieval times, no fried chicken, and unfortunately, no soda either. Dining back in medieval times was rather different.

The most important component of medieval food was bread. Typically, it was cooked underneath the embers of a household’s fire place, and the loaves were very thin. The reason for this is that adding yeast (the stuff that makes bread rise for those of you who don’t know) was not widely adopted, so if the loaves started out too thick, they wouldn’t be thoroughly cooked. A crunchy outside and a chewy inside might be good for some foods, but it’s not something people want in bread.

Culturing the Vine

Culturing the Vine

Another piece of the medieval diet was fruits and vegetables. Unlike today though, vegetables were never considered a necessary part of the diet, and were generally eaten only by monks under vows of abstinence. However, the cabbage is an exception to this trend, and in France, a type of cabbage called “Senlis cabbage” was said to exude a smell “more agreeable than musk or amber”. Fruits were much more important, and pears, apples, and plums were generally held to be the best. Even as early as the 1200’s there were a great variety of these fruits and were an essential part of the medieval diet. Additionally, people in medieval times considered a fruit called quince (which just tastes like quince) to be the most useful of all fruits. They could use it in dried preserves, seasoning meat, and even making wine.

Who knew there was so much to the food in medieval times? Next week, we’ll talk about  the “main courses”, namely meat, poultry, and fish.

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Published in: on August 31, 2011 at 3:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

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