What did people of the Middle Ages eat?
how people of an era of the early Middle Ages ate, remained very few data. Clearer picture appears at us beginning only with the 13th century. Then also the first cookbooks began to appear.
As the early Middle Ages were considered as a hungry era, it is easy to assume that what people ate, directly depended on their social status. The food of peasants differed from that which ate noblemen. Hunger for one closely adjoined to a gluttony of others.
They with themselves carried the Cook, That he chickens cooked
to them, bef - buy,
I baked them in sauce ruddy
With cinnamon puddings or with a marjoram. he Was able to cook, extinguish
, to fry, the furnace;
Was able to kindle fire properly; Soup it wonderfully well filled
London immediately learned Ale.
(Jeffrey Chaucer “The Canterbury Tales“)
the Main food of peasants mainly: peas, lentil, beans, haricot. Bread entered the main diet too, but at the same time it differed with the quality. For poor people it was rye bread of a rough grinding and various flat cakes, and for rich men - white bread from the sifted flour.
Turnip was extremely popular in those days. As poor people were not able to afford meat, they caught for the livelihood various birds, mainly small. But here too there is a small amendment: pigeons were considered as a big delicacy and the privilege of noblemen which contained the whole dovecots.
The food of prosperous farmers was more various. Meat of poultry, cheeses and fish who was caught sometimes secretly in the next pond entered a diet. Medieval feasts and storerooms with edibles of the nobility appear in many historical novels why it is much easier to make idea of their food, than of food of the commoner.
Meat was the main indicator of prosperity. First of all - a game as hunting for it was the privilege only of the aristocracy - it is deer, fallow deer, roes, partridges, boars, hares, quails, pheasants. Then poultry - geese, chickens, pigeons. And, at last, pork. Meat was salted, smoked and pickled for longer storage. From here recipe of world famous jamon. But, despite such love to meat, during an era of the early Middle Ages fish was served on a table more often. In wide assortment there were a northern herring, a salmon, a trout, a carp, an eel, a pike. Were a good judge of lobsters and had a snack on their mollusks.
Feasts and feasts of the early Middle Ages did not differ in especially refined cuisine and etiquette up to the middle of the 8th century. The traditional feast consisted of the following stages of giving of dishes: in the beginning light meals - cheeses, sour vegetables and fruit moved to prepare a stomach for heavier food. Then there was a vegetable soup to which added pieces of bread and meat. And, at last, roast was the main course. Roast emphasized the high status of the owner because he owned a fireplace and various devices for preparation of roast.
To meat traditionally served sauces. The basis of such sauces was made by vinegar or wine and various herbs. All this feast by all means was followed by drinking of a large number of wine. On the termination of a meal to servants was permitted to eat the remains from a table, and what was not eaten up by servants, distributed to poor people.
The food on such banquets moved on plates and in special pots for suppression. The ratio of the given plates to the number of guests often made one to two.
For meal used a spoon and a knife. The fork was widely used the in Europe in the 14th century, and in the 17th century became indispensable attribute of all notable meals. Sometimes the plate was replaced by a piece of rye bread on which meat was put. After eating up of meat bread was distributed to poor people.
The use of wine in the Middle Ages deserves separate attention. It was the most important drink of any time of day which was suitable for all cases. The day norm of this drink made from one and a half to two liters. It remained at that time quite badly therefore it should have been used within two years. Often added honey, herbs and aromatic substances to wine.
Beer was used only in some regions - Northern and the Central England, Champagne, Flanders, Artua. That drink which they drank only bears a faint resemblance to beer which we drink now. It was not flavored hop. Medieval beer very quickly spoiled therefore it was drunk right after production.
Blossoming of medieval kitchen with magnificent lunches and refined dishes is the share of the 14-15th century. To a variety of such exotic foods as nightingale uvulas, camel heels, crests of live roosters, brains of peacocks, milts of moray eels and languages of a flamingo who moved on royal feasts the chef of any mishlenovsky restaurant will envy.
The medieval kitchen presented us the considerable number of recipes and methods of conservation of food. For example, dense Castilian soup which is cooked by five centuries, and the well-known Parma ham which contains centuries-old history too.
And dinners in medieval style with fancy-dress representations in medieval castles, taverns and taverns of many countries of Europe become more and more popular entertainment for tourists.