Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Medieval English Diet

The medieval diet was more varied than many people realise. As well as crops there would have been herbs, fruits and berries and then of course meat. However meat could only be eaten fresh in the summer as Turnip Townsend was still 400 years in the future and livestock was generally slaughtered before the winter came.

Poor people kept pigs whilst the rich and nobles hunted deer, wild boar, swans, hares and just about anything that moved!

Fish was popular and a mandatory dish on Fridays and of course during lent when the devout gave up meat. Manors and monasteries would have had their own fish ponds and castle moats were often well stocked with fish.

Potatoes - there were none! It was Christopher Columbus who brought the common spud back from the New World in 1482.

Meats were generally served on thick trenchers of bread ... with only the nobles using plates.

Salt, something which is so common now, was a luxury.

The main meal of the day would have been eaten 9 am and 12 noon. In medieval castles it was served in the Great Hall.

Overall there was a large variety of food prepared and cooked in ways that we have long forgotten about. For more on that you can check out some medieval recipes.

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