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Food is necessary! And no, it’s not simply because it’s essential to stay. When worldbuilding, meals is necessary as a result of it’s a method to perceive a tradition. The meals they eat, how they prepare dinner it, and the rituals that encompass it are instruments that you should utilize to set the inspiration to your cultures. So, for the sixth episode of our podcast, we interviewed Andy Hook and Giles Gasper, medieval meals consultants, and right here’s what we discovered!

What People Get Wrong about Medieval Food

If you’ve watched any films set within the Middle Ages (or in a medieval-inspired fantasy world), you may need a really particular concept about medieval meals. Big banquets the place everyone seems to be drunk and flinging leftovers over their shoulder, proper? Well, nothing farther from the reality! As it seems, water existed within the Middle Ages, and other people drank it on a regular basis (it’s virtually as if it’s wholesome for us or one thing!). And even after they drank ale, the manufacturing course of wasn’t pretty much as good as it’s now, so more often than not it didn’t have as a lot alcohol as immediately.

As for the food-flinging, banquets had been truly fairly civilized locations! They washed their palms, served the individual sitting in entrance of them, and had plenty of respect in direction of friends and different diners. Everyone was taught desk etiquette from an early age—due to course, banquets had been normally presided by an necessary lord, in any case.

Some folks additionally suppose that the rationale they used so many spices is to cowl the unhealthy style of the meat they ate. But that’s not true both! They truly had extra entry to contemporary meals than we do, so it in all probability tasted even higher!

What did Peasants eat?

As you may guess, poorer folks (i.e. most of them) didn’t eat the identical as nobles. Meat wasn’t broadly obtainable to the overall inhabitants (though that begins to vary within the 14th and fifteenth centuries), so their weight loss plan was largely legume-based.

And in fact, bread was a primary a part of the weight loss plan. The poorer somebody was, the darker their bread was. Now we all know that white bread is definitely much less wholesome than darker bread, however previously white was related to the excessive class. In cities, baking bread was usually a communal exercise. Ovens had been costly and troublesome to keep up, so folks would put together the bread after which ask the neighbor with the oven to bake it.

Were desk manners truly necessary?

Yes, they had been! Sure, they ate with their palms, however that’s solely as a result of that they had no different. How are you able to eat with forks in the event that they hadn’t been invented but? But as we coated earlier, they did wash their palms and had plenty of respect for eating, so it was as hygienic because it could possibly be. And should you weren’t positive about meals high quality at a banquet you can request your meals or drink to be tasted to verify it was suitable for eating.

Banquets passed off in giant eating halls, normally with the tables arrange in a horseshoe form, with the workers on the middle. There was all the time a lord (or a bishop, or another person with a excessive rank) sitting on the excessive desk. The meals that was served to the lord was particular, partially as a result of if the meals was uncommon (and subsequently extra helpful), they couldn’t afford to have everybody consuming it. However, should you had been favored by the lord of that feast, he typically despatched meals right down to you so you can additionally get pleasure from it.

Seasonal medieval meals

It’s necessary to keep in mind that some meals is related to sure seasons (or occasions) of the 12 months. This was due to traditions associated to faith. For instance, lamb was related to Easter (it’s an necessary image in Christianity), in addition to eggs. Before Easter, throughout Lent, meat wasn’t eaten and as an alternative they ate fish. It’s fascinating, although, that they used fish to prepare dinner dishes that appeared like meat!

Now, a false impression about that is that everybody starved throughout Christmas (and winter usually). That’s truly not true! They knew which meals they may protect through the chilly month, and they also did. Starvation occurred if the shops ran out however the brand new meals hadn’t grown but for no matter cause. And in fact, wars and pests may additionally trigger hunger after they affected meals storage.

The logistics of medieval meals

Sure, again then they didn’t the know-how we’ve these days, however they nonetheless had expansive networks of retailers that transported meals all around the globe. In truth, they went to nice pains to get all phrases of spices from Asia, utilizing service provider routes that went by Indonesia. Spices had been extraordinarily costly, however they cherished them they usually even used spices which can be not frequent in Europe (which is a part of why it’s troublesome to breed medieval dishes)! Now, normally, a single service provider wouldn’t make the total journey. Instead, they handed their merchandise from one to a different till they reached Europe (or no matter their vacation spot was).

Listen to the total interview!

Want to study extra about medieval meals and learn how to signify it in your world? Check out the total interview on YouTube and Libsyn (half 1, half 2)!

Who are Andy Hook and Giles Gasper?

Andy Hook is an knowledgeable chef and the managing director of Blackfriars Restaurant, a restaurant in Newcastle, UK that serves Thirteenth-century meals! And Giles Gasper is a Medieval History professor at Durham University who, along with Andy, created Eat Medieval. Eat Medieval is a web-based course the place you possibly can study to prepare dinner medieval meals with grasp cooks and Middle Ages consultants! Follow Blackfriars Restaurant and Eat Medieval on Twitter for updates!

Want to get extra suggestions from consultants like Andy and Giles? Follow our podcast!

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