Medieval Tastes: Food, Cooking, and the Table

medieval tastes

In his new history of food, acclaimed historian Massimo Montanari traces the development of medieval tastes, both culinary and cultural, from raw materials to market and captures their reflections in today’s food trends.

Medieval Books: 5 Great New Releases!

Book - 24 Hours at Agincourt

Black Friday is around the corner – here are a few books that have just been released!

Stable isotopes as indicators of change in the food procurement and food preference of Viking Age and Early Christian populations on Gotland (Sweden)

The traditional dish soused herring as it is served in Sweden - photo by Patrick Strang  / Wikipedia

In short, the end of the Viking Age may have involved a suite of environmental, economic, and sociocultural changes, yet despite these changes practices of food preference and food procurement were maintained within the coastal site of Ridanas. Our research contributes to archaeological th

Medieval iconography of watermelons in Mediterranean Europe

Image of watermelon from the Tractatus de herbis, British Library ms. Egerton 747, which was produced in southern Italy, around the year 1300

With the objective of obtaining an improved understanding of watermelon history and diversity in this region, medieval drawings purportedly of watermelons were collected, examined and compared for originality, detail and accuracy.

Recipes from The Tudor Kitchen

Recipes from The Tudor Kitchen

Get recipes on A Dysschefull of Snowe – Strawberries on Snow and Steamed Asparagus Spears in Orange Sauce

Alcohol and its Consumption in Medieval Cairo: The Story of a Habit

Beer - photo by abbyladybug /Flickr

Through the ages of Cairene history the alcoholic beverages, entangled in political and religious developments, depended more on prevailing doctrinal currents than on people’s habitual or taste inclinations. Therefore, the story of these beverages’ consumption is – not surprisingly – a turbulent one.

Twelve Thousand Cooks and a Muhtasib: Some Remarks on Food Business in Medieval Cairo

Cairo - photo by Marwa Morgan  / Flickr

The meals offered by street cooks were probably lacking in subtleness and elegancy if compared to the specialties served by the “caliphs’ kitchen” or by the Arabic-Islamic haute cuisine whose recipes were written down in the cookbooks for the elites

‘Wine-contamination’ of the Adriatic: Examples of punishing wine smugglers from medieval Dubrovnik

Wine in the 16th century

Strict import-export regulations of the medieval Dubrovnik (Ragusean) authorities included also a rather rigid control of the wine trade.

The Host in the late Middle Ages: superstitions, faith, miracles and magic

Miniature of the Institution of the Eucharist - British Library Egerton 1070   f. 113

The problem of taking and metabolizing Christ had been a major concern in Medieval times.

Beef and Pork in the Middle Ages

beef and pork middle ages

Learn 10 things about the history of beef and pork in the Middle Ages

The Sumptuous Use of Food at Castle Marienburg (Malbork) at the Start of the Fifteenth Century

Malbork reno

The prestige role of luxury food consumption was particularly visible during meetings of an international character: Teutonic-Lithuanian, Teutonic-Polish or Teutonic-Polish-Lithuanian, to which the grand master would come accompanied by the highest Order’s officials.

How to Make 24 Herring Pies for the King of England

Herring Pie - photo by Stijn Nieuwendijk / Flickr

Concerning the delivery of 24 Herring Pies parcel of the fee farm of the City of Norwich

Environmental Crusading: The Teutonic Knight’s Impact After the Baltic Crusades

Malbork Zamek Krzyzacki. Wikicommons

Environmental archaeologist and Professor of Archeology at Reading, Dr. Aleks Pluskowski, examined Malbork and several other sites across Eastern and Northern Europe in his recent paper, The Ecology of Crusading: The Environmental Impact of Holy War, Colonisation, and Religious Conversion in the Medieval Baltic. Pluskowski is keenly interested in the impact the Teutonic Knights and Christian colonisation had on the region. His ambitious 4 year project on the ecological changes in this area recently came to a close at the end of 2014.

Is it possible to accurately recreate a loaf of medieval bread?

medieval bread making

I propose that the experimental process is the best way to gain a better understanding of what bread was like for our medieval forebears and how it compared to the bread that we eat today?

Which Of These Foods Were Available In 15th Century England?

John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, dining with John I, King of Portugal.

Some of these foods were available when King Richard III was on the throne, others were not. Can you guess what might have been on your shopping list back in 15th century England?

1500-year-old Byzantine grape seeds discovered in Israel

wine of negev

The charred grape seeds, over 1,500 years old, found in southern Israel excavation were used to produce the ‘Wine of the Negev’ – one of the finest and most renowned wines in the whole of the Byzantine Empire.

Ceremonial Drinking in the Viking Age

A drinking scene on an image stone from Gotland, Swedish Museum of National Antiquities, Stockholm.

Drinking ceremonies played a very important social role in Viking Age Scandinavia and Anglo-Saxon England.

Tacuinum Sanitatis: A Way of Life

Image courtesy

How to maintain one’s health in the Middle Ages – the advice from the Tacuinum Sanitatis

The oldest Onion in Denmark

onion in Denmark - photo courtesy National Museum of Denmark

A 1300-year-old onion has been discovered as part of a woman’s grave in Denmark.

The Taste of Medieval Food

the taste of medieval food

When speaking of medieval foods, most people think of one or two things: drab, tasteless foods, or the historically inaccurate meals served at medieval reenactments where patrons eat sans utensils while watching some sort of entertaining reenactment. Both conceptions couldn’t be further from the truth.

Hearing, smelling, savoring, and touching in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

Medieval meal

Chaucer’s scholar’s have long recognized the poet’s keen sense of observation and have commented upon the poet’s ability to transfer his visual images to his writing.

Healthy Eating in the Middle Ages: the Tacuinum Sanitatis


In the late Middle Ages, princes and the powerful learnt the health and hygiene rules of rational medicine from the Tacuinum Sanitatis, a treatise on well-being and health widely disseminated in the 14th and 15th centuries.

Of sagas and sheep: Toward a historical anthropology of social change and production for market, subsistence and tribute in early Iceland

Medieval hunt - images of sheep

This dissertation deals with the formation of chiefdoms, communities, ecclesiastical institutions and state, and with production for market, subsistence and tribute in early Iceland in the context of climatic change and ecological succession.

Medieval emergence of sweet melons, Cucumis melo (Cucurbitaceae)

Cucumis melo

De Observantia Ciborum, an early 6th-century book on foods attributed to a Pseudo-Hippocrates, lists cucumere (snake melons) first among the vegetables. The pepone (watermelons), here too, are listed among other fruits that are eaten raw when ripe, pomegranates, grapes and figs, but there is no mention of melopepones or melones

Vegetables in the Middle Ages

Vegetables in the Middle Ages

Vegetables: A Biography, by Evelyne Bloch-Dano, offer the stories of eleven different vegetables - artichokes, beans, chard, cabbage, cardoons, carrots, chili peppers, Jerusalem artichokes, peas, pumpkins, and tomatoes – offering tidbits from science and agriculture to history, culture, and, of course, cooking. Here are a few excerpts from the book that detail their history during the […]

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