Using Salt in the Middle Ages

Photo by Kevin Dooley / Flickr

Salt was an integral part of medieval life: not only is some salt a necessary part of a human diet, but it’s also essential for preserving food such as meat, seafood, and dairy products in the absence of refrigeration.

The Dangers of Eating Pears, according to Alexander Neckam

16th century painting of pears by Ulisse Aldrovandi

Pears have been a popular fruit since ancient times, but the medieval scholar Alexander Neckam raised some warnings about the eating this food (especially without wine).

Epiphany: Three Kings Day

The Three Magi, Byzantine mosaic c.565, Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna, Italy (restored 18th century). As here Byzantine art usually depicts the Magi in Persian clothing which includes breeches, capes, and Phrygian caps. Wikipedia

A look at the history behind Epiphany and Twelfth Night.

Medieval Hangover Cures

A drunk monk? This might be St. Arnulf of Metz (582 -640), the unofficial patron saint of beer.

Here are a few hangover cures from days gone by, because people who partied like it was 1399 also needed a little help the morning after.

Food and technology – Cooking utensils and food processing in medieval Norway

16th century view of Bergen

By comparing archaeological evidence of cooking utensils from urban and rural contexts in Norway ca. 1,000–1,500 AD – in this case new technologies represented by imported ceramic vessels versus domestic steatite vessels and new types of stone griddles – my aim is to examine how new ways of preparing food were transmitted, either incorporated into routinised practises, ignored or transformed.

Surviving Winter in the Middle Ages

Pavel Sapozhnikov and his goat, Glasha, surviving a harsh Russian winter living as people did in the ninth century. Photo courtesy of Alone in the Past.

Surviving Winter in the Middle Ages: How did people stay warm? What did they eat? What did they do?

The Supersizers Eat… Medieval

supersizers eat medieval

The Supersizers Eat… was a BBC television series about the history of food. Starring restaurant critic Giles Coren and comedian Sue Perkins, they produced a dozen episodes experiencing the food culture from ancient Rome to the roaring twenties.

5 Medieval Hanukkah Foods

Sufganyiot - Hanukkah

What was on the table of medieval Jews? Here is a list of five foods that would have been enjoyed during Hanukkah in the Middle Ages.

For the Knyʒhtys tabylle and for the Kyngges tabylle: An Edition of the Fifteenth-Century Middle English Cookery Recipes in London, British Library’s MS Sloane 442

Medieval Cooking - A cook at the stove with his trademark ladle; woodcut illustration from Kuchenmaistrey, the first printed cookbook in German, woodcut, 1485

The present thesis offers an edition of some fifteenth century Middle English cookery recipes, more specifically those of the Sloane 442 manuscript (MS Sloane 442), located at the British Library, London. The cookery recipes of this collection were most likely meant for the tables of the upper classes

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

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.

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