Medieval Food Recipes – Station Dictated Diet
When it comes to medieval food recipes, the variety and choices will likely surprise some. Station in life, however, often determined the kinds of foods available for culinary delight.
Oftentimes, the recipes for medieval food were dictated entirely be availability. This was the plight of both the noble class and peasants when it came to medieval recipes.
If it’s considered the extreme difficulty medieval man had in obtaining such spices as sugar, cinnamon and even pepper, the blandness of the diet becomes understandable. Medieval food recipes were often basic, even for those living in a world of wealth, due to this fact.
To obtain some of the choice spices for medieval recipes, a merchant would have to travel across very dangerous territory to countries far away. Therefore, the average medieval food recipe was pretty basic – meat, bread and vegetables.
For the wealthy, medieval recipes were a bit more diverse. Available to people of higher stations were capons, geese, chickens, lamb and even seafood delights such as salmon and eel. The wealthy also had greater access to milled flour and other grains for their medieval food recipes and refined dairy products such as butter and cheese were also available. They, too, were given first shot at harvests on their land for the choice crops for their medieval food recipes.
Medieval recipes for the peasant class were a bit more boring and bland. Dark breads made of barley and rye were common as was the eating of onions, garlic, nuts, berries and other items in soup. Salt pork and bacon were common medieval food recipe staples.
For the peasant class, medieval recipes depended almost entirely on local laws and what they were allowed to hunt and harvest. Some animals, for example, were outlawed for the peasant to hunt and belonged only to the nobility of the area.
Medieval food recipes were often devoid of foods rich in vitamin C and other essentials. This mainly had to do with a lack of availability. Imagine the logistics of fetching an orange and bringing it to England unspoiled.
Many medieval recipes were pretty basic and called for items modern cooks would likely not use such as tongues, brains and so on. A recipe for cabochis, a cabbage dish from 15th century England, for example, is a bit more palatable to the modern taste. This calls for a fresh head of cabbage, washed and dried. It is then chopped and boiled in a broth of bone marrow. This medieval food recipe is seasoned with saffron and salt, if available, and served with grated bread.
Other medieval recipes such as rabbit in broth sound rich to a modern pallet. In this recipe, a rabbit is cut into pieces and parboiled. It is then placed in a broth that includes almonds, ginger and sugar and cooking. To serve this medieval food recipe, a cook would garnish the rabbit and gravy concoction with more sugar and ginger.