Medieval Times Food – Simplicity, Availability Dictated Diet
Medieval times food was a bit more elaborate than a modern person might think. Considering, however, the lack of modern storage conveniences, supermarkets and fast food restaurants, medieval food fare depended a little upon luck and a lot upon what was available at the time.
For those in the peasant class, medieval times food depended a lot upon what could be grown, raised or gathered. Food for the lower classes also was dictated by what a lord on a manor would allow the peasants to keep. Oftentimes what peasants grew belonged more to the lord than themselves, so their medieval times food was scant at best.
Peasants’ food was pretty basic and devoid of some important nutrients. Dark breads that didn’t require milled flour were common. So too was basic meat fare such as pig when it came to medieval times food for the poor. Some vegetables were available, such as cabbage, as were gathered berries and nuts in season.
The availability of spices depended a lot upon a person’s station, their geographic location and the time of year as well. Nobles with access to imports, for example, could get their hands on such spices as pepper, saffron and more. The peasant classes had less access to spices for their medieval times food.
When it came to meats, medieval times food was definitely more well rounded for the wealthy class. Nobility could access a variety that included pork, chicken, rabbit, venison, lamb, fish, eel and more. Hunting of certain animals, such as deer, often was off limits to the peasant class, quite restricting their ability to mix up their food offerings.
For the privileged class, medieval times food also included a nice bounty of dairy products when possible. Milk, cheese and more was available as was butter and other refined products.
Without benefit of a Whirlpool to cook upon, medieval times food was often prepared over open flames in a hearth. Cooking took great care to perfect as did baking. The family hearth for the peasant class served not only to make food, but also to heat a home. These open hearths, however, came with their dangers in small peasant homes. They were known to create problems for breathing and they were a hazard with small children about.
The wealthy class also had its medieval food prepared over open flames. They, however, often had separate kitchens for the task and skilled cooks to assist in the preparations.
Despite some obvious medieval times food limitations, not all food was bland. There were sweet cakes, rich desserts and lots of honey treats to tempt finicky eaters in medieval times.