Various questions strike our minds whenever we talk about the medieval era. We wonder how medieval people used to dress, look or eat. Many movies gave us a clear idea about dresses of the medieval period. No one focused on what they used to eat. Food cooked during the 5th and 15th centuries fascinates people a lot. Depending on their wealth, people used to have different diets.
Walking through medieval cuisine is like being a part of any historical movie. Slide down to learn about medieval foods!
Medieval Times Foods
Peasants were commoners in medieval times. Their diet primarily consisted of barley. They used to cook different dishes, such as dark bread, pancakes, soups, porridge, coarse etc. During the short grain supply, they used to include beans, peas, and acorns in their diet. Mostly, they used to have their gardens filled with cabbage, onions, carrots and garlic, which they used to add flavour to their dishes. Additionally, rosemary, parsley, basil, and chives were used to add flavour to their foods. On special occasions, dishes with cheese and mushrooms were cooked.
Peasants also used to eat pottage, a stew made from oats a lot. Leek pottage was the most popular one, which included freshly grown crops. Most people used to preserve food and have it as a pickle. The meat of deer, boar, hares, rabbits, and pigs was also an important part of their diet as it was easily available by hunting.
The diet of wealthy people during medieval times was very different from peasants. They used to have freshly killed meat, river fish, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Additionally, they used to eat dried fruits, which were not easily available to peasants.
Medieval food that was considered a symbol of wealth was cooked meals. The meal cooked above the grill and stews were popular among wealthy people. They used to include different valuable spices, like ginger, pepper, caraway, cardamom, and nutmeg. Their gardeners used to grow fresh herbs that were used in cooking and medical herbs. Among medieval wealthy people, spicy sauces were extremely popular.
What Food Do They Serve At Medieval Times?
- Cereals: Cereals were very popular between c. 500 and 1300. Intense agriculture was seen during this time, and people started shifting from animal products to grains. Even bread became common to lower classes in the 14th century. And by the 15th century, bread became an initial part of the meal. Mostly, they preferred barley, rye and oats to cook bread. Other cereals commonly eaten during the medieval era were buckwheat, millet, and rice.
- Fruit: Fruits were very popular during the medieval era and were eaten fresh, dried, and preserved. They were also used as sweeteners, as sugar and honey were expensive then. Southern people loved lemons, citrons, bitter oranges, grapes, and pomegranates; northern people used to love strawberries, apples, plums, and pears. Fugs and dates were popular in entire Europe.
- Vegetables: Vegetables, like cabbages, onions, garlic, and carrots, were used in most medieval meals. Most cookbooks written during the middle ages also included these vegetables in most dishes. They were used in potages to add missing vitamins and nutrition to them. Many modern European dishes include potatoes, tomatoes, and chilli peppers.
- Fish and Seafood: Another food item famous during the medieval time was seafood and fish. They were the alternative to meat and were easily available in coastal areas. People used to go fishing and trade them in the market. Some used to eat them every day. The most common types of seafood loved by medieval people were oysters, mussels, freshwater crayfish, and scallops.
In medieval times food recipes were meant to be cooked directly on the fire. As kitchen stoves didn’t appear until the 18th century, people used to cook food directly over an open fire. Wealthy people also used ovens, but commoners were unable to afford them. Some people used to own small portable ovens that used to solve the purpose of bakery ovens.
Stews and portages were very common during medieval times. They used to include high-fat content and nutrition. Fruits, meat, fish, and eggs were also eaten a lot. They used to be part of most sweet dishes. In some pies, vegetables were also added to enhance their flavour. Factor workers could grab the pies, eat them on the way to work, and get all the energy.
We found some common things in medieval Europe, like houses, dresses, drinks and food. These were some essentials to survive. Talking about food has always been a central requirement for humans. During the medieval era, food consumption was different from now. We hope you enjoyed reading about medieval food and have found similarities and differences with the food you eat.
If you liked reading about Medieval Foods, you should definitely check our article on The Knights Of The Round Table !!