Medieval Food and Cooking
“Mom made bitter gourd today for dinner. I don’t like that vegetable at all. I wonder what people used to eat,” Rohan said to his friend Sir Dig-A-Lot.
Sir Dig-A-Lot said, “I can tell you what people used to eat in medieval times. Are you interested?”
Rohan jumped and said, “Certainly!”
Sir Dig-A-Lot began, “In the middle ages, at first, only the rich and the nobles could afford to eat poultry and meat like chicken, pork and mutton. The poor had to be satisfied by eating homegrown food.
The Norman conquest changed that. The Normans were influenced by French and Scandinavian food. The French and Scandinavians were more sophisticated than the English and they were known to document their recipes.”
“The French came out with the first recipe book in the year 1306, ‘The Little Treatise.’ The first cookery book in English was written in 1390, which had over 200 recipes. Most of the recipes were contributed by the royal cooks. India introduced the world to many spices.”
“So what we eat now, is a development of what was eaten before?” asked Rohan.
“Yes, Rohan. Haven’t you tasted the food your mother makes with recipes passed on to her by her grandmother?” asked Sir Dig-A-Lot.
“Yes, and I love them. But I also love the modern techniques of cooking that my mother uses,” said Rohan.
Sir Dig-A-Lot laughed and tucked Rohan into bed. He promised to return with a new lesson the next night.
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