Sunday night rewind

This entry was first posted on Thurs 11th February 2010, which isn't that long ago I know, but if you're a new reader here since then I thought I'd set the scene before I drop another medieval dinner on you later this week! I'd also love to know what you know…

what do you know

By the time you get here, mid thirties, and maybe you've travelled around a bit and met lots of people (I love people), you realise that everyone's got something they know about. 

I've met people that know lots of stuff about science (my brother in law Owen). Some that know about coffee (Adam). Or cows (Hi Dad.) There are people that could tell you everything about Mussolini (my good friend Kevin), or musical theatre (my sister Naomi) or, I don't know, I could go on. Everyone you meet knows something

What do I know about? Not much really. But I do know a little bit about food. Actually: medieval food.

Unfortunately (and frankly, intensely surprisingly), it doesn't deeply fascinate everyone else in the world the way it fascinates me. 

I wrote an undergraduate honours thesis on the food supply arrangements of the First Crusade. (And KLUNK, that's the sound of the first sleeping head hitting the table). 

I began a PhD on the logistics of feeding the armies across the crusading period (1096 – 1292) (KLUNK, KLUNK). I'll go back to it one day. 

So, medieval food. 

Wanna eat some?


I have, on occasion, invited people for dinner and served them an entire medieval meal made from authentic fourteenth century recipes. No forks, of course. A trencher (board) shared between two, served in courses accompanied by hippocras. FUN. Really. 

So I thought I'd make you some of my favourite medieval food. Some of the flavours and spice combinations are a bit odd, or should I say, unfamiliar. But in principle, medieval food is simple, wholesome and seasonal. Very modern really. 

Please, stay tuned. I'll be right back with my jumbles. And dariole (custard tart). And roast shoulder of lamb with pancetta which either comes from Le Ménagier de Paris (my favourite) or Tractatus de modo preparandi et condiendi omnia cibaria (tee hee! sorry). 

This'll be fun, I promise. 

While we're cooking, please, tell me what you know about! Hello? Please wake up?



12 Comments on “Sunday night rewind

October 9, 2011 at 9:43 pm

I can happily attest to the fact that medieval food, the cooking of and consuming is all good fun and pretty damn tasty!!!!

October 9, 2011 at 9:52 pm

OMG! You mean – people actually ate in Medieval times? 😀 They cooked?
(I mean, of course I knew that but I had never ever thought about what they must have eaten and how they could possibly feed armies on crusades. I find that EXTREMELY fascinating and interesting, and I sure hope you’re gonna get to that PhD sooner rather than later).
So you gather from my comment that I am the target audience, the newcommer to your blog, and boy, am I happy I joined!

The thing I know about… That’s hard. I’m a good translator, so I know a lot about that – namely, about translating English language movies into Latvian. Ha ha, boring, never made a good topic at a dinner table. People basically say “So you see all the new movies”, and I basically reply “Not really, they are either not so new or I don’t see much of them, being preoccupied with how to translate “come on, come on, come on, come on” or “are you alright” for the thousandth time during one movie”. Having said that, I love my job, and no wonder that’s the thing I know most about.

Elaine in KY
October 10, 2011 at 12:11 am

I LOVE your sense of humor, and look forward to your post about medieval cooking. I found you through Down to Earth which I love, too 🙂

Melanie @ M&M
October 10, 2011 at 9:14 am

I was a history major in college (European w/an emphasis on Russia). In one class, Renaissance and Reformation, we were given the option of doing a project instead of writing a paper. I cooked and fed the entire class a meal! I thought you might enjoy the menu (keep in mind I had to represent several countries in each course):
1st course — fresh grapes, Neapolitan Spice Cake, Spanish olives, and wassail

2nd course — Roast Capon in Fruit Sauce, Watercress soup, Pain Mallet, and depense

3rd course — Salade de Legumes; Boiled potatoes with scallions and parsnips, Kicheris, vermicelli with parmesan

4th course — Jumbals (like shortbread), pear tarts, and Brie cheese(Eustache Deschamps said this cheese was the only good thing to come from Brie.)

Now don’t you feel better having that information? LOL!

Thanks so much for sharing your food secret!

October 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Wassail!! You just made my day Melanie. I hungrily read through this list! Thank you xx

knutty knitter
October 10, 2011 at 3:59 pm

I did a paper on the nutritional value of the potato to the Irish in the 18th century. Does that count? (part of my second and unfinished degree in Anthropology) I did a music degree, then a fine arts thingy, was a potter for 10 years and now do fibre arts (which I always did anyhow even when I was supposed to be potting 🙂 Things I am not interested in are few and far between.

Medieval recipes sound…..interesting!

viv in nz

October 10, 2011 at 7:08 pm

You know what? Books that have stories interspersed with recipes are my favourite kind of books. You could totally write one on this topic! It’d be awesome!

October 10, 2011 at 8:52 pm

A story interspersed with recipes. Now THAT is a damn fine idea…. Thanks!! xx

Melanie @ M&M
October 11, 2011 at 12:01 am

Have you read “Eat Cake” by Jeanne Ray? Lovely read and oh the recipes!

October 11, 2011 at 4:55 am

I’m another new reader via Down to Earth.

I love domestic history, and the history of food in particular. I’m a (rather part time) Tudor re-enactor, so that’s probably my ‘best’ period, but I’ll read about anything from Roman to WW2! (I have the distinction of being the only parent at my school to have helped my children’s classes make Tudor mince pies, Viking bread and butter, a Roman lunch…)

October 11, 2011 at 6:08 am

I have learned so much about cooking and providing meals for my family by reading old, even antiquated, cookbooks. I felt a tingle all over when I began reading your post today. I can’t wait for more.

[you see, there are more of us out there than you think… you may be considered “odd” but you’re in good company]

October 11, 2011 at 8:54 am

Oooh! Going on my Amazon wishlist. A reader suggested The dirty life, Kristin Kimball recently, I read it, it was the best book Ive read all year.


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