I believe that there’s an inner ‘Foodie’ in most of us, and in reality, food is linked to survival, a basic instinct. Personally I’m really happy to see that nowadays food is starting to regain the rightful and honoured place it deserves in our lives. It’s as much about giving our bodies required nourishment (and let’s not undervalue that) as being a secret ingredient in our social lives enabling us to communicate and connect.
If you have ever visited European countires, particularly Spain, Italy, Greece, and elsewhere, we see openly how food is loudly lauded in the home and community. And in our own lives, we all know TV cooking shows and celebrity chefs; we have food festivals and gastronomic holidays, we are award of the role food plays in our health, we learn about slow food and organic food and as conscientious parents we try to make more time in our lives to give home-cooked food to our children. So, I think it would be neglectful if we didn’t address the question about how our ancestors ate in the Medieval era of 600AD – 1600AD. What did they eat? and how did they cook and …….I wonder what it tasted like?
Good news! For those attending the Medieval Banquets, you will have a fantastic opportunity to experience medieval food at it’s best. The authenticity of the food available at the medieval banquet, right down to the medieval etiquette on show, is indisputable and the ingredients and dishes on the menu are exactly as they would have been in that era. You may be surprised to hear that basic staples of our daily diet today, such as potatoes and tomatoes had not yet reached Europe, so you can search but you won’t find them on the menu!
And outside of the noble classes, for a lot of people in the middle ages, having food meant survival. And sadly, sometimes, people just didn’t. A staple diet of the lower classes was ‘The Ploughman’s Lunch’, so it proves to us that a good dish lasts. Meat was not available for many of the lower classes, untill ironically after the ‘Black Death’, which wiped out a third of the world’s population around about the 13C.
So, over the next few blog posts, I’m going to stay on the subject of food, so that you our readers can have a little ‘taste’ of what was available during the Middle Ages, and surprisingly is still available now. This will be another opportunity for you to experience an additional dimension of preservation, which is at the heart of the Abbey Museum, in more ways than one!
Till next time.