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Discover medieval cuisine (part 1)

During the Weekend of the Night of the Castles 2021, we decided to show what people ate in the Middle Ages and how they cooked.

What do we eat?

Let's start with what was not eaten: potatoes (no chips, no mash!!), tomatoes, courgettes, corn, turkey (an animal also from America), exotic fruits and also chocolate (alas!) and coffee. Rice was known but not popular, just as Jerusalem artichokes are today (known but not very popular). Of course, the way people ate differed between noblemen and peasants. The richest had access to a large number of foods from far away places, especially spices. Because of the gabelle tax, salt was very expensive; aromatic herbs were used. As for pepper, it was initially reserved for the nobility, but later became quite accessible to everyone.

Meat and fish

Pork is mainly consumed in all its forms: pâtés, hams, sausages, etc. You know the saying: "everything is good in the pig". Large game (wild boar, deer) cooked on a spit is reserved for the big pockets, as well as large birds (swan, peacock) which could be served feathered. The most modest tables were satisfied with rabbits, hares, pigeons, partridges and small birds, often boiled to tenderise their flesh or cooked in sauces.

Other meats (cow, chicken, sheep) were not very popular, and people preferred to keep these animals alive to enjoy their milk, eggs and wool. Fish was an important part of the diet, especially as it was forbidden to eat meat, eggs and dairy products on the lean days, more than 150 days a year!

Read more in the post "Discover medieval cuisine (part 2)"

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