Medieval Cuisine

Medieval cuisine refers to different types of dishes and cooking techniques used during the Middle Age. During that time, cereals were considered the most important staples alongside bread, pasta and porridge. However, there was a huge difference between the diet of a nobleman and that of an ordinary man. This difference was distinct in the diet of people as one moved further down the social scale. For example, meat and fish were a part of the diet of the rich while dairy products like cheese and curd were a part of the diet of the poor.

Bread on the other hand was eaten by everyone alike, although the cost and quality of bread differed. Hence people bought the supplement based on their own social standing and social backgrounds. Moreover, an important thing to note here is that most of the people during the Middle age had to produce their own food. Even the fruits and vegetables were cooked, as the general perception among people was that raw food would spread disease. Fresh herbs were produced in private gardens to be used both for medical or cooking purposes. Moreover, the medieval cuisine was not divided into desserts and main courses as it is today; instead, all the food was laid on the table collectively to be consumed by the family.

The Evolution Of Medieval Cuisine

The crusaders had a huge impact on medieval cuisine. During their travel they learned new cooking techniques and items and introduced different types of spices in the recipes. These spices included turmeric, mustard, ginger, coriander, anise, cloves, mace, cinnamon, saffron and pepper etc. The introduction of these spices in food was considered as a sign of status and hence the rich people in the society used them in their food to show off their wealth and status. These items were brought from different regions and were extremely expensive and exotic. Hence, the use of spices and meat in a household spoke volumes of their wealthy status.

Religion also had a huge impact on the eating habits of the medieval people. Christians were not allowed to consume meat for a major part of the year. Moreover, consumption of other dairy products that was a part of the diet of the poor was forbidden during fasting. In this way, Christians had to observe various traditions in which they had to change their eating styles.

Hence, in the 21st century the concept of the cuisine has altered immensely, but still exists in some small ways.


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