Medieval Food

Medieval Times: How Did They Eat?

Has it ever crossed your mind how those in medieval times possibly found food for themselves? Given the fact that there were no super stores, super markets, or gas stations on every corner back then, this is not at all an uncommon question to ask one's self. It is widely believed and accepted that during the medieval period, there were plenty of meals, if not all of them, that consisted of a variety of slop and various roasted meats from whatever animal was hunted most recently. This view seems to be changing by the day in the realm of history.

The recent wide variety of thought concerning what was eaten by those in medieval times now believes that the things that were eaten on an everyday basis then are those things that could be easily recognized and enjoyed today. Unlike what might be portrayed in the world of Hollywood, manners were key in these times, so there were not many people who ate grease and wiped their hands on the dogs fur. This is just something that was created in the movies for pure entertainment. It can be noted that the meals enjoyed in medieval times can give any modern supermarket a run for its money.

Some of the common foods that were staple products of the medieval diets are vultures, starlings. herons, gulls, chicken, dogfish, cod, whale, salmon, oysters, eels, and sardines. That was quite a variety of meats there. Some of the vegetables were onions, garlic, carrots, peas, fava beans, and turnips. It should be of important note here to mention that crops were only eaten by masses when there were harvests of plenty as they were called. This meant that during medieval times, when there was not a enough food going around, even though the peasants may grow and nurture the food, only the upper class would get what was available and the peasants were left to fend for themselves, often starving.

To further elaborate on the above annotation, the medieval diet was all dependent upon seasonal influences so to speak. This would often translate into winter seasons being times of tragic scarcity of goods. Wild animals would be difficult to locate during these times, and if one was not careful when portioning off the goods in October or November, there would not be enough rations to last until the next harvest. Also, due to heavy religious influences of the time, fish were eaten "religiously" on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays as these days were brought down from the church as no meat days.

There are some interesting facts to be noted about medieval times and the diets of such. For example, it was widely thought and proven that eating onions would avert baldness in men during this time which would explain the popularity of such foods. It was also studied and proven through a university in Venice, Italy at the time that high tempered men should avoid eating spicy foods and more lethargic men should increase the amount of this type of food within their diet. This things do not sound a whole lot different than what we know today in our diets.

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