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Medieval Cuisine

Medieval cuisine takes into account eating habits, foods and cooking methods embraced by different cultures of the European world in the Middle Ages period that roughly began from the 5th century to the 15th century. Within this time period, coking and diets changed less all over the Europe than the cases was during the shorter early contemporary time that came later while those change became influential in laying the foundations for the contemporary European cuisine. During this time cereals continued to be the most useful staples throughout the start of the Middle Ages. Rice was later introduced to the Europe world along with the potato that became known in the region in 1536 though it did not find immediate use there and then. Its widespread use came much later.

Foods such as rye, oat and barley were among the poor while wheat was meant for the governing clique and was taken as gruel bread pasta and porridge by all people in the society. Vegetables and Fava beans were very significant supplements to the diet based on cereals especially of the lower orders. The common beans today, initially known as “Phaseolus beans” came from the New World and were introduced following the Columbian Exchange that occurred during the 16th century. Meat was very costly and therefore, a lot more prestigious than the rest of other food. It was only available in game and was found among the nobles. The common butcher meats of the time included chicken, pork together with other domestic fowl. Beef need a lot more investment of the land resource and therefore became a hard thing to come by.

Herring and Cod became the mainstays amongst the populations in the north. They were prepared through drying, smoking and salting. The sources of the fish could be from either freshwater or saltwater. Food transportation was not easy because of the high perishability of some foods. The medieval cuisine was a time of determining what could be fit for consumption by the human race and what was not. This period saw the inclusion of different types of foods that came from various backgrounds. The food for the nobles was influenced by foreign factors more than the cuisine that was meant for the poor. It was dependent on expensive imports and exotic spices. A lot of imitations sprung up and soon, people engaged in trade beyond their borders. Foreign wars also occurred especially starting the twelfth century and onwards.