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  • Medieval Nobles Loved Their Honeyed Mead And Hippocras on Random Dinner At A Glorious Medieval Feast

    (#7) Medieval Nobles Loved Their Honeyed Mead And Hippocras

    While the idea that people in the Middle Ages were plastered all the time because they avoided water isn't as true as some might think, alcoholic beverages were a mainstay at the tables of nobility. An ale that would be weak compared to modern-day beers might be served with every meal, including breakfast. Wine was the most commonly enjoyed beverage among the upper classes; jugs filled with it were a familiar part of every table setting.

    However, even more exciting and delicious beverages tempted the members of the elite. For many centuries, honey was one of the only means available to sweeten food in parts of Europe. This made mead, a drink made from fermented honey and water, a delight for the medieval elite. Mead was sometimes flavored with spices and fruits and was considered a favorite drink of warriors and nobles alike. In addition to mead, the upper classes loved the spiced wine known as hippocras. This sweetened beverage was considered "gallant" and contained rich spices like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. It was said that hippocras not only worked as an effective medicine, but also as an aphrodisiac.

  • The Seasons Determined The Menu on Random Dinner At A Glorious Medieval Feast

    (#11) The Seasons Determined The Menu

    Seasonal foods were more than just a novelty in the Middle Ages - they were thought to be deeply linked to one's health and wellbeing. The medieval foodie would have been very careful to eat within the annual boundaries. Physicians wrote handbooks about "seasonally appropriate foodstuffs" that recommended certain diets based on the temperature and humidity.

    For example, in spring, it was prudent to avoid foods that were likely to make one too warm, so goat's milk, lettuce, fat quail, eggs, and partridge were on the menu. In summer, it was advised to consume foods that would help the body against the heat and lack of rain, so people often ate apple, pomegranates, cucumbers, and veal or kid goat cooked in vinegar. Birds prepared in saffron, wine-sweetened figs, and fattened mutton were ideal for autumn's "melancholic" season of cool dryness. Lastly, in winter, it was thought best to make one's meal of rich wine and roast game meat and hens, spiced heavily with pepper to guard against the cold.

  • Their Plates Were Literally Bread on Random Dinner At A Glorious Medieval Feast

    (#9) Their Plates Were Literally Bread

    Two imperative modern pieces of tableware might not be present at a medieval foodie's table: the fork and the plate. Anything not edible with a spoon would be placed upon a piece of dry, coarse bread called a "trencher" and eaten by hand. They were generally about three days old and very hard and stale.

    In lower-class households, folks might not have had trenchers at all; they would simply eat their food straight off of the table itself. For the upper crust, however, the various sauces and juices of the meats would soak into the hollowed-out bread throughout the meal. While it was acceptable to eat the trencher after the meal had come to a close, most chose to give their soggy leftovers to the servants or the poor as alms.

  • Rich Pottage Stew Was A Mainstay on Random Dinner At A Glorious Medieval Feast

    (#4) Rich Pottage Stew Was A Mainstay

    Pottage was a staple of medieval cuisine, and appeared at nearly every banquet. This hearty stew often showed up around the first course of a feast. The mixture was a hodge-podge of grains, bits of meat, egg yolks, and seasonal vegetables like cabbage or spinach.

    Chefs would boil the pottage for hours until all the ingredients became as one. It was usually served with ale, wine, and bread, with the finest loaves being reserved for the elites. This stew mainly acted as an appetizer for the rich gourmands of the Middle Ages.

  • They Were Surprisingly Health-Conscious on Random Dinner At A Glorious Medieval Feast

    (#14) They Were Surprisingly Health-Conscious

    Even though most of what folks in the Middle Ages believed about wellness was false, that didn't stop the elite from being obsessed with their health and diet. It was believed that the human body contained four "humors" (blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile) that needed to be kept in balance through proper behavior and eating practices.

    A huge part of keeping the balance between these fluids would be to consume the right foods in the right order - a practice to which nobles adhered religiously. All foods were categorized as having a certain level of heat or moistness. In the Middle Ages, physicians believed the process of digestion was similar to that of cooking.

    Because of this, foods were meant to be consumed in a particular order so that they could be absorbed "correctly." Banquets began with a food that would "open" the stomach - one that was hot and dry in nature, something spicy or sweet. Lighter foods, such as porridges and lettuce, were eaten next in order to create a buffer for the heavier meats and fruits like pork, beef, pears, and nuts. If the heavier foods were consumed prior to the lighter ones, it was feared they may block up the digestive tract and throw the humors out of balance. Lastly, a food like goat cheese, hippocras, or lumps of spiced sugar would "close" the stomach and finish off the meal.

  • Live Animals Were Deployed As Pranks on Random Dinner At A Glorious Medieval Feast

    (#12) Live Animals Were Deployed As Pranks

    Medieval chefs got completely out of hand when trying to one-up each other with the spectacles they could create with food. Oftentimes, this involved posing a full cow or deer in a staggering display at a dinner party. It could also mean cooks inventing mythical animals to lay before the guests, such as the cockagrys (you might know it as a cockatrice) by stitching together the hindquarters of a piglet to the top half of a fowl. Some went so far as to use cotton and alcohol to produce the illusion that a boar's head or fish breathed fire before the guests.

    The children's nursery rhyme "Sing a Song of Sixpence" likely gets its "Four and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie" line from a disturbing medieval trend of using animals to surprise dinner guests. One of these might have involved literally encasing birds inside of a pie crust. The prank would reach its payoff when someone tried to cut into the pastry and the birds swooped out. Dishes such as colored, living lobsters mixed in with cooked ones, or a squirming dish of eels, were intended to shock people. Another trick involved plucking a live chicken in hot water, covering it in glaze to make it appear cooked, and putting it to sleep. The unlucky creature was placed among a number of roasted chickens. When a guest would attempt to carve it, it would spring awake and run off across the table, upsetting dishes and goblets.

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The feasts of the Middle Ages is similar to the modern dinner party in some ways. They light up candles, then serve soup and salad, then taste better food, and desserts. The more formal or special occasion, the more luxurious. Medieval nobles were obsessed with exotic delicacies, such as the swans at Henry VIII's dinner. It should be known that guests are also subject to various etiquette rules in the medieval feast.

Do you dream you could travel back to Medieval time? There are some details about the glorious medieval feast, you could check the generator if you are interested in. Welcome to search for others that you like with the tool.

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