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  • 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.

  • Meals Were Sweetened With Jellies And Candied Fruits on Random Dinner At A Glorious Medieval Feast

    (#10) Meals Were Sweetened With Jellies And Candied Fruits

    A dessert course as we know it wouldn’t have been common at a medieval banquet; meats, cheeses, and fish were often served alongside sweets, for instance. However, candied confections appeared sprinkled throughout feasts. Fruits were a common treat for noble diners, especially pears, and were served covered in honey or sugar by the late Middle Ages. Sweet pottages decorated with flower petals were often served, but the jewel-colored jellies truly won the hearts of guests.

    There are records of fantastical jellies molded in the shapes of animals and castles, and rosewater-flavored delicacies at the garter feast of Henry VIII. This type of aspic was made from the rendering of animal bones and cartilage, and was often set with crayfish, eggs, and other savory bits. Setting the multicolored jellies in a checkerboard pattern was a favorite technique of chefs.

  • The More Spice, The Better on Random Dinner At A Glorious Medieval Feast

    (#5) The More Spice, The Better

    When it came to fine dining in the Middle Ages, nothing was a more ostentatious show of privilege and wealth than the amount of spices used when cooking. Because of the great lengths it took to import highly sought spices like saffron, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves from the Middle East and Asia, only the extremely rich could afford to cook with rich flavors in mind. For instance, a pound of saffron cost as much as a horse. During banquets at the homes of the well-off, a spice plate was passed around so the guests might sample the rare and exciting flavors.

    Salt was among the most prized of seasonings, and was even kept locked away by the master or mistress of the house. The phrase "below the salt" (meaning of low status) comes from the table settings at medieval banquets; lords and their families were seated with access to salt while they dined, while guests of less import and servants were seated below it. 

  • 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.

  • Elaborate Sculptures 'Warned' Guests Between Courses on Random Dinner At A Glorious Medieval Feast

    (#1) Elaborate Sculptures 'Warned' Guests Between Courses

    Before the meal, guests could expect a dazzling array of (usually) edible sculptures crafted from sugar and other delicate materials like marzipan or pastry. These were referred to as "warners," because their arrival would warn diners that their feast was soon to arrive. These magnificent displays, or "subtleties" as they were called, were meant to be more of an entertainment than anything else. Often, servants paraded a new subtlety out at the end of each course to signify its completion. They came in the form of rare birds, exotic animals, coats of arms, or even famous people, and were usually accompanied by a poem, song, brief play, or recitation.

    During Henry V's coronation feast, the subtleties included more than 20 swans clasping lines of a poem in their bills. Other wild examples included scenes of pilgrims and knights - the "pilgrim" made from pike meat with a lamprey staff, the "knight" a rooster decorated with a paper helmet and placed atop a cooked piglet as its steed.

  • Peacocks Graced The Table on Random Dinner At A Glorious Medieval Feast

    (#2) Peacocks Graced The Table

    What better way to boast of your wealth than to serve up the flashiest fowl you can find? Peacocks - cooked and served with their lovely plumages reattached - created quite a stir at the tables in the Middle Ages. The birds' skin and feathers were removed and the meat was cooked. Afterward, a layer of spices was added, and the skin and feathers were wrapped back on. Gold leaf or other decorations may have been added at this point.

    Nobles enjoyed offering all variety of beautiful birds, including herons, swans, pheasants, and cranes, saying their meat was "more suitable to the tables of kings and princes than the lowly and men of little property."

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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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