Food culture in the Middle Ages

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Banquet at the court of the French King Charles V (center) in 1378 in Paris. The guests are Emperor Charles IV and his son Wenzel . Each participant of the banquet has two knives, a salt container, napkin, bread and a plate. Book illustration by Jean Fouquet , mid-15th century.

The food culture in the Middle Ages describes the eating habits that were characteristic of Europe from around the 5th century to the end of the 15th century. Significant change took place during this period. Technical improvements of the mills and wine press , the medieval warm period in the transition phase from the early to the high Middle Ages , the increasing spread of the three-field economy , the cultural exchange with the Orient through the crusade movement , an increasingly better infrastructure and the intensification of long-distance trade broadened and improved by the 14th Century the food supply and changed the eating habits. Nevertheless, shortages and severe famines were a recurring experience. The plague that ravaged Europe from the mid-14th century also caused a change in eating habits . The epidemic Europe-wide population losses amounted to up to 30 percent regionally. The process of devastation as a result of the medieval Great Plague resulted in the areas previously used as arable land being converted into pastureland , which in turn resulted in increased livestock breeding and, as a result, meat consumption.

Grain porridge and groats were part of the staple food in all classes throughout the Middle Ages. In the 10th century bread was not an everyday food even in elegant monasteries, while in the 13th century it was eaten daily by poorer sections of the population. A similar development took place in wine. Game played only a minor role in the medieval diet. Domestic pigs and chickens were the main sources of meat. Dried cod and salted herring were among the foods traded across Europe from the 10th century, and a wide variety of different species of fresh and saltwater fish were also eaten. The most frequently used condiments included verjuice , wine and vinegar . Together with the widespread use of honey, these gave many dishes a sweet and sour taste. Pepper , nutmeg , saffron, and other imported spices were traded in small quantities and used mostly in wealthy households. Extensive collections of recipes that have been preserved suggest that there was a significant advancement in cooking skills in the late Middle Ages. New preparations such as shortcrust cake and methods such as clarifying broths with egg whites first appeared in recipes of the late 14th century. Recipes that in the Middle Ages and beyond were not only aimed at satiety and taste, but were also used (for example with the targeted use of medicinal plants ) for the prevention and treatment of diseases, increasingly contained instructions on how to prepare them and were no longer a simple list of ingredients .

In the early Middle Ages, a social differentiation of eating habits consisted primarily in the amount of food consumed and less in its quality. In the course of the Middle Ages, the conventions around eating and drinking increasingly marked the social barriers. In many cities, for example, rules laid down what food servants , journeymen , masters and traders were entitled to. The meat dishes consumed by the urban middle and upper class were also much more elaborate and refined to prepare. In order to record this social dimension of eating habits, a distinction is sometimes made between a food culture of the nobility , clergy and urban and rural populations. This distinction is problematic because the transitions between these layers were fluid. For the nutritional habits of an individual medieval person, their individual prosperity and the integration of their place of residence into long-distance trade were more decisive than assigning them to one of these four groups.

Today's knowledge of medieval food culture comes to a large extent from written sources such as tax regulations , customs roles , reports of coronation and guild celebrations , philosophical writings and, for the end of the Middle Ages, increasingly from cookbooks . These sources are often incomplete and one-sided because they overweight specific events and the lifestyle of the upper class. The excavations of medieval settlements , which give a more complete and often different picture than the written sources, are therefore important additions .

Arable farming in the Middle Ages, monthly picture March from the Duke of Berry's book of hours , early 15th century


Hunting in the Middle Ages, picture of the month December from the Duke of Berry's book of hours , early 15th century

The eating habits of the Middle Ages have their roots equally in Greco-Roman culture and that of the Germanic-Celtic peoples of Northern and Central Europe . Cultivation methods, economic conditions and values ​​of these cultures differed considerably. In the Greco-Roman culture, agriculture had developed over time in which wheat , barley , wine , figs and olives were the main crops. In addition, fruit and vegetable growing played a certain role. Sheep and goats were kept mainly for their wool and milk . The diet was predominantly vegetarian and was supplemented with little meat and especially cheese . The hunting played only a minor role. The Celtic and Germanic peoples also grew oats and barley on small areas, but a large part of their food came from hunting and fishing . Pigs , horses and cattle were kept free-range in forests . Accordingly, meat, milk and cheese dominated their diet. In contrast to the Greco-Roman cuisine, oil was not used in cooking , but mainly butter and bacon . Even if the Germans who settled on the Rhine occasionally bought wine in the 2nd century, the typical drink was Cervisia , a dark beer brewed without the use of hops.

The Romans had already introduced their cultivated plants and cultivation methods to the areas they had conquered north of the Alps and along the Rhine during the time of the Roman Empire . However, the spread of Christianity had a much stronger influence on the change and development of the food culture of the Middle Ages . The Christian authors of the 4th and 5th centuries attached considerable symbolic importance to bread, wine and oil . In a sermon Augustine compared the making of bread to the emergence of new Christianity. Wine played a major role in the Eucharist . The spread of the Christian faith accordingly favored the spread of a diet that was influenced by Greco-Roman. Where monasteries were founded, gardens were created with plants that the Romans already knew as vegetables and medicinal plants , and wine and wheat were grown. Even in Cork , Ireland , there were extensive vineyards due to the influence of the monasteries . Agricultural technologies such as grafting and high-yielding crops spread rapidly through the networked monasteries. Wheat, which was already valued by the Romans and used to bake light-colored wheat bread, was still the most sought-after cereal in Europe, even if the robust and resilient rye remained the most commonly cultivated type of cereal in Europe until the 11th century . However, after the fall of the Roman Empire, wheat cultivation also declined in the Mediterranean region and the use of forests and pasture management increased. The mediaevalist Massimo Montanari calls the systematic connection of an ever more developing agriculture with the use of uncultivated areas as hunting and pasture areas the defining characteristic of the European economy from the 6th to at least the 10th century.

Hunger and Deficiency in the Middle Ages

Bad harvests , wars , looting , droughts and floods meant that the medieval people repeatedly lacked sufficient food. Such times of emergency occurred regionally and periodically very differently. There were times of famine that hit large parts of Europe, such as the famine between 1043 and 1045 and those of 1195, 1198 and 1225/1226. Some spread over large areas of Europe. In 1302 there was a great lack of food on the Iberian Peninsula and between 1338 and 1340 the Apennine Peninsula was hit by a severe famine. But there were also regionally very limited famines, such as those in Friesland in 1272 and 1273, which went unnoticed in other German countries. Basically, it can be assumed that times of shortage or at least a sharp rise in the price of food after bad harvests were part of the life experience for almost every medieval person. Even an increase in the price of food could lead to hunger: around 80 percent of the income of a middle household in the late Middle Ages was spent on food, which left little room for maneuver to purchase sufficient food even in times of scarcity. Skeletal finds from the early and late Middle Ages accordingly prove nutritional deficiencies. If grain was scarce and expensive, it was stretched with foods as diverse as chestnuts , legumes, acorns and ferns. It is not uncommon for people to move where they believed they could find sufficient food. The historian Ernst Schubert therefore speaks of “hunger mobility” in the early and high Middle Ages and sees it as a factor that favored the crusade movement that was emerging. In the late Middle Ages, the intensified long-distance trade relations and the expansion of agriculture alleviated the consequences of harvest errors. What remained unchanged, however, was that malnutrition and malnutrition in such times of need led to a higher susceptibility to diseases and that children in particular were sometimes considerably impaired in their development.

Ecclesiastical food laws and Lent

Due to the spread of the Christian faith , more and more people across Europe followed the church dietary laws. These dietary laws prohibited the consumption of meat on all fasting days and the consumption of animal products such as milk, cheese and eggs on particularly strict fasting days . The number of fasting days fluctuated regionally and over time. A year often had up to 150 such days. Similar solutions were developed across Europe to deal with these imperatives. To a certain extent, the ecclesiastical dietary laws promoted a homogenization of the European cuisine of the Middle Ages. Stockfish and salted herring were eaten throughout late medieval Europe during Lent. The use of almonds and almond milk as a substitute for milk and eggs can be found in almost all middle-class and aristocratic kitchens of the Middle Ages.

Catch of lampreys . Fish were one of the permitted foods for fasting. Tacuinum sanitatis , 15th century

Believers were not required to limit the number of meals or servings significantly on all fasting days. For example, Louis IX invited . In the 13th century, the monks of a monastery in Sens for a very sumptuous fasting meal: “ We had cherries first, then very white bread, and we were served with plenty of the best wine ... Then we were served young broad beans boiled in milk, Fish and crabs, eel pâtés, cinnamon-sprinkled rice with almond milk, then fried eel in a very good sauce, round bread and quark and finally a lot of fruit, "said one of the participants. Only on the fasting days before Easter were the faithful required to eat only one meal. During this strict fasting period, they were also forbidden from milk, eggs, butter and cheese. It was not until the late Middle Ages that they were able to buy permission to consume dairy products in the pre-Easter period . Children, the elderly, the sick, pilgrims and beggars were exempt from fasting . The strict Lent before Easter was seen by many as a severe test, and numerous traditions tell of attempts to circumvent the rules. Because fish was usually one of the permitted dishes, the term “fish” was sometimes interpreted very generously: Depending on the (regional) interpretation, it included not only whales , mussels and crabs , but also other animal species that were closely tied to water in their way of life such as barnacle goose , puffin, and beaver . However, these interpretations were controversial. Emperor Friedrich II , for example, doubted that the barnacle goose, which appeared on the coast of Northern Europe in autumn, would grow in shells and could therefore be classified as fish. He correctly suspected that the only reason why they are not seen breeding is because their breeding grounds are in a distant area.

Gluttony was considered a sin, and all Christians were called to moderation. The frequent request to hold back at the table is an indication that the commandment to be moderate has not been followed everywhere. In the early medieval aristocratic culture in particular, rich food was, in contrast to Christian ethics, a sign of high social standing . True moderation showed those who held back in the face of an overflowing table. The call of Louis IX. as an exemplary pious person was also based on the fact that, in the midst of the splendor of the French royal court, he kept a strict diet and on Fridays temporarily denied himself fish and fruit. On the other hand, those who only served a meager meal in spite of their affluence exposed themselves to criticism, because the medieval ideal included providing those in need with what was left of the meal. The demand for moderation also influenced the number of meals. The breakfast was regarded as a premature breaking of the nocturnal fasting (see. The English. "Breakfast"), aware of the therefore many members of the clergy and nobility waived. Artisans and farmers , whose daily work began at sunrise, ate their first meal very early in the morning for practical reasons. The elderly, young children, the sick and women were not expected to go without breakfast. The most important meal of the day was usually eaten in the late morning hours; it was more extensive and substantial than the dinner, which fell in the late afternoon hours. Frankfurt councilors of the late Middle Ages, for example, began their meeting at 6 a.m. They were served lunch from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Dinner followed between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Large banquets or late evening meals that consumed a lot of alcohol were considered immoral. The latter, in particular, have been linked to gambling addiction , drunkenness, and lustful behavior.

According to the humoral pathology, pork was considered “cold” and “moist” and was preferably roasted over an open fire. Kitchen illustration, Tacuinum sanitatis , 15th century

Nutrition from a medical point of view

Medieval physicians compared digestion to a process similar to cooking. In order for the food to be properly “cooked” and for the food components to be absorbed by the body, it was important to consume food in a specific order. Foods that are easy to digest should be eaten first, followed by increasingly heavier dishes. If these commandments were not obeyed, it was believed that the heavier dishes would sink to the bottom of the stomach, the digestive tract would become blocked and the stomach would go into putrefaction. The medical advice led to a menu that was only affordable for the wealthy: Before a meal, the stomach should be "opened" by something hot and dry, if possible: It was recommended to eat spice seeds such as caraway , anise and fennel , each with a thin Coat made of honey or sugar were coated. Wine or sweetened milk were also considered suitable. Similarly, the meal should be ended. Spiced sugar or a strongly spiced wine with cheese was recommended here. The actual meal ideally began with easily digestible fruit such as an apple. Then vegetables like cabbage, purslane and easily digestible meats like chicken or kid goat should follow , accompanied by broth. Only then should hard-to-digest meats such as pork and beef follow, accompanied by vegetables and nuts , but also peaches and chestnuts , which were also considered difficult to digest. In view of the recurring food shortages and the physically demanding work, well-nourished people were socially acceptable, even if gluttony was rejected by the church.

Medieval understanding of nutrition was largely based on ancient humoral pathology . Food was classified as “warm” or “cold” and “moist” or “dry”. Experienced cooks were expected to combine the foods in such a way that they balanced and complemented each other. In this way, the body fluids should be kept in harmony: Choleric people were advised not to over-season their foods, because spices were considered hot and dry and thus related to the characteristics of the choleric person. Fish was considered "cold" and "moist" and should therefore be prepared in a manner that was "drying" and "heating". Accordingly, it was fried or baked in the oven. Spices were used for seasoning, which were classified as “hot” and “dry”. Beef was considered “dry” and “hot”. It was therefore mostly cooked. Pig was considered "cold" and "damp"; the preferred cooking method was therefore to roast pork over an open fire. Wherever medieval recipe collections make suggestions for the use of alternative ingredients, they sometimes give more weight to the classification of food in humoral pathology than our present-day sense of taste. For example, one recipe for quince cakes suggests that cabbage could be used as an alternative, and another recipe suggests beets as a substitute for peaches. Ideal foods were considered to be those that were classified as warm and humid - this should most closely match human nature. The individual dishes should be finely chopped or pureed to ensure that the ingredients are well mixed. One dish that ideally fulfilled this requirement was blanc manger , which was eaten by the middle and upper classes in almost all of Europe until well into modern times: chicken breasts were cooked in a mass of crushed almonds together with rice flour, lard and sugar and then cooked Crushed into a paste and mashed.

Food preservation

The methods used by people of the Middle Ages to preserve food were all known since ancient times . The most frequently used and simplest method was drying , i.e. the removal of liquid using heat or wind. Food from legumes to meat can be preserved in this way. In warm regions the food was simply left to dry in the sun, in cold regions the wind and the low humidity were used to dry cod into stockfish , for example . Basements, attics and living rooms were also used to dry food. Ovens were also used for small quantities.

Pickling , salting , souring and smoking were other typical methods with which food was preserved. Each of these methods affected the taste of the food at the same time. Farm households slaughtered a large part of the cattle in the autumn because there was not enough feed to get all the animals through the winter. The meat obtained in this way was smoked and salted. In the winter months, cows gave less milk due to the reduced amount of feed, which was also less fatty than summer milk. To preserve the nutritional value of summer milk, it was made into cheese. Butter was also one of the foods that was obtained during the summer half-year and kept for the winter half-year. To prevent it from going rancid easily, the stored winter butter often contained between five and ten percent salt, which could be rinsed off before the butter was used. Fish were also salted, but like vegetables and eggs, they were also acidified. Another, albeit expensive, method of preservation was cooking food in sugar, honey or fat. The food was then stored in the cooking medium. In wealthy households, this method of preservation played a major role. Household books of the Polish royal court, for example, show the acquisition of 30 legs of ham for preservation in fat . The confit of French cuisine is has maintained the principles of this storage, a court.

Medieval kitchens

Cooking poultry on a skewer. A shallow container under the skewer catches dripping meat juices and fat. Illustration from the Decameron , Flanders, 1432
Kitchen with tiled stove, tripod pots and skewers. Illustration from the Kuchenmaistrey , Augsburg edition of 1505

The equipment in the kitchens was simple everywhere. Most of the cooking was done on a knee-high brick fireplace. Stoves that used the heat of the fire indirectly did not become common until the 18th century. For most of the Middle Ages, even in wealthy households, the open hearth was in the middle of the living room and heated the rooms at the same time. The existence of a chimney is first documented in the year 820 in the monastery of St. Gallen. Together with the chimneys equipped with spark protection , they ensured increasingly better smoke extraction. It was not until the High Middle Ages, however, that the fire ordinances of many cities stipulated that houses had to have a brick fireplace. At the same time, the fireplace that was used for cooking was moved to the wall of the main room.

The kitchen, which is separate from the living area, developed at different times in different regions: In southern Germany, this design began to prevail from 1300; in northern Germany, the rural long house, in which the cooking area was in the living room, was still common in modern times. In wealthy, large households, the kitchen was often in a separate building and was only connected to the main living area by a corridor or an arcade. Smoke, kitchen smells and noise were banished. Ovens were common, but since they were expensive to buy, they were only found in larger households and bakeries. In many medieval communities, the use of an oven was shared so that everyone could bake bread. There were portable ovens that were filled with the food to be placed directly in the embers, and in late medieval cities there were pies - and waffle bakers who wandered the streets with mobile ovens and prepared small dishes. Most medieval people ate meals cooked in a large cauldron over a fire. It was the most efficient way to use the hearth fire. Stews, porridges and soups therefore dominated the medieval menu.

Kitchen utensils such as tripod pots, pans , waffle irons , sieves and graters , as well as roasting grids and rotatable roasting skewers, were usually only found in wealthy households because of their high cost. Roast skewers were available in different sizes and different materials so that everything from quail to ox could be cooked over an open fire. Pots and kettles were usually placed over the fire with the help of swiveling lifting devices and hung on adjustable chains in order to regulate the heat intensity. Many households owned a mortar as a large number of medieval recipes called for ingredients that had to be finely grated or mushy. Medieval healers predominantly took the view that the finer its consistency, the more effectively a body could absorb food.

The number of people employed in a stately kitchen was very high. Taillevent , who was in the service of Charles VI in 1385 . the head of the kitchen supervised 150 employees there alone. Then there were the people who looked after the guests or managed the supplies. Offices as head of the wine being, top official of bread administration chief butler or steward counted at the French court of the 14th century to the highest titles, they have. Federico da Montefeltro , the Duke of Urbino, employed five people among his 500 servants whose only job was to read aloud at meals. The fruitier was responsible for serving fruit; the bread maker made sure that bread and salt were on the table. Preparing at least two meals a day for several hundred people was a logistical challenge. In his cookbook Du fait de cuisine ( On Cooking , published in the 15th century), Chiquart , the Duke of Savoy's chef, gives advice on how to prepare and host a two-day banquet. Among other things, he recommends that the chef in charge have 1000 carts of good, dry firewood and a barn full of coal ready. Despite the large number of staff, there are numerous indications that, despite all the splendor of a medieval feast, the quality of the food often left a lot to be desired: At the first banquet in the new London Guildhall , the dishes were still raw when they were served, and William I. at another feast a half-cooked crane was served by England . Because of the long distances between the kitchen and the dining room, the dishes were usually already cold when they were finally served.

Table manners

Meals were a communal act in which the servants dined in the same room as their masters. This applied to the employees of medieval craft businesses as well as to large noble households. In the 13th century, the English bishop Robert Grosseteste advised the Countess of Lincoln to strictly forbid meals outside the dining room in order to avoid wastage. He also recommended that she make sure that the servants were actually handing out the remains of the meals as alms to those in need, rather than secretly consuming them themselves. The large feasts in the medieval residences were even fully accessible to the public. At the coronation meal of the French king in 1380, the rush of invited guests, servants and poor people was so great that the meals were finally served on horseback because there was no other way to find a way through the crowd.

John of Valois at a great meal. The Duke sits at a high table under a luxurious canopy in front of the fireplace. On the table to the left of the Duke is a golden salt barrel in the shape of a ship; Illustration from Très Riches Heures The Duke of Berry's Book of Hours , ca.1410
Late medieval table manners: a page of the Facta et dicta memorabilia by Valerius Maximus in a manuscript from Flanders made in 1470/1480, the illustration of which illustrates the contrast between debauchery and moderation in table manners. Leipzig, University Library, Ms. Rep. I.11b, Vol. 1, fol. 137v

In the early Middle Ages women were excluded from banquets and feasts; they ate among themselves in the women's quarters. It was not until the time of the Minnekult that their presence at the noble feasts became common. They were always excluded from the Gildemahl . At noble feasts, chairs and benches were only on one side of the table so that the pages could serve from the other side of the table. The seating arrangement was determined by the hierarchy, which also stipulated that the lower ranking had to serve the food to the higher ranking and present him with the best pieces. Few, however, have gone as far as Edward of Woodstock in 1356 , who after his victory in the Battle of Maupertuis not only invited the French King John II, who had been imprisoned by him, to a banquet, but served him personally and kneeling Served food.

Several dishes were served for each course of a noble banquet, but one guest did not eat all of them. Dishes were offered to the highest ranking people first. The people who sat at the ends of the table according to their rank were only served what higher-ranking officials did not consume. Particular moderation was expected of women, so that they often ate their fill in the women's quarters beforehand. Before meals and between courses, miners handed guests flat water bowls and linen towels so that they could wash their hands. Whoever wiped their greasy fingers on their clothes, ate hastily or drank excessively, not only violated morality: Medieval society inferred from behavior at the table to a person's character and status. This can also be found in medieval literature: In Joanot Martorell's novel “ Tirant lo Blanc ” the hermit proves his aristocratic origins through his table etiquette; in Konrad von Würzburg's short story “ Engelhart ” he is chosen as companion who shares the apple with courtly grace. Etiquette such as the “ Themophagia ” or the “ Disciplina clericalis ” of the Spanish court cleric Petrus Alfonsi , both of which appeared in the 12th century, helped to learn correct behavior at the table. Since in the 15th century etiquette like " S'envuivent les contenances de la table " or " Von tisch zucht" warned the Augsburg citizen Clara Hätzlerin that one should not blow one's nose on the tablecloth or reach into the bowl first, it took a while enforced a general code of conduct at the table.

Compared to the noble banquets, guild meals were simpler. Usually only one dish was served with each course; the number of courses depended on the wealth of the guild. For example, at the late medieval guild meal of the wealthy Kramergilde Osnabrück in the late Middle Ages there was successively chicken, jerky meat with pea porridge, beef with mustard, roast, yellow porridge as a dessert and finally cheese with butter. The shoemaker's guild, on the other hand, limited their feast to potthast , roast, cheese and butter.

The courses that were carried from the kitchen into the dining room were mostly served on platters or in large pots. While in poor households you often ate your portion straight from the table, in affluent households slices of old bread or plates made of wood or increasingly pewter served as a base for the individual portions. In principle, however, wealthy households were also poor in dishes until the 14th century. The knives on the bread were also wiped off before they were used to take salt out of the salt jar or to pass the knife on to the person sitting next to them. The slices soaked with fat and gravy were eaten at the end of the meal or distributed to the needy in rich households. The artful carving of individual pieces of meat increasingly took place in the dining room in the course of the Middle Ages and was one of the entertaining parts of the feast. The carver was usually one of the most senior of the men present and demonstrated his sophistication with a dexterous approach. Guests were expected to bring their own knife to finer cut their portion of meat. Only high-ranking guests could expect the host to have a knife ready for them at their place. In contrast, the guest usually found spoons in their place. In very wealthy households they were often elaborately made and occasionally had handles made of rock crystal, ivory or mother-of-pearl.

While forks had been in use in Byzantine culture since at least the 6th century and were widespread by the 10th century, the Western Church contended against them that human fingers were worthy enough to touch God's gifts. Because of its shape, the fork was viewed as the devil's tool and therefore not used. The pagan Normans, who probably got to know the fork in Byzantium, used two-pronged models, as is shown by finds in Birka and Haithabu . The use of forks at the Byzantine court was influenced by a different way of preparing and serving this culture. Food was cut into small pieces and served on many small bowls and plates. The individual diner used a fork that was individually available to him to help himself. It was not until the end of the Middle Ages that forks were no longer a shocking innovation in Central Europe either. However, a use of forks comparable to that of Byzantine culture only became established in European food culture in the early modern period.

Vintage, calendar image September, Duke of Berry's book of hours , 15th century

Individual foods

Individual foods had a regionally different meaning in medieval food culture.

Wine was the most important drink in southern Europe and olive oil was used throughout. Citrus fruits and pomegranates played a major role in the Mediterranean. The use of animal fats was characteristic of the northern parts of Europe. They were supplemented with oils made from poppy seeds , walnuts and hazelnuts as well as linseed and beechnuts . Dried dates and figs were traded on the northern European markets, but they were always used very sparingly in the kitchen.

In the British Isles, in northern France, the area of ​​today's Benelux countries, in northern Germany, Scandinavia and the countries bordering the Baltic Sea, the climate was usually too cool to grow wine or even olives on a large scale . Wine and olive oil could be found in the markets, but they were usually expensive imports reserved for a wealthy class. Excavations of rural settlements from various medieval periods show that the land was not only completely lacking imports from other European regions. The individual rural areas were self-sufficient: there was hardly any exchange even with directly neighboring areas, so that there could be considerable dietary differences in a relatively small area.

Despite these fundamental differences between the cuisines of southern and northern Europe, there are great similarities that go beyond the Europe-wide use of stockfish, salted herring, almonds and almond milk. The historian Maria Dembińska has evaluated, among other things, French, Danish and Polish sources with regard to ingredients and methods of preparation and basically states that the similarities are greater than the differences. The differences mostly result from the different availability of certain ingredients. So were bay leaves and spinach in France easier to buy than in Poland, where they carried Kalmusblätter and good Henry were replaced. Verjus played a bigger role in France than in Poland, where vinegar was preferred. Maria Dembińska therefore argues that the different availability of individual foods is the reason why a region-specific cuisine has developed.


Meat was the most important food in Central Europe until the 16th century. Despite increasing arable farming, meat consumption remained high in the High Middle Ages and in the Late Middle Ages was still over 100 kilograms per capita, but fell further and further in the following centuries and reached the lowest value of an average of 14 kg of meat in the 19th century. Nothing was thrown away during slaughter. Roasting was mainly reserved for the wealthy, cooked meat was a folk food, the lower folk usually had to be content with offal and small parts such as feet, mouth and throat, and this probably not every day, but especially at slaughter time (late autumn) and on festive days.

The hunt for game was still open to everyone at least at the end of the Roman Empire , but archaeological findings in settlement excavations indicate that game played only a minor role in the diet at this time. Wild bones only make up an average of three percent of the leftover food. In Europe, hunting law began to develop from the 8th century at the latest, which increasingly restricted hunting and defined it as a privilege of the nobility. The red deer, along with the wild boar and the roe deer, belonged to the game very early on, whose hunting was only granted to the high nobility as a privilege. Game meat was an indispensable part of the nobility's banquets. In order to have deer meat always available, red deer were sometimes kept in large cages. There were no fewer than 2,000 of these so-called deer parks in medieval England. From the late Middle Ages, however, farmers were at best still able to hunt small game .

The preferred meat supplier of the medieval people was the easy-to-keep pig , which looked very much like the wild boar. Domestic pigs often roamed free in the towns and villages and gathered their food from the rubbish on the streets. Slaughter time for pigs was usually November and December and the meat was preserved by curing, drying and smoking. This meat had to last until at least Easter; the bacon was still being used the following summer.

Beef was consumed significantly less than pork. Raising cattle was more labor-intensive than pigs and correspondingly large pastures were necessary for keeping them; Oxen and cows were more important as draft animals and milk producers than as meat suppliers. However, there were already exceptions at this time. In the area around the Paderborn Imperial Palatinate, it was already possible in the 9th century to slaughter three-year-old cattle that had never been used as work animals. Friesland and Jutland had enough pasture land to specialize in raising cattle. Already in the early Middle Ages these regions exported cattle and from the early 14th century a Europe-wide long-distance trade began, in which, among other things, herds of cattle were driven from Hungary to Strasbourg. Buttstädt in Thuringia developed into one of the most important central German trading locations , with between 16,000 and 20,000 cattle being sold annually. Sheep were kept mainly for their wool. In regions with significant wool production, however, lamb and mutton played a corresponding role in the diet. Horse meat was increasingly subject to a food taboo that varied from region to region . For a long time it was customary in large parts of Europe to slaughter and eat horses that had finished their working lives. In addition, other mammals such as hedgehogs and dormice , which were quite regularly eaten in the Middle Ages, are no longer on the European menu .

The bird species that were found on medieval boards included chickens , geese and ducks, as well as swans , peacocks , herons , quails , cranes , storks , larks , thrushes , ortolans and almost every other species of bird that could be caught. Chicken was the most affordable meat for the poorer population. Even in the medieval cookbooks, written more for the wealthy upper class, dishes made with chicken are the most common. Swans, herons and peacocks were commonly as prestigious show dishes served: Carefully skinned, the meat was cooked and then served in the plumage as the highlight of the banquet. The beak of slaughtered peacocks was occasionally gilded and wool soaked in flammable liquid was inserted into it. Shortly before the peacock was carried into the dining hall, the wool was lit so that the bird was served apparently fire-breathing. The numbers of such birds served at a banquet were sometimes very large. When George Neville was introduced to the office of Archbishop of York in September 1465 , he used the celebrations as a demonstration of power and wealth by having no less than 400 swans, 104 peacocks and 1000 herons alongside oxen, sheep, pigs and numerous poultry served.

Fish and shellfish

The people who lived on coasts, lakes, or rivers ate a wide variety of shellfish and fish species. Fish was a less prestigious food than meat and was often only served as a meat alternative on fasting days. However, the year had a high number of fasting days. For example, the 49 monks at Westminster Abbey in London ate fish an average of 215 days a year between 1495 and 1525. Fish therefore played a very important role in the medieval diet.

Catching freshwater fish, Tacuinum sanitatis , 15th century

Fresh water fish and shellfish

Fish and shellfish such as crayfish can only rarely be identified archaeologically. Since they were often not part of the duties that had to be paid to the landlords, information on catches and trade quantities rarely appeared in the written sources of the time. In contrast, there are many indications of disputes over fishing rights on watercourses. They are an indication of the importance of freshwater fish and shellfish in the medieval diet. The rare archaeological finds indicate something similar: in the 1960s, a 9th-century settlement was excavated on Lake Biskupin in northeastern Poland , which specialized in the smoking of freshwater fish on a large scale. The excavation team was able to detect pike , perch , roach , bream and catfish in the 9 smokers and 43 pits that were found, which were apparently first hot smoked in the ovens and then finished smoking in the cold smoke of the pits. Salmon was still found in numerous rivers and also played an important role as an easy-to-catch fish alongside lampreys and graylings . Extensive pond management, in which freshwater fish were raised, was one of the agricultural techniques already practiced by the Romans. However, this form of fish farming largely came to a standstill during the migration of the peoples and was practiced again intensively in France from the 13th century. In the second half of the 14th century, large ponds were found in many regions of Europe. The development of the pond economy was favored by the spread of the carp, a species of fish that was originally native to south-eastern Europe. It is not certain which factors contributed to the fact that carp were also found in Central and Western Europe after the year 1000. Global warming may have contributed to this species of fish spreading naturally. The anthropologist Brian Fagan thinks it is more likely that monks and nuns introduced this species of fish purposefully in order to diversify their diet during Lent. Carp also thrive in water with a low oxygen content and are therefore ideal for breeding in shallow ponds. Some monasteries and aristocrats owned some very extensive pond farms in which these fish were raised for Lent. The traces of these ponds shape parts of the European landscape to this day. For example, traces of around a dozen large fish ponds can still be found in the vicinity of Maulbronn Monastery . The 400 square kilometers of ponds around the Bohemian Trebon , which supplied freshwater fish to Prague, are still used today for carp breeding.

Saltwater fish

Up until the 10th century, saltwater fish played only a minor role in the diet far from the coast. Then began a Europe-wide trade in herring and cod , two saltwater fish that were easy to preserve. From the early 13th century, herring was mainly eaten as a fasting food throughout Europe. The wealth and independence of the Hanseatic cities was based in part on the trade in these two fish. Cologne and Frankfurt developed into central transhipment points in the herring trade. Brian Fagan cites the main reasons for the increasing importance of these two fish species that only from this period onwards sufficient salt of a suitable quality was mined, that this was traded over long distances and that salt-based conservation methods were standardized. At the same time, shipbuilding techniques had developed so that increasingly larger ships could be built that made trading in these fish profitable.

Cod, when lightly salted, could be air-dried; it was caught off the Lofoten , Vesteralen , Iceland and Scotland from February to April , then processed and dried and then bought and eaten as stockfish all over Europe. Its preparation was laborious; it had to be soaked for a long time before serving and was often pounded soft with a hammer. The most important trading point for stockfish was Bryggen , the Hanseatic office in Bergen . The fatter herring could easily be salted or made durable by smoking. Herring was particularly inexpensive; it was first marinated in brine for 14 days and then hot-smoked for a further 14 days until it had a reddish brown color. It was so durable that it was packed in barrels and transported with animals and boats from the coasts of Northern Europe to Southern Europe without any problems. Brian Fagan describes the herring preserved in this way as a " fish without any social prestige ", a food for the poor, monastery novices and soldiers. In modern times it was even exported overseas, where it was used to feed the slaves on the plantations. The taste of this smoked fish, produced in large quantities, was pungent, making it an underappreciated fasting food that was said to be the only food that smelled hunger. Today, this type of smoked herring is no longer produced in Europe, as the long shelf life is an essential property that is also achieved through modern conservation techniques.

Somewhat more expensive than the salted and then smoked herring was the herring, preserved only in brine. It was more perishable than the additionally smoked one and had to be processed more carefully. The success of the Hanse was partly based on the implementation of standardized processing methods that largely ensured the constant quality and durability of the pegs. A surviving document from 1474 proves for the two southern Swedish fishing villages Falsterbo and Skanör that herring fishing developed into a well-organized mass production. In the two places 762 small fishing boats fished herring, so that around 3500 people were directly employed in fishing. Another 700 people took the caught fish with 26 larger barges from the boats to the coast or transported them with carts to the 174 women who removed the fish, first layered them between pure salt and after a few days layered them in barrels filled with brine. In addition to the coopers who made, locked or repaired the barrels, 200 merchants with their journeymen and apprentices stayed in the two places who bought the herring and transported it from there to all of Europe. A total of 5,000 people in Falsterbo and Skanör were directly involved in the herring trade. A single barrel of herring contained between 900 and 1000 herrings. Salt accounted for about a fifth of their volume. In the main season, which lasted from July 25th to September 29th, the two places temporarily swelled to the size of a medieval city. In the Vitten , the processing stations owned by individual Hanseatic cities, up to 20,000 people came together to process and trade herring. The fish trade was similarly organized in Yarmouth , where, according to modern estimates, 10 million fish were caught, processed and traded between 1336 and 1337. The herring preserved in this way became a standard fasting food of the Middle Ages, which was exported far into southern Europe. Herring barrels from Flanders were sold in Tuscany , among other places, in 1396 ; In 1430, tons of herring were loaded for Barcelona in Cologne and various household books that have survived show that for many households deep inland Europe between the end of November and Easter, the saltwater fish herring was the most important source of protein.

Saffron harvest, Tacuinum sanitatis , 15th century

Cereals and bread

Grains played an important role in the diet, regardless of social class , and were eaten as porridge , groats , bread and occasionally as noodles . From the eighth to the eleventh century, the share of grain in the diet of the European population rose from just under a third to around three quarters. From the 13th century onwards, bread was a staple food throughout Europe and has maintained this position until modern times. It is likely that an average of 200 kilograms of grain was consumed per capita per year in the 14th and 15th centuries. From the late Middle Ages, at the latest, members of the lower classes consumed more grain than those of the middle and upper classes. The crop yields of all types of grain were very low up to the 15th century: a sown grain produced an average of only 3.2 grains. Today in Europe 20 to 25 times the amount of seeds is harvested.

Medieval picture of the month (December) from a calendar: a baker pushes bread into the oven

Barley , millet and oats were the main types of grain in many regions. Wheat was also widely grown north of the Alps during the time of the Roman Empire . On the Lower Rhine, the Lower Meuse and in the Scheldt estuary, it was even one of the main grains at this time. After the departure of the Romans, wheat cultivation fell sharply and played a secondary role in northern Europe during the Middle Ages, even if white bread made from wheat was highly valued in the region and wheat, unlike rye and oats, was a long-distance trade. The cultivation of rye as the main bread crop began in Eastern, Central, Western and Northern Europe at the beginning of the Middle Ages and has remained the most important type of grain in many regions until modern times. Rye was a very undemanding grain that thrived on poor sandy soils and could be grown on the same area for 10 to 15 years. However, rye was also susceptible to infection by ergot , so that epidemic outbreaks of ergotism occurred again and again . Rye was not equally important everywhere: In the late Middle Ages, spelled was the most important bread grain in Switzerland and emmer and einkorn played a major role in other regions . Oats, on the other hand, were very difficult to bake. It is of great importance primarily because of its role as the most important porridge grain. Buckwheat , which from a botanical point of view belongs to the knotweed family, but is processed in a cereal-like manner, was cultivated on a larger scale from the 14th century. It came to Europe as the last important crop before the cultural exchange with America began and plants such as potatoes , corn and tomatoes began to change European food culture. Rice has been planted in the Iberian Peninsula since the Umayyad dynasty conquered parts of Spain in 755. It was not until the end of the Middle Ages that it became a cultivated plant in northern Italy. Rice is first mentioned in English household books in 1234. At that time, rice was still significantly more expensive than honey. It was mainly used for puddings and desserts.

Porridges were prepared from all types of grain. Ernst Schubert describes the unsweetened oatmeal prepared with water as the most common dish of the German Middle Ages. Prepared with cow or almond milk and sweetened with sugar or honey, such porridges were also served as dessert or food for the sick. In addition to oats, the porridges of the poor population consisted of crushed grains such as barley, rye or millet and were prepared with salt water or buttermilk . The consistency of these pulps was doughy to firm. The richer population also ate porridge made from wheat flour, boiled with milk and refined with butter and honey. The importance of porridges for daily nutrition is shown by the fact that the term muos was used not only for the porridge- like food, but also generally for "food", "meal" or "food". Noodles are also part of medieval food culture. The term “ pasta ” as a collective term for pasta was unknown in medieval Italy, but terms such as gnocchi , lasagna , macaroni and tortellini were already appearing in Italian cookbooks from this period , even if the spelling still varied widely. The earliest reference to ravioli , however, can be found in an Anglo- Norman recipe collection that was created towards the end of the 13th century.

The medieval meal increasingly included bread, which was broken into wine, soup, broth or sauce. The early and high medieval bread was predominantly flat bread, which was similar to today's crispbread. It was not until the 13th century that sourdough bread caught on, which was baked as a loaf of bread. The slice of bread coated with butter did not become common in Central Europe until the 14th century. Most people ate dark bread made from coarsely ground flour, the cheaper it was , the more bran it contained. Only a few ate the expensive canon bread ( mhd. Also called schœnez brôt or sëmel ), which was a white bread made from finely ground wheat flour and was rarely bought, even in wealthy households. A surviving account for a feast that the Polish Queen Jadwiga gave on August 21, 1394 shows, for example, the purchase of 360 rye breads and only 60 wheat breads. Dough pies filled with meat, eggs, vegetables or fruits were to be found in all European kitchens of the Middle Ages. In the late Middle Ages, biscuits and especially waffles became a favorite dessert. As a breadcrumbs and flour, grain was a more commonly used thickener for soups and stews.

Melon harvest, Tacuinum sanitatis , 15th century

Vegetables, fruits and nuts

Vegetables such as cabbage , beets , onions , leeks and garlic supplemented the daily grain-based diet of most people in the Middle Ages. The starchy parsnip played a role in the medieval diet similar to that of the potato in modern times. Stockfish with parsnips was a common dish. Cucumbers were also grown and played an important role in medieval Polish cuisine, for example. In the 14th century they are almost always mentioned in connection with fruit and the Polish sources from this period suggest that they were served with peaches at the end of a meal, among other things. Possibly it was the Sikkim cucumber, a variety of the table cucumber that has a melon-like taste when fully grown; the botanical name of this cucumber variety is Cucumis sativs var. sikkimensis . It was grown in Russia and Western Asia until the 19th century. Cabbage could be soured and, as sauerkraut, was one of the characteristic foods in winter. The plan for the monastery garden of Sankt Gallen from the year 820 already provided for one for cabbage among the 18 beds for herbs and vegetables and cabbage is also listed in other plant registers such as the Capitular of Charlemagne . Various legumes such as chickpeas , field beans , lentils and peas were an important part of the diet because they were easy to store. However, if they were stored too moist, there was a risk that they would begin to germinate. That is why “canebyns” began to be produced in England in the 15th century. For this purpose, legumes were repeatedly soaked in fresh water and then dried on a hot stone or in the bakery oven and then roughly ground. These pea and bean flours were used to cook stews or thick porridges. With the exception of peas, legumes were considered a peasant food because of their tendency to cause flatulence . Lentils were said to irritate the stomach, impair eyesight, and cause heavy dreams.

The folklorist Gunther Hirschfelder thinks it likely that porridge and bread dishes were only served to a small extent in summer and early autumn and that the rural population ate a wide range of fruit, berry and mushroom dishes from June to October. In this way, the grain stocks could be stretched, which in bad harvest years would not be enough for the next harvest. Fruit was also a common ingredient in many meat and fish dishes. A characteristic example of this is tart de brymlent , a fish casserole from the Forme of Cury recipe collection , the filling of which consisted of figs , raisins , apples , peaches , plums and salmon , halibut or cod . Since honey and sugar were expensive, the sweetness of fruit was used to give food a sweet taste. Apples , pears , cherries , wild strawberries , plums , plums , mulberries and quinces could also be grown in northern Europe. However, excavations such as that of the early medieval town of Haithabu in Schleswig show that the stone fruit collected outweighed the cultivated in a ratio of 10: 1. Even today, rarely used berries such as hawthorn or mountain ash were collected . In the south, lemons , pomegranates , figs and wine played a very important role in the diet. Imported dates were among the most popular and expensive sweets of the Middle Ages and were served for dessert at state banquets in France in the 14th century. Oranges have also been used , but not the sweet types that were only introduced in modern times, but bitter oranges . Nuts were also on the medieval menu. Hazelnuts and walnuts were collected in autumn; In the southern regions of Europe, chestnuts also played a major role. In addition to the important Lein, the equal of oil - such as fiber production served were also beechnuts an important oilseed crop. Of particular importance was the almond, which as almond milk was one of the basic elements of medieval sauces alongside verjus.

Swineherd and herd of pigs during the acorn fattening , calendar picture November, book of hours of the Duke of Berry , 15th century
Slaughtering pigs, Tacuinum sanitatis , 15th century

Spices, sugar, confectionery and salt

Spices and herbs

Spices were among the most precious goods a medieval household acquired for its use. Spices such as pepper , cinnamon , nutmeg , cloves and ginger were expensive because of their long transport routes and were usually only used in wealthy households. Pepper was the most important of the spices imported from other continents. The Bremer Pfefferkorn from the beginning of the 13th century is the oldest preserved find as a condiment north of the Alps. According to modern estimates, around 1,000 tons of pepper and the same amount of other spices were imported into Western Europe annually in the late Middle Ages. The equivalent of these imports corresponded to the annual need for grain for 1.5 million people. Saffron has a special role among the important medieval spices. The spice, of which one pound was the equivalent of a horse in the Middle Ages, was one of the luxury products that were grown within Europe and not imported from Asia or Africa, as was the case for other particularly precious spices. Saffron was already grown in many Mediterranean countries during the time of the Roman Empire. In Central Europe it only became established as a coloring agent for dishes and spices after the cultural exchange with the Arab region as a result of the crusade movement and was then also cultivated in Central Europe.

Other spices such as the different types of mustard , sage , parsley , dill , caraway , mint , fennel and anise , all of which were grown in Europe, were considerably cheaper and played a major role in the preparation of meals regardless of the shift. A number of spices and herbs used in the Middle Ages are comparatively seldom used in European cuisine today. These include the aromatic plants elephant , bearwort , mugwort , fenugreek , mountain rue , angelica , calamus , garlic rocket , tansy , black clover and rue, as well as the imported spices cubeb pepper , mace , nard , grains of paradise and long pepper , which grow in Europe .

You can still occasionally read that medieval cooks used spices such as pepper in abundance in order to cover up the unpleasant taste of spoiled meat or fish. Most scientists studying the history of nutrition no longer share this opinion. For financial reasons, the generous use of expensive, imported spices was reserved for very wealthy households, who had access to a large selection of good quality meat and fish. Using expensive spices to whitewash the taste of spoiled meat or fish that was cheap by comparison would have made economically nonsense. Inventory lists in medieval households regularly list large quantities of spices. For example, in the pantries of the French king's widow Jeanne d'Évreux there are six pounds of pepper, 13.5 pounds of cinnamon, five pounds of Grains of Paradise, 3.5 pounds of nutmegs, 1.25 pounds of saffron, half a pound of long pepper, some mace and 23 , Kept five pounds of ginger and the household of Humphrey Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, consumed no less than two pounds of spices a day in the early 15th century. However, these figures refer to households that feed hundreds of people every day. Terence Scully, who has dealt intensively with medieval recipes, notes a rather economical and conscious use of spices. He sees the main difference to today's European seasoning habits in the plentiful use of saffron and the use of sugar in savory dishes. Rabbit in sauce, sprinkled with sugar, or minced meat, which is mixed with sugar in addition to ginger and nutmeg and then served with finely chopped onions, look strange compared to today's European cuisine. Tim Richardson points out in his History of Confectionery that similar dishes could also be found on the menu of today's Lebanese restaurant.

Beehives, Tacuinum sanitatis , 15th century
Buying sugar, Tacuinum sanitatis , 15th century

Honey, sugar, confectionery and desserts

Along with the natural sweetness of fruit, honey was the most important medieval sweetener. The current way of keeping bees in magazine hives , which enables honeycombs to be removed without permanently damaging the bee colony, is a modern development. Medieval beekeepers who kept their colonies in willow baskets and tree trunks, among other things, had to accept the loss of the colony during the honey harvest. Because of this, honey remained expensive. An important by-product of honey production was beeswax, which was often more valuable than the harvested honey. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, honey lost its role as the most important sweetener, at least in some regions of Europe. In his analysis of the medieval cuisine of northern France, Terence Scully came to the conclusion that honey was no longer used in this region as early as the 14th century. The main sweetener was a wine-based syrup. The use of sugar became increasingly common. Already Chiquart , a chef of the 15th century, used in more than half of his recipes sugar.

Arabs spread sugar cane cultivation throughout the Mediterranean as early as the Middle Ages. Important areas for the cultivation of sugar cane were, for example, Toledo , Cyprus and Sicily . As early as 996, a warehouse was built in Venice that only kept sugar. During the Middle Ages, sugar was one of the goods that people bought from pharmacists. It was so expensive at first that only the wealthy could afford it. Its price fell from the 14th century, so that broader classes could afford to buy sugar. The early confectionery that was consumed in medieval Europe included fruits candied in sugar, citrus peel and flowers, spice seeds covered with icing - so-called "comfits" - as well as pastilles and marzipan, which were initially imported from the Arab region. Artisans who specialized in the production of such confectionery are first recorded for Venice in 1150. A little later, Genoa established itself as a place where particularly high-quality fruit jellies were produced. Similar to spices, affluent households occasionally purchased large quantities of such confectionery. The provisions of Duke Edward von Guelders, who set out on a campaign in Prussia in 1369, included 46 pounds of confectionery, including candied ginger, pine confectionery and 10 pounds of fruit jelly. One of the more unusual medieval sweets is manus christi (“hand of Christ”), which is said to have healing properties. According to the traditional recipes, it was mostly a stick of boiled sugar that was seasoned with violets, cinnamon or rose water. Often these candy-like sticks also contained gold leaf. According to other recipes it is a syrup and according to a Parisian recipe of the late 14th century a kind of marzipan. Common to all recipes is the use of granulated sugar.

Confectionery such as pastilles, marzipan, comfits (spice seeds covered with icing), candied fruits or fruit jellies were often served at the end of a meal. The medieval kitchen also had deep-fried pastries, waffles, custard-like custards and pastries filled with a mixture of almond milk and eggs as desserts. The latter was enriched with fruits, occasionally bone marrow or fish. Spiced wine, accompanied by cheese, or cheese and butter, as in the above-mentioned celebrations in Osnabrück guild communities, often ended a festive meal.


Salt , which as a mineral, according to a frequently used distinction, does not belong to the spices, plays a major role in the entire diet of mankind. Salt was not only a necessary nutritional component for medieval people, it also played an indispensable role in food preservation. Salt fish would not have become so important for the medieval diet without an intensification and improvement of salt production and an intensified salt trade . Important Central European salt regions include the Eastern Alps , Lorraine and the Elbe-Saale area, in which salt production was continuously expanded in the High Middle Ages. Sinkworks , in which underground rock salt deposits were leached with freshwater infused, are among the improved extraction methods . Such sinking works are certainly first documented for Hallein in 1268. They provided a particularly pure salt. The intensification of traditional sea ​​salt production began much earlier: The bay of "Bourgnef" ( Bourgneuf-en-Retz ) on the Atlantic coast of France is the northernmost point in Europe where solar radiation is so intense that sea salt can be obtained through evaporation alone . Artificial evaporation ponds or " salt gardens " were probably created on the island of Île de Noirmoutier in this bay as early as the 9th century. The salt obtained there was sold as " Baiensalz " to the centers of salt fish production on the Baltic Sea coast, and in the late Middle Ages the trade relationship between the Bay of Bourgnef and the Baltic States was one of the most important salt trade routes, as the salt from Bourgnef is coarser, but also considerably cheaper when the salt was from Lüneburg.

A woman carries water from the well into the house, Tacuinum sanitatis , 15th century
A monk tries wine
A housewife shows how wine should be treated


The only drinking water available to the people of the early Middle Ages was water from streams, rivers and insufficiently drawn wells. The elaborate water pipes that were found in many Roman cities and settlements had fallen into disrepair or even destroyed after the fall of the Roman Empire. The water quality improved gradually because, after the end of the migration, brick wells were systematically built again in many regions. In some cities even the Roman aqueducts were restored.

For the urban population, however, inner-city groundwater and spring water remained the most important water source. In medieval cities, the wells were often in the immediate vicinity of garbage pits and latrines, so that the water quality remained poor throughout the entire Middle Ages. Wealthy citizens therefore made do with their own cisterns and wells.

Because of its inadequate purity, water was less valued than wine or beer. Drinking fresh milk was reserved for the sick and young children. Healthy adults usually only drank it as buttermilk or whey . Fresh milk played only a minor role as a commodity, as it spoiled quickly due to the lack of cooling facilities.

Juices made from a range of fruits and berries already played a role in ancient cuisine and were also drunk in the Middle Ages. Medieval drinks also included fruit and berry wines.

The honey- based mead is often mentioned in medieval recipe collections. However, it played an increasingly minor role as a table drink in most European regions and at the end of the Middle Ages was more of a health food. Because of the large quantities of honey that had to be used to make it, mead was no cheaper than imported medium-quality wine. Met retained a special status especially in Eastern Europe, where it was served as a special celebration drink at weddings and baptisms. In the 13th century originating Liber de Coquina be mentioned in the introduction the following drinks: Honey Trunk (mellicrattum), sugar vinegar (oxizucara), thick juice (sapa), honey water (mulsa), syrup (syrupus) Tisana (tysana, a hot infusion drink), wine (vinum) , Beer (cervicia), mead (medus), whey (melcha), cider (cidra), yellow and pink pomegranate cider (pomi granati vinum limphatum atque rosatum), cider (cidra pomorum esculorum) and spring water (aqua fontis). High-proof spirits only played a minor role in the Middle Ages. The technique of distilling brandy from wine was already mastered in the 12th century, but the production quantities remained very low until the 15th century and the distillates were expensive. They were mainly used in medicine. It wasn't until the 15th century that brandies began to be consumed.


The improvement in the climate that began in the transition phase from the early to the high Middle Ages made wine not only available to the wealthy class. In wine-growing areas, large parts of the population drank wine almost every day. In regions that were unsuitable for the cultivation of grapevines, wine was the preferred drink of the sections of the population who could afford it. It thus became an important commodity. For example, Frisian traders exchanged textiles for wine in Mainz as early as the 9th century. In the 12th century, the Hanseatic League supplied, among others, England and Norway with Rhine wine .

In the teaching of humoral pathology , wine was considered hot and dry. Water and beer, on the other hand, were classified as damp and cold. Wine was the most prestigious drink and had a reputation for being beneficial to human health. It should aid digestion, promote good blood, and brighten mood. The quality of the wine fluctuated depending on the growing area, the type of grape and, above all, the number of grapes pressed. The most expensive wine was obtained from the first pressing. Poorer sections of the population drank the cheap post-wine or pomace wine, which was produced from the second or even third grape pressing and was often diluted with water and vinegar .

The maturation of high quality wine required specialized knowledge as well as suitable storage rooms and barrels. Since many medieval sources give advice on how to treat wine that is beginning to spoil, it seems that wine rarely has a long shelf life. Le Viandier , a cookbook from the 14th century, advised always topping up wine barrels or adding a mixture of dried and cooked grape seeds and the ashes of dried and burnt pomace to make wine more durable. Spices such as ginger, pepper, grains of paradise , nutmeg and clove were often added to the wine, as this should support the health-promoting effects of the wine. The so-called hippocras , a particularly strongly sweetened and spiced wine, was considered a particularly effective healing and tonic. As early as the 14th century, you could buy the spices needed in small bags as a ready-made mixture of spices.


While wine was considered to be the more prestigious drink, beer was the most important popular drink in many parts of Europe. To brew beer all existing types of grain were used and to the 16th century with Gruit or Grut ( Grutbier seasoned). Beer that was made from these regionally different herbal mixtures was cloudy, sweetish, low in carbon dioxide, did not have a long shelf life and probably had a significantly lower alcohol content than today's beer. Unlike wine, beer was not considered to be beneficial to health. In 1256, the Sienese doctor called Aldobrandino beer a drink that caused bad breath, damaged the head and stomach, and ruined teeth.

Hops have been grown since the 8th century, but it wasn't until the 12th century that hops were used in beer brewing, making the beers more durable and transportable. In the 13th and 14th centuries, large centers of the hop beer brewery were mainly in northern Germany and Flanders. However, hop beer did not finally gain acceptance until the 16th century. While beer was still mostly brewed in monasteries in the early Middle Ages, beer production increasingly shifted to small family businesses, which usually did not employ more than eight to ten people. In 1376 no fewer than 457 breweries produced beer in Hamburg. It was not uncommon for women to be in charge of breweries: in Strasbourg in 1358 one of seven breweries was run by women, in Oxford in 1439 the women working in the brewing trade outnumbered the men. Quantities of beer consumption are problematic because they fluctuate strongly regionally and periodically. In Cologne , one of the wealthiest cities of the late Middle Ages, consumption during this period was around 175 to 295 liters per capita.

A fraudulent baker is punished by being led around the community with the bread that is too light around his neck.

Food adulteration

The Middle Ages had sometimes very drastic penalties for adulterating food. In 1499, for example, the eyes of a saffron forger were gouged out in Nuremberg. In some cities in Germany and Switzerland, fraudulent bakers were publicly hung in a large basket over a cesspool. If they wanted to get out of the basket, they had to jump into the pit. However, food adulteration is not a specifically medieval problem. Bee Wilson describes this form of fraud in her history of food adulteration as a phenomenon that only assumed endemic proportions in the industrial age and is characteristic of forms of government that are only slightly prepared to intervene. The high-profile penalties that medieval food counterfeiters threatened are, from Bee Wilson's point of view, characteristic of a form of society that proved its ability to act and function because it was able to enforce quality standards. Detailed ordinances such as the English Assize of Bread and Ale from 1266, which, among other things, stipulated the size, weight and price of bread in relation to the price of grain, are signs that medieval communities were able to implement them. The medieval guild system also contributed to this. Baker's guilds were among the first to be founded. The bread lovers and bread makers of these guilds paid attention to the high quality of the bread. Since it was time-consuming and expensive to become a member of a guild, there was relatively little incentive to put this membership at risk for a small economic advantage. The numerous medieval regulations, which for example forbade fishmongers from pounding their fish in algae so that it looked fresher, or required butchers to confirm that they had slaughtered a healthy, live cattle, are therefore not an indication of a generally poor quality standard. On the contrary, individual medieval ordinances underline a more consumer-oriented policy: in York in 1497 bakers were prohibited from buying their grain at the market in the morning. This was to ensure that they did not monopolize the grain trade. In 1485 they were even sentenced for not having baked enough bread to supply the city.

Cookbooks from the Middle Ages

Possibly the oldest medieval written source on the art of cooking is a letter from the Greek doctor Anthimus to Theodoric the Great from around 520 . In this letter, Anthimus gives tips on various foods. He recommends a method of preparation for chickpeas in which they are constantly covered with liquid and advises to season them with oil and salt after cooking. Other surviving European manuscripts that deal with the art of cooking date from the 10th century. These are not yet cookbooks in the modern sense. The monk Ekkehard , who lives in the monastery of St. Gallen , only provides a rhymed overview of the dishes that were eaten. In the 12th century, the English cleric Alexander Neckam wrote De utensibilis, a font that also contained household tips . Two Arabic manuscripts written in Andalusia date from the 13th century and contain around 400 recipes of Moorish origin. Two important cookbooks of the High Middle Ages are the Libellus de Arte Coquinaria, preserved in four translations from different parts of Northern Europe, and the Liber de Coquina , which contains two independent texts ( Tractatus and Liber de Coquina ). The originals of these texts are dated to the early 13th century, the Libellus and the Tractatus probably have a French origin and the Liber de Coquina comes from Italy.

18th century edition of the Forme of Cury

In the late Middle Ages, a number of manuscripts on the art of cooking emerged, which increasingly contained more elements of a cookbook in the modern sense. One of the most important writings is Le Viandier , published anonymously around 1320 and later attributed to the Koch Taillevent . In its oldest, untitled version, it contained 133 recipes and was expanded to 220 recipes in later editions. Ménagier de Paris was also published anonymously . The author is a wealthy, elderly citizen who, in his work, gives his newly wedded 15-year-old wife hints and advice on how to run and organize the household. Terence Scully has named Menagier de Paris as a work of almost encyclopedic scope. It describes the preservation of food, gives advice on hunting , keeping horses and making ink , among other things , and also gives a number of recipes. The latter are of great relevance for understanding medieval food culture, since the author is a member of the bourgeoisie. The recipes are largely borrowed from Le Viandier , but they give an insight into the eating habits of a middle-class medieval household. The oldest German-language recipe collection is Das Buoch von guoter Spise from 1350. It was part of a much larger parchment manuscript and was created at the prince-bishop's court in Würzburg. These cookbooks are not only interesting because of the dishes they describe, they can also be used to understand cultural influences. For example, Anglo-Norman manuscripts with Poume d'oranges and Teste de Turke contain dishes that are of Arabic origin. The English Forme of Cury , which originated around 1390, borrows a large number of recipes from the French Le Viandier .

In the first half of the 15th century a professional cook wrote the extensive cookbook by St. Dorotheen zu Vienna (incompletely preserved with 267 recipes), which came from a monastery, but which did not contain a division into fasting and meat dishes typical for monastic recipe collections . With 43 recipes, the Bavarian recipe collection , which probably originated in the second half of the 15th century and probably originated in the Tyrolean region , is preserved in fragments in the library of the Brixen seminary.

The first known printed cookbook is De Honesta Voluptate from 1475, in which the papal library administrator Bartolomeo Sacchi took up the recipes of Maestro Martino , a cook who among other things worked in the Vatican Palace. What is remarkable about Maestro Martino's recipes is the first mentioned use of a strainer in the production of sauces and the generous use of sugar in desserts. Maestro Martino's instructions for making macaroni call for the use of egg white and rose water and a cooking time of two hours. The first printed German cookbook is the Küchenmeisterey by Peter Wagner from 1485.


  • Melitta Weiss Adamson: Food in Medieval Times. Greenwood Press, Westport CT et al. 2004, ISBN 0-313-32147-7 ( Food through history ).
  • Melitta Weiss Adamson (Ed.): Regional Cuisines of Medieval Europe. Routledge, New York NY et al. 2002, ISBN 0-415-92994-6 .
  • Melitta Weiss Adamson (Ed.): Food in the Middle Ages. A Book of Essays. Garland, New York NY et al. 1995, ISBN 0-8153-1345-4 ( Garland medieval casebooks. 12 = Garland reference library of the humanities. 1744).
  • Irmgard Bitsch, Trude Ehlert, Xenja von Ertzdorff (eds.): Eating and drinking in the Middle Ages and modern times. Lectures at an interdisciplinary symposium from 10. – 13. June 1987 at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen. 2nd revised edition. Thorbecke, Sigmaringen 1990, ISBN 3-7995-4108-X .
  • Jacob Blume: The book of good food. Cooking in the Middle Ages. Verlag Die Werkstatt et al., Göttingen et al. 2004, ISBN 3-89533-451-0 ( dishes and their history ).
  • Jeanne Bourin: "Pluck the swan like a goose". Recipes from the French kitchens of the Middle Ages. (Original title: Les recettes de Mathilde Brunel. Cuisine médiévale pour table d'aujourd'hui. 1983), translated into German by Barbara Evers, Munich 1991.
  • Joachim Bumke : Court culture. Literature and society in the high Middle Ages. 2nd volume. 5th edition. Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag, Munich 1990, ISBN 3-423-04442-X , pp. 240–275: Chapter eating and drinking .
  • Maria Dembińska : Food and drink in medieval Poland. Rediscovering a cuisine of the past. Revised and adapted by William Woys Weaver. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia PA 1999, ISBN 0-8122-3224-0 .
  • Trude Ehlert and Rainer Leng : Early cooking and powder recipes from the Nuremberg manuscript GNM 3227a (around 1389). In: Dominik Groß and Monika Reininger (eds.): Medicine in history, philology and ethnology: Festschrift for Gundolf Keil. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2003, pp. 289-320.
  • Trude Ehlert: The cookbook from the Michaelbeuern Abbey Library (Man. Cart. 81). Edition and commentary. Würzburg medical history reports 24, 2005, pp. 121–143.
  • Brian Fagan : Fish on Friday. Feasting, Fasting and the Discovery of the New World. Basic Books, New York NY 2007, ISBN 978-0-465-02285-4 .
  • Hans Jürgen Fahrenkamp: How to keep a German image of a man at power. The forgotten kitchen secrets of the Middle Ages. Munich 1986.
  • Bridget Ann Henisch: Fast and Feast. Food in Medieval Society. The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park PA 1976, ISBN 0-271-01230-7 .
  • Gunther Hirschfelder : European food culture. A history of nutrition from the Stone Age to the present day. Campus Verlag, Frankfurt am Main et al. 2001, ISBN 3-593-36815-3 .
  • Jan Keupp : The table has a lot of manege - culinary art and a passion for food in the Middle Ages (PDF; 1.7 MB). In: Communications of the German Society for Archeology of the Middle Ages and Modern Times. 19, 2007, ISSN  1619-1439 , pp. 51-62.
  • Bruno Laurioux: Table joys in the Middle Ages. The eating culture of knights, burghers and peasants. Bechtermünz, Augsburg 1999, ISBN 3-8289-0727-X .
  • Massimo Montanari : Hunger and Abundance. Cultural history of nutrition in Europe. Limited special edition. CH Becksche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Munich 1999, ISBN 3-406-44025-8 ( Beck'sche series 4025).
  • Gert von Paczensky , Anna Dünnebier : Cultural history of eating and drinking. Goldmann, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-442-72192-X ( Goldmann 72192 btb ).
  • Dorothee Rippmann : Body and Senses in the Art of Cooking. Concepts of Medieval Food Dietetics, in: Werner M. Egli / Ingrid Tomkowiak (ed.), Senses , Zurich (Chronos Verlag) 2010, ISBN 978-3-0340-0983-6 . Pp. 167-196.
  • Dorothee Rippmann : Un aliment sain dans un corps sain: Santé et systèmes culinaires au moyen age, in: Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau and Françoise Sabban (eds.), Un aliment sain dans un corps sain. Perspectives Historiques. Deuxième colloque de l'Institut Européen d'Histoire et des Cultures de l'Alimentation (Collection “A boire et à manger” 1), Tours 2007, pp. 39–63, ISBN 978-2-86906-237-5 .
  • Dorothee Rippmann : «The body in balance. Nutrition and Health in the Middle Ages », in: Medium Aevum Quotidianum 52, Krems 2005, pp. 20–45.
  • Arno Schirokauer , Thomas Perry Thornton: Courtly table breeding. Edited by Thomas Perry Thornton after Arno Schirokauer's preparatory work. Erich Schmidt Verlag, Berlin 1957 (= texts of the late Middle Ages. Issue 4).
  • Ernst Schubert : Eating and Drinking in the Middle Ages. Scientific Book Society, 3rd edition Darmstadt 2016, ISBN 978-3-8053-4974-1 .
  • Anne Schulz: Eating and Drinking in the Middle Ages (1000-1300). Literary, art historical and archaeological sources. (= Supplementary volumes to the Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde. Volume 74). De Gruyter, 2011, ISBN 978-3-11-025515-7
  • Terence Scully: The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages. Boydell Press, Suffolk et al. 1995, ISBN 0-85115-611-8 .
  • Johanna Maria van Winter: Cooking and Eating in the Middle Ages. In: Bernd Hermann (Hrsg.): Man and the environment in the Middle Ages. Stuttgart 1986, pp. 88-100.

Web links

Wikisource: Das Buoch von guoter Spise  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Hirschfelder, p. 103.
  2. Hirschfelder, p. 117.
  3. ^ Adamson, p. 164.
  4. Massimo Livi Bacci : Europe and its people: a population history . CH Beck, 1999, ISBN 978-3-406-44700-6 , pp. 69 ( [accessed January 20, 2020]).
  5. a b Arno Borst: Life forms in the Middle Ages. Ullstein Tb, Berlin 1973, ISBN 3-548-34004-0 , pp. 187 and 189.
  6. Thomas Richter, Gundolf Keil: "Ain bischoff vnd ... sin bös lust". Investigations on the influence of phytotherapy on medieval gastronomy, shown in the 'Konstanzer Kochbuch' from 1460. In: Würzburger Diözesan-Geschichtsblätter. Volume 56, 1994, pp. 59-65.
  7. Barbara Santich, The Evolution of Culinary Techniques in the Medieval Era . In: Adamson (ed.): Food in the Middle Ages . Pp. 61-81.
  8. Hirschfelder, p. 105 or Dembinska, p. 11. Dembinska refers to the Polish food culture of the Middle Ages.
  9. ^ Karl-Ernst Behre: The diet in the Middle Ages . In: Bernd Herrmann (ed.): Man and the environment in the Middle Ages . Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 3-596-24192-8 , p. 84.
  10. Hirschfelder, p. 132 and p. 138.
  11. Dembinska, pp. 5-7.
  12. ^ Karl-Ernst Behre: The diet in the Middle Ages . In: Bernd Herrmann (ed.): Man and the environment in the Middle Ages . Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 3-596-24192-8 , p. 74.
  13. Montanari, pp. 15-17 and Hirschfelder, pp. 95-96.
  14. Montanari, pp. 17-22.
  15. Montanari, p. 29.
  16. Paczensky and Dünnebier, p. 215.
  17. ^ Karl-Ernst Behre: The diet in the Middle Ages . In: Bernd Herrmann (ed.): Man and the environment in the Middle Ages . Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 3-596-24192-8 , p. 76. Schubert, pp. 152–153, also points out the importance of the monastic communication network.
  18. Montanari, p. 43.
  19. Hirschfelder, p. 96 and p. 97.
  20. Montanari, p. 38.
  21. Hirschfelder, pp. 115–117 and Schubert, pp. 34–35, p. 40.
  22. a b Schubert, p. 13.
  23. Schubert, p. 43.
  24. Hirschfelder, p. 134 and Fagan, p. 147.
  25. Scully (1995), pp. 83 and 218. Maria Dembinska, who compared French, Danish and Polish sources with regard to their ingredients, also points to a homogeneous European cuisine (Chapter 4).
  26. ^ Jean-Francoise Revel: Fine meals. Messages from the history of culinary art . Ullstein Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1979, ISBN 3-549-07391-7 , p. 82.
  27. Henisch, pp. 32–33 and p. 47.
  28. Henisch, pp. 40-43.
  29. Henisch, p. 48 and Fagan, p. 153.
  30. Hirschfelder, p. 105.
  31. ^ Fagan, p. 130.
  32. Henisch, pp. 191–192.
  33. a b c Henisch, Chapter 2.
  34. Dembinska, p. 72.
  35. ^ Schubert, p. 245.
  36. a b Scully (1995), pp. 135-136.
  37. Scully, pp. 126-135.
  38. ^ Dembinska, p. 143.
  39. ^ Terence Scully: Tempering Medieval Food . In: Food in the Middle Ages . Pp. 7-12.
  40. ^ Tacuinum Sanitatis, Commentary (2004), p. 112.
  41. Scully (1995), p. 70.
  42. Nichola Fletcher: Charlemagne's Tablecoth. A piquant History of Feasting . London 2004, ISBN 0-75381-974-0 , p. 19.
  43. Dambinska, p. 91.
  44. a b Jacob Blume: The book of good food . Verlag Die Werkstatt, Göttingen 2004, ISBN 3-89533-451-0 , p. 46.
  45. Henisch, p. 97.
  46. Henisch, pp. 97 and 98.
  47. Schubert, p. 85.
  48. a b Adamson, chapter 2.
  49. Maria Dembinska, pp. 67-69, lists items of everyday use that are usually found in the kitchen of a wealthy aristocratic household.
  50. Paczensky and Dünnebier, pp. 70–71.
  51. ^ Heidrun Merkle: Table joys. A story of enjoyment. Artemis & Winkler, Düsseldorf 2001, ISBN 3-538-07128-4 , p. 103.
  52. ^ Scully, p. 96.
  53. Henisch, pp. 199-200.
  54. Döbler, p. 114.
  55. a b Schubert, p. 271.
  56. Henisch, p. 195.
  57. Adamson, pp. 161-164; Chub; Kochkünste und Tafelfreuden , pp. 112–119; Henisch, p. 196; Dembinska, p. 49.
  58. Henisch, p. 190.
  59. Jacob Blume: The book of good food . Verlag Die Werkstatt, Göttingen 2004, ISBN 3-89533-451-0 , p. 38 and p. 40.
  60. Hirschfelder, p. 143 and p. 144.
  61. ^ Schubert, p. 258.
  62. Adamson, pp. 161-164.
  63. Dembinska, p. 59.
  64. Margaret Visser: The Rituals of Dinner: The Origins, Evolution, Eccentricities and Meaning of Table Manners . Penguin Books, 1991, ISBN 0-14-017079-0 , pp. 235-237.
  65. ^ Schubert, p. 257.
  66. ^ Petra Westphalen: Die Eisenfunde von Haithabu. ISBN 978-3-529-01410-9 , pp. 158-160.
  67. Dembinska, pp. 42-43.
  68. a b Dembinska, pp. 71-75.
  69. ^ Karl-Ernst Behre: The diet in the Middle Ages . In: Bernd Herrmann (ed.): Man and the environment in the Middle Ages . Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 3-596-24192-8 , p. 80.
  70. Maria Dembińska's research refers to the late 14th and early 15th centuries when the standard of living in Poland and France was comparable.
  71. Hans Jürgen Teuteberg, Günter Wiegelmann , Food Habits in the Industrialization of the 19th Century , LIT Verlag Münster, 1995, ISBN 3825822737 , p. 101.
  72. ^ A b Hans Jürgen Teuteberg, Günter Wiegelmann , Food Habits in the Industrialization of the 19th Century , LIT Verlag Münster, 1995, ISBN 3825822737 , p. 99.
  73. Massimo Livi Bacci, Europe and its people: a population history, CH Beck Verlag, 1999, ISBN 3406447007 , p. 69.
  74. Hans Jürgen Teuteberg, Günter Wiegelmann , Food Habits in the Industrialization of the 19th Century , LIT Verlag Münster, 1995, ISBN 3825822737 , p. 97.
  75. Hirschfelder, p. 99.
  76. Werner Rösener: Farmers in the Middle Ages . Munich 1985, ISBN 3-406-30448-6 , pp. 87-91 and Dembinska, pp. 94-99 with specific reference to Poland.
  77. Nichola Fletcher: Charlemagne's Tablecoth. A piquant History of Feasting . London 2004, ISBN 0-75381-974-0 , pp. 108 and 109.
  78. Hirschfelder, p. 134.
  79. Schubert, pp. 109–112 and Hirschfelder, p. 100. The importance of the small town Buttstedt disappeared during the Thirty Years' War , when the town was destroyed and not rebuilt to its old size.
  80. Regional Cuisines , p. 89.
  81. ^ Schubert, p. 120.
  82. Nichola Fletcher: Charlemagne's Tablecoth. A piquant History of Feasting . London 2004, ISBN 0-75381-974-0 , p. 21 and p. 30.
  83. Felipe Fernández-Armesto; Food. A history . Pan Books, London 2001, ISBN 0-330-49144-X , p. 121.
  84. ^ Fagan, p. 155.
  85. Schubert, pp. 126–127.
  86. ^ Sue Shephard: Pickled, Potted & Canned. How the preservation of food changed civilization . Headline Book Publishing, London 2000, ISBN 0-7472-6207-1 , p. 107. The excavations in Biskupin are also mentioned in Dembinska, p. 102.
  87. ^ Fagan, p. 134.
  88. Hirschfelder, p. 101 and p. 135.
  89. ^ Fagan, p. 135.
  90. Hansjörg Küster : History of the landscape in Central Europe . CH Becksche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-7632-4520-0 , p. 226.
  91. ^ Schubert, p. 133.
  92. Waverley Root: Quail, Truffle, Chocolate. The encyclopedia of culinary delights . btb Taschenbuch, 1996, ISBN 3-442-72088-5 , p. 116; Schubert, p. 132.
  93. Schubert, pp. 133-134.
  94. Fagan, pp. 95-99.
  95. Schubert, pp. 146–149.
  96. Fagan, p. 103.
  97. ^ Sue Shephard: Pickled, Potted & Canned. How the preservation of food changed civilization . Headline Book Publishing, London 2000, ISBN 0-7472-6207-1 , pp. 109-110.
  98. Henisch, p. 40 and Sue Shephard: Pickled, Potted & Canned. How the preservation of food changed civilization . Headline Book Publishing, London 2000, ISBN 0-7472-6207-1 , p. 110.
  99. ^ Sue Shephard: Pickled, Potted & Canned. How the preservation of food changed civilization . Headline Book Publishing, London 2000, ISBN 0-7472-6207-1 , p. 113.
  100. ^ Fagan, p. 120.
  101. Fagan, pp. 108-109.
  102. ^ Schubert, p. 137.
  103. Fagen, p. 112.
  104. Fagan, p. 121 and Schubert, p. 133.
  105. Edwin S. Hunt and James Michael Murray: A history of business in Medieval Europe, 1200-1550 . Cambridge 1999, p. 16.
  106. Hirschfelder, p. 132.
  107. Jacob Blume: The book of good food . Verlag Die Werkstatt, Göttingen 2004, ISBN 3-89533-451-0 , p. 32.
  108. Udelgard Körber-Grohne: Useful plants in Germany. From prehistory to today . Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 3-933203-40-6 , p. 31 and Schubert, p. 75.
  109. Udelgard Körber-Grohne, pp. 42 and 46.
  110. Schubert, pp. 35–37.
  111. Udelgard Körber-Grohne, p. 76.
  112. ^ Schubert, p. 82.
  113. Margaret Vissar: Much depends on Dinner . Harper Collins Publishing, Toronto 2000, ISBN 0-00-639104-4 , pp. 178-179.
  114. Sri Owen: The Rice Book. History, Culture, Recipes . Frances Lincoln Limited, London 2003, ISBN 0-7112-2260-6 , pp. 67-68.
  115. Schubert, p. 11.
  116. Paczensky and Dünnebier, p. 37.
  117. ^ Schubert, p. 157.
  118. John Dickie : Delicia. The epic history of the Italians and their food . Free Press, New York 2008, ISBN 978-0-7432-7799-0 , pp. 20-21.
  119. Constance Hieatt: Medieval Britan . In: Adamson (Ed.): Regional Cuisines of Medieval Europe . P. 25.
  120. Schubert, p. 84.
  121. Jacob Blume: The book of good food . Verlag Die Werkstatt, Göttingen 2004, ISBN 3-89533-451-0 , pp. 52 and 53.
  122. Dembińska, pp. 58-59.
  123. Waverley Root: Quail, Truffle, Chocolate. The encyclopedia of culinary delights . btb Taschenbuch, 1996, ISBN 3-442-72088-5 , p. 300.
  124. Dembinska, p. 130.
  125. Dembinska, p. 131.
  126. Udelgard Körber-Grohne: Useful plants in Germany. From prehistory to today . Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 3-933203-40-6 , p. 181.
  127. ^ Sue Shephard: Pickled, Potted & Canned. How the preservation of food changed civilization . Headline Book Publishing, London 2000, ISBN 0-7472-6207-1 , p. 36.
  128. Waverley Root: Quail, Truffle, Chocolate. The encyclopedia of culinary delights . btb Taschenbuch, 1996, ISBN 3-442-72088-5 , p. 236.
  129. Hirschfelder, pp. 120–121. Schubert argues similarly, pp. 156–157.
  130. Scully, p. 113.
  131. ^ Karl-Ernst Behre: The diet in the Middle Ages . In: Bernd Herrmann (ed.): Man and the environment in the Middle Ages . Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 3-596-24192-8 , p. 81.
  132. Waverley Root: Quail, Truffle, Chocolate. The encyclopedia of culinary delights . btb Taschenbuch, 1996, ISBN 3-442-72088-5 , pp. 48-50.
  133. ^ Karl-Ernst Behre: The diet in the Middle Ages . In: Bernd Herrmann (ed.): Man and the environment in the Middle Ages . Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 3-596-24192-8 , pp. 76-77.
  134. ^ Adamson, p. 65.
  135. Hansjörg Küster: A short cultural history of spices . Verlag CH Beck, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-406-42025-7 , p. 224.
  136. It is mainly the seeds from three plant species, which are processed into mustard: black mustard ( Brassica nigra ), brown mustard ( Brassica juncea ) and white mustard ( Sinapis alba ).
  137. Hansjörg Küster: A short cultural history of spices . Verlag CH Beck, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-406-42025-7 and Andrew Dalby : Dangerous Tastes. The Story of Spices . The British Museum Press, London 2000, ISBN 0-7141-2771-X . Evidence can be found under the respective articles for the individual spices.
  138. Hansjörg Küster, for example, still uses this argument: Brief cultural history of spices . Verlag CH Beck, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-406-42025-7 , see for example p. 7 and p. 193.
  139. see e.g. B. Scully (1995), pp. 84-86; Jack Turner: Spice. The History of a Temptation . Harper Perennial, London 2005, ISBN 0-00-655173-4 , pp. 120-136 or Tom Richardson: Sweets. A History of Temptation . Bantam Books, London 2002, ISBN 0-553-81446-X , p. 157, all of which argue against this thesis.
  140. Jack Turner: Spice. The History of a Temptation . Harper Perennial, London 2005, ISBN 0-00-655173-4 , p. 120.
  141. ^ Scully (1995), p. 84 and p. 85.
  142. ^ Tom Richardson, p. 156 and p. 157.
  143. Holly Bishop: Robbing the Bees. A Biography of Honey . Free Press, New York 2005, ISBN 0-7432-5022-2 , pp. 92-111.
  144. ^ Terence Scully: Medieval France. The North . In: Adamson (Ed.): Regional Cuisines of Medieval Europe . P. 59.
  145. Tom Richardson, p. 112 and Sidney W. Mintz: Sweetness and Power. The Place of Sugar in Modern History . Penguin Books, London 1985, ISBN 978-0-14-009233-2 , pp. 24-30 and Dembinska, p. 48.
  146. Tom Richardson, pp. 117 and 131.
  147. Tom Richardson: Sweets. A History of Temptation , p. 131.
  148. ^ Tom Richardson, pp. 119 and 120.
  149. Schubert, pp. 47-48.
  150. Mark Kurlansky: Salt. A world history . Vintage, London 2003, ISBN 0-09-928199-6 , p. 164.
  151. Schubert, pp. 51-52 and Mark Kurlansky: Salt. A world history . Vintage, London 2003, ISBN 0-09-928199-6 , pp. 116-118.
  152. Hirschfelder, p. 103 and p. 137 as well as Ulf Dirlmeier: On the living conditions in the medieval city. Drinking water supply and waste disposal . In: Bernd Herrmann (ed.): Man and the environment in the Middle Ages . Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 3-596-24192-8 , p. 152.
  153. Adamson, pp. 48–51 and Schubert, p. 170.
  154. ^ Maria Dembinska: Food and drink in medieval Poland. Rediscovering a cuisine of the past . 1999, ISBN 0-8122-3224-0 , pp. 80 and 81.
  155. Liber de Coquina - The book of good cuisine . Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 978-3-937446-08-0 , pp. 35-36.
  156. Paczensky and Dünnebier, p. 182.
  157. Paczensky and Dünnebier, pp. 225–226.
  158. Scully (1995), pp. 138-146.
  159. Scully (1995), pp. 151-154.
  160. a b Paczensky and Dünnebier, p. 195.
  161. Paczensky and Dünnebier, p. 201.
  162. Hirschfelder, p. 137.
  163. Schubert, p. 164.
  164. Paczensky and Dünnebier, p. 92 and Scully (1995), pp. 35-38.
  165. Bee Wilson : Swindled. From poisonous sweets to Conterfeit Coffee. The Dark History of the Food Cheats . John Murray, Manchester 2008, ISBN 978-0-7195-6785-8 , p. XIV.
  166. Bee Wilson: Swindled. From poisonous sweets to Conterfeit Coffee. The Dark History of the Food Cheats . John Murray, Manchester 2008, ISBN 978-0-7195-6785-8 , p. 70.
  167. Paczensky and Dünnebier, p. 92.
  168. Bee Wilson: Swindled. From poisonous sweets to Conterfeit Coffee. The Dark History of the Food Cheats . John Murray, Manchester 2008, ISBN 978-0-7195-6785-8 , pp. 85-87.
  169. ^ Scully (1998), p. 3.
  170. a b Paczensky and Dünnebier, pp. 76–77.
  171. ^ Rudolf Grewe and Constance B. Hieatt (eds.): Libellus de arte coquinaria: An Early Northern Cookery Book , Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Tempe / Arizona, 2001, ISBN 0-86698-264-7 .
  172. Robert Maier (ed.): Liber de Coquina. The book of good cooking . FS Friedrich Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 3-937446-08-7 .
  173. ^ Scully (1998), p. 9.
  174. ^ Terence Scully (1998), pp. 11-14.
  175. Paczensky and Dünnebier, p. 78.
  176. ^ Constance B. Hieatt: Medieval Britain . In: Adamson (Ed.): Regional Cuisines of Medieval Europe . Pp. 27-28.
  177. ^ Francis B. Brévart: Cookbook from St. Dorotheen zu Wien. In: Author's Lexicon . Volume V, Col. 1 f.
  178. Melitta Weiss Adamson: The recipes in Codex J. 5 (no. 125) of the library of the Brixen seminary. Edition and commentary. In: Würzburg medical history reports. Volume 14, 1996, pp. 291-303.
  179. Paczensky and Dünnebier, p. 79 and John Dickie: Delicia. The epic history of the Italians and their food . Free Press, New York 2008, ISBN 978-0-7432-7799-0 , pp. 67-69.