Sunday, 10 August 2014

Good medieval eating

A Leicester historian Jill Bourne has looked at Leicester Borough Records to understand what food was eaten by the well off medieval merchant class and town burghers in the 15th century. This research was undertaken as part of her research for a book about the Leicester worthy William Wyggeston, several times Mayor of Leicester and also Calais, an important English possession in France and gateway for the lucrative English wool and other trade with Europe.

Beef  12th scale dolls house medieval food

I’d like to share her findings because, family interest in Wyggeston aside, MedievalMorsels is all about medieval foodstuffs, albeit modelled at one inch dolls house scale! Jill found that beef was most commonly mentioned followed by pork and mutton, then venison, kid, veal and rabbit.
Rabbit one inch miniature medieval food
Medieval miniatures - Pork at twelfth scale 
 
Venison - one inch scale dollhouse food 

As for poultry hens, capons (neutered male birds) and geese are frequently mentioned and then swan, partridge, pheasant, woodcock, pigeon, heron, fieldfare and snipe. MedievalMorsels obviously need to add a few more birds to add to its present medieval and Tudor poultry range! 

One inch scale medieval food roast goose
12th scale Capon (fattened neutered cock bird)

As well as fresh water fish, fresh sea fish was transported to Leicester, even though it is far inland. Eels and herring were the most popular medieval fishy fare. Whoop! MedievalMorsels models both of these, and more fish besides! 

12th scale eels - medieval miniature eating
Pickled white herring medieval dolls house style
Red herring medieval dollhouse food
Jill has also found that vegetables mentioned in the Records are beans, onions, garlic, leeks - all good pottage material! Whereas for fruits apples and pears were most frequently documented, with imported figs, grapes and raisins and one reference to pomegranates.

Obviously if you had spare income, and the aspiring merchant classes could became very rich from English and European trade, you could eat very well in the medieval towne of Leicester!