It’s a terrible feeling?when you realise that you looked away from your delicious pottage for just a second and now it’s burnt. It’s too late to start another pot, and people are depending on this for their meal. We’ve compiled the list of medieval sources about removing the burnt taste from the pottage here.
Alex the Potter of Flaming Gargoyles says “It’s great!”
Amsterdam Ceramics provides a look at the ceramic finds in Amsterdam over the past 900 years. It’s organised by time period and each piece has a brief description of what the item is and the size. Each chapter has a brief intro with some other (non ceramic) archeological finds. (Iron handsaw! Finally we find someone who has the evidence!)
The Medieval Cook
Bridget Ann Henisch
This is not a cookbook. There are no redactions and no receipes.
There is an awful lot of in paragraph sourcing though, and that’s nice, rather than having the information paragraphed with a footnote directing to the original source.
This book is about cooks. How they were treated, their station in life, from the cooks attending to the richest nobles to the ordinary “cotttage” cook.
There’s some illustations detailing cooks in manuscripts but the illustrations are done in a much better way compared tosome books and aren’t a weak part of the book.
Well referenced with plenty of primary sources used.
Interesting word with a good informative tone without being too dry.
Reccomend for anyone interested in the social and historical context of cooks and food itself.
Not for anyone who just wants to cook medieval receipes with no context.
Images in the Margins by Margot Mcilwain Nishimura
This is a cute little book about the marginalia often shown in medieval manuscript. It talks about th history of marginalia and how it started in the large capital letters of earlier manuscripts.
Images in the Margins does a good job of detailing which manuscript in particular the images come form so it’s possible to look up digital copies of the text later. There’s also brief history notes alongside the marginalia, talking about the importance of hunting for instance alongside hunting marginalia.
Marginalia often serve as a good insight into the mindsets of the people copying the manuscript. It also often gives us clues into the more common aspects which aren’t always depicted in other places, such as the image of the swimmers.
[tabs] [tab title=”Publishers Blurb”] “Images in the Margins” is the third in the popular Medieval Imagination series of small, affordable books drawing on manuscript illumination in the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum and the British Library. Each volume focuses on a particular theme and provides an accessible, delightful introduction to the imagination of the medieval world. An astonishing mix of mundane, playful, absurd, and monstrous beings are found in the borders of English, French, and Italian manuscripts from the Gothic era. Unpredictable, topical, often irreverent, like the “New Yorker” cartoons of today, marginalia images drawn in the margins of manuscripts were a source of satire, serious social observation, and amusement for medieval readers. Through enlarged, full-color details and a lively narrative, this volume brings these intimately scaled, fascinating images to a wider audience. [/tab] [/tabs]
Something that I think more people should look into is manners. We spend all this time on clothing and cooking but not on how the food was presented, why it was presented the way it was, and how good mannered people functioned in society in general.
So here’s the most comprehensive book available on the subject for 14-15th century re-enactors. Available free online!
The first link is mostly just the editors summaries as given in the sidenotes, and is a condensed version of the original text.
The second link has the original text (in digital form) and then the editors summaries from the first link on the right. It’s a bit harder to follow though, as it appears a bit disjointed in this form and the original text.
Early English Meals and manners is a collection of various texts and poems which detail aspects of manners and dining in the 14-16th Century English time period. (I must find some texts about France and other countries manners because that would be awesome to see the differences between the various countries.)
Boke of Nature
John Russell is known to have lived in 1415 but his date of birth and death are unclear. It’s likely that the Boke Of Nature is early 15th C, although it is most likely based on an early text which would be late 14th Century.
This particular version of the text includes sections of the Boke of Carvery, which is a known 16th century text so the book has been copied several times since the authors death.
The table manners described in the Boke of Nature, are for a pretty noble table, as John Russell was in service to the Duke of Gloucester when he wrote this book.
It’s still a fascinating read into the intricate manners of the late 14th/early 15th Century.
Of course, there’s nothing quite like a physical copy of a book, so here’s the link to the book on book depository.
Feature image is of a banquet given in Paris in 1378 by Charles V of France (center, blue) for Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor (left) and his son Wenceslaus, King of the Romans. Each diner has two knives, a square salt container, napkin, bread and a plate; by Jean Fouquet, 1455?60.
We sell napkins on our store, so if you need nice napkins for your feast kit, check them out.
It’s not as easy to be confident with medieval recipes as modern cooking. Even English medieval food is a foreign cuisine, translated from a foreign language and calling for strange ingredients. Here’s three great cooking books for those just get starting in medieval cooking.
One of the first medieval cookbooks, this book has been simplified for the modern tastebuds and is designed around a very simple shopping centre so it’s easy to get all the ingredients listed. Mostly uses 14th and 15th century english recipes.
One of my favourites, this one branches about a bit further with some roman and middle eastern recipes used as well. It has the initial translation of the recipes and then a modern interpretation of that recipe. I’ve found some of these recipes to be a bit simplified compared to the original text but it’s pleasing to modern tastebuds and the recipes do work.
Medieval Kitchen is a lot more specialised than the other two, focusing on 14th and 15th French and Italian recipes. I personally find the italian recipes to be a little more weird than the French ones, but again, these have been slightly simplified for modern tastebuds and the authors provide good substitutes for when ingredients are harder to find.
For some history in cooking and dining, plus a little bit on table manners, I’d recommend Cooking and Dining in Medieval England by Peter Brears. Although it hasn’t got a lot of recipes in it, it’s a great place to get an understanding of how the rooms were set out and how and why they cooked and dined they way they did.
Featured image is from Livre du roi Modus et de la reine Ratio, a 14th century French manuscript, currently located in Bilblioth?que national de France. It depicts a scence of peasants breaking bread together.
Dress Accessories 1150-1450
Dress Accessories is one of the Museum of London Collections. And like all MoL books, it is faaaaaboulous.
I mean, the text is dry, this is very much an academic book. But for proper details regarding the found artifacts, with proper dates and context for the finds, MoL does it best.
Dress Accessories is about the accessories which people worn upon their persons. It contains finds found in London (and everything is English because it’s Museum of London so no need to worry about, would my persona have this) and this includes
girdles, buckles, strap ends (for belts), mounts, brooches, buttons, lace chapes, hair accessories, pins, beads, chains, pendants, finger rings, bells, purses, cased mirrors, combs, cosmetic sets, and needle cases.
Because it’s an academic text, each illustration of the finds has a scale on the page, which is very handy for anyone who intends to make the items discovered.
Carving animals was an important part of medieval life. At feasts, the animal would be presented to the table, and then taken and carved into bit sized bits. For the most part, a meal could be eaten with just a spoon.
Here are some videos in which Elden is taught to carve a standing rib beef roast and a spatchcock.
For more information to learning to carve in a fifteenth century manner, we also have the below pamphlets available.
In Service of the Duke
by?Christian Henry Tobler
To state the obvious, this is a magnificent facsimile of a German 15th Century fighting treatise (with translation). It?s visually and texturally stunning. For anyone with an interest in understanding the fighting techniques of this period, I?m assured it?s a must have. But – I?m definitely not a fighter and not qualified to discuss its finer points regards technique; others far better qualified will handle that later.
So why am I doing a review? – because this tome also contains a wealth of information on other aspects of medieval life. Everything from clothing to horse accessories, head wear, different ways hose and purpoints can be joined together, seam lines for the middle layers of clothes, men?s and ladies underwear? Wait, Ladies? Yes, the tome also contains a section on legal resolutions for common problems such as domestic disputes.
Seriously, this book has a wider audience than the original author could ever have imagined. Plain and simple, this is a beautiful book with a great deal of information for all aspects of 15th Century living history.
Taking care of your beautiful household linens – Table cloths:
With the best will in the world ? stuff gets spilled, and some things are more difficult to remove than others.
For a general wash;
- Treat any normal stains with an oxygen-based or colour safe bleach, following the directions regards pre-soaking etc. We advise not using chlorine bleach as this can damage the textile.
- A hot wash with a regular detergent on the delicate cycle should wash clean the table cloth, and help to keep the fringe from getting tangled.
- To minimize or avoid ironing, lay the table cloth out wet from the wash on a counter or table, smooth out the wrinkles, and then hang so it falls straight. Otherwise, a short tumble dry – again, this is to keep the fringe maintenance down to a minimum.
- Once dry, fold carefully and store under other linens so that the folds will set as seen in period art.
- Alternatively, you can iron the patterns in as desired with a hot iron and steam.
To remove candle wax –
There are a number of ways to achieve this but our preferred method (and one used in period) is as follows;
- simply scrape off the excess candle wax;
- lay several sheets of CLEAN (non-waxed) paper underneath the candlewax spill and another sheet of paper on top of the area;
- with the iron on a low heat, gently iron over the spot to allow the brown paper to draw out the oily residue left behind (yes, they did have irons ? though it took considerably more technique and experience to use them);
- IMPORTANT!! Keep the Iron moving so that you don?t burn the fabric!
- Move the affected area onto fresh sections of the paper so that they can draw the oils more efficiently.
To aid with the removal of Red wine stains;
- Mop as much as you can but do NOT rub at the red wine ? it will just grind into the fibers;
- If you can (depending on the state of the diners), dilute the stain with water ( or soda water) and mop with a clean towel;
- Then (and this would have been an expensive fix in period), pour a generous amount of salt onto the freshly mopped red wine spill and allow it to dry;
Wash as usual, but before drying, check to see if the stain is still there ? some stain may require stronger solutions to deal with any residual stain.
Don’t have linens yet? Why not buy some of the beautiful ones at Mainly Medieval? The featured image on this post is our?