domenica 29 aprile 2007

Medieval Cookery

Medieval cooking Regardless of the period being studied, facets of daily life are frequently among the most difficult subjects to pin down and examine. The same is true when studying medieval eating habits. In an age when writing materials were costly and literacy limited to an educated minority, a scarcity of documentation on what must have to contemporaries appeared trivial detail is only to be expected. Therefore, for much of what we claim to know of customs in the Roman, Viking and Anglo-Saxon settlements in Britain, we rely on archaeological evidence and conjecture based on illustrations, literature and other material only peripherally related to gastronomic arts.Manuscripts of more direct relevance to the study of cookery appear in the late 13th century. For England, undoubtedly the most significant would be the Forme of Cury, a late 14th century recipe collection; a great deal of dietary information can also be found in parts of the alliterative poem Piers Plowman. Castle records provide an insight into which foodstuffs a household purchased and in what quantities; dictionaries and phrasebooks provide lists of names for food, indicating items that stewards might have left out of their accounts, due to their being produced locally. Medical texts provide additional evidence, with their advice on the wholesomeness of different foods and maintaining a medieval physician's idea of a balanced and healthy diet.
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