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~ Medieval Food and Cooking ~

Food in the Middle Ages

Meat, game, bread and cheese as well as eggs, butter, milk, nuts, fruit, herbs, vegetables and grain; plus honey from beehives for sweetness and - for those who lived in coastal areas - shellfish would all have been familiar foodstuff to the people of the Middle Ages.

Ale too was consumed - across all classes, although the amounts drunk, to a degree, were determined by wealth and also class. Wine was drunk - by those who could afford it - although this was typically mixed with water.

Fish, particularly herrings - often salted was also an integral part of the diet of the medieval people. This to a large extent was because fish days had been designated by the church - which had lain down strict rules for when fish should be eaten.

These rules, however, over time, did become more relaxed and in fact - except for annual fasts when at least by most they were observed - by the fifteenth century only Fridays were deemed as fish or fasting days. Having said this the rules did continue to be followed by some more devout members of society and the church; who in addition to Fridays also observed Wednesdays and Saturdays as being fish days.

Although food in the Middle Ages, as previously stated, was not so very different from our own, it should however be noted that there was a distinct difference - particularly in times of harvest failure and famine - between the foods eaten by the rich and the poor.

Medieval Food - Gruel Recipe >>


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