Thursday, November 3

Medieval Musings save dinner

Ever want to try something different for dinner? Feel like your in a eating rut? Or how about just looking to put a spin on a meal? I often feel this way. 

You begin to feel like your eating the same thing over and over. Or you've run out of ideas for the proteins. I actually find that sometimes all I need is a theme and dinner will unveil itself.

Take the other day, I had a day off and was flipping thru channels when I came across a movie about Elizabeth's rule over England. This actually made me wonder what they really ate during the period. So I whipped out a book and to my astonishment, many of the dishes sounded familiar to ones I know. 

I decided to dig further and went looking for a little Medieval musings. I wanted to find which spices and ingredients were common/available during this period. Here is what I learned: 
*Poultry and pork were the two main meats. However, fish was extremely common and eaten frequently. 

*Spices such as salt, pepper, saffron, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, and ginger were the staple in many dishes.

*Vegetables were never really treated as a dish themselves but, as filler and flavor enhancers. 

*Sweets were limited to special functions and were not as sweet as modern desserts. 

*Dairy such as milk, butter, cheese, were only used in cooking not really used for eating. 

*You needed a kitchen staff equal to your household to pull off meals on time, they took hours...I mean hours

*Recipes were not really written, but learned from person to person.

I found all of this information interesting and inspiring so I decided to make an entire meal based on Medieval English dishes. I had to remember a few things when I began:
*Most meals were heavily laden with spices and salts to cover up rancid or aged ingredients. 
*Many dishes were stewed in pots for long periods. This created sauces and broths, which were generously served over stale or dry bread. 
*Many meals had multiple courses and dishes to them.

I decided to take traditional recipes I have learned in travel, attending period fairs, in research and adapt them to modern cooking methods. When my planning was done my menu was:
*Fugus soup
*Chicken in a pot
*Yorkshire pudding (not to period but really good)
*Fine cakes

Dinner was amazing and even tho the dishes are extremely similar to modern ones, it made dinner feel like more of an event than the same old thing!

If you'd like to give it a try, keep an eye out, I will be posting all the recipes this week!

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