French Food… Recipe Medieval Style

Juliette Bourdier, Medievalist

French Medieval Food

Bread, accompanied by meat and wine, was the centrepiece of the medieval diet. Vegetables were more for peasants, both in reality and imagination. Not all foods had the same cultural value. Each had its place within a hierarchy extending from heaven to earth.

Cereals were the basic food, primarily as bread. Oats were eaten as porridge, mainly in the Atlantic regions of Europe. By the end of the Middle Ages, wheat had become the most sought-after cereal. Rye was cultivated only in the roughest soils, whilst millet was a speciality prominent in the south west of France. A recent arrival, buckwheat, began spreading through Brittany.

Vegetables were a daily part of the peasant’s diet. Cabbage, in particular, was king of medieval gardens. In towns, itinerant vendors sold green vegetables (spinach, leeks and cabbage) used for making purées and soups.

Fruit was considered fit for the nobility…

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