Cooking in the medieval times was performed on very big scale, and food was cheap and plentiful. Foreign goods had to be bought at the nearest large town. Food trade was a primary business. It was also a way of determining class. The nobles would eat meat, white bread, pastries, and drink wine.
This sort of diet caused many health problems, such as skin troubles, digestive disorders, infections from decomposed proteins, scurvy, and tooth decay. A peasant would eat porridge, turnips, dark bread, and in the north they would drink beer or ale. Women were the expert cooks, and they seasoned their food heavily with pepper, cloves, garlic, cinnamon, vinegar, and wine. They paid close attention to the appearance of their meal. For instance, they might spread the feathers of a peacock that they are serving. Also, if a the eggs of a batter didnt make it yellow enough, they would add saffron (saffron is orange of yellow powder obtained from the stigmas of the saffron flower).Order now
Meat was expensive, so it was considered a luxury. This made butchers prosperous. The most common and least expensive was sheep. They would also eat birds: gulls, herons, storks, swans, cranes, cormorants, and vultures, just to name a few. Animals were cut up immediately after killing and salted to be preserved. Most meat was boiled because it the animals were wild, and the meat was sure to be tough.
Also, almonds were often cooked with the meat for flavor. Fish was also popular. Part of this was because the church required that you eat fish on Fridays. Fish was often cooked in ale.
People spent more on bread and grain then anything else, even though England had a national bread tax, which fixed the price of bread. Pastries were expensive because sugar was an import.
Because medical opinion advised that fruit shouldnt be eaten raw, it was preserved in honey and cooked into pastries. Almonds were often cooked into pastries as well. Fruit was more wild back then than it is today, so it may have been more flavorful. Most people grew their own vegetables. Also, many people owned their own cow and made cheese with its milk. They would sell most of the cheese at the local market.
Only gentleman had wine, which was often diluted with water or mixed with honey, ginger, or cinnamon to sweeten it. The only hot drink that they had in those days was mulled wine, and that was served only at festivities. Monks enjoyed mead, which is an alcoholic drink made by fermenting honey with water and adding spices.
Cooking in the medieval times was a big project. When preparing a most honorable feast, back then a cook may have been cooking for kings, queens, dukes, duchesses, counts, countesses, princes, princesses, marquis, marquises, barons, baronesses, lords and nobles alike. That could be a lot of people.
These feasts also seemed to last more then one day. There were many many supplies that were needed for a feast of this size and at the great length of one hundred and twenty days: one hundred cattle, one hundred and thirty sheep, one hundred and twenty pigs, one hundred piglets, and sixty large flattened pigs. Also needed was: six pounds of nutmeg, six pounds of cloves, six pounds of mace, six pounds of galingale, 30 loaves of sugar, 25 pounds of saffron, two charges each of ginger, Mecca ginger, cinnamon, grains of paradise, and pepper, six charges of almonds, one charge of rice, 412 gallons of wheat flour, 120 quintals of cheese, 30 pounds of amydon, 12 baskets of candied raisons, 12 baskets of candied figs, eight baskets of candied prunes, 110 pounds of dates, 40 pounds of pine nuts, 18 pounds of turnsole, 18 pounds of alkanet, 18 pounds of gold leaf, one pound of camphor, and one hundred ells. Also they would need: 110 gallons of white vinegar, 110 gallons of claret vinegar, 275 gallons of verjuice, and 137 gallons of oil. For each day a cook in medieval times would need: two hundred kids, two hundred lambs, one hundred calves, two thousand chickens, and six thousand eggs. To cook all of this, the cooks would need: .