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Please email BJ directly with additions or corrections to the FAQ.

Medieval & Renaissance Theme Wedding FAQ: Questions about the Feast

6.1: What kinds of foods did people serve at wedding feasts during the Middle Ages?

6.2: Sallat (salad), tarts, potage (soup), custard, poultry, suckling pig and spicy mulled wine sound great! But pigeon pies, eels, boar's head, and roast peacock with the feathers put back on! I don't think my guests would go for this, so let me rephrase that question. What kinds of foods could I serve that would have the "feel" of a medieval banquet but would still be edible by my modernday guests?

6.3: Does anyone have any information about the menu at places like Medieval Times (where the knights fight while you have dinner)? I know they do wedding receptions.

6.4: How about drinks? What kinds of beverages did people drink during the Middle Ages?

6.5: I know that a wedding cake is not a medieval custom, but it's expected in our family to have one. Any ideas of how we could incorporate a wedding cake into the menu and still keep the medieval ambience?

6.6: We have our menu all worked out but need some ideas about how to decorate the banquet hall and serve the food and drink in keeping with the medieval theme. Any suggestions?

6.7: Can you recommend any books or websites where I can get recipes for some of the medieval dishes (and maybe others) mentioned above?

6.8: Bibliography of Medieval Cookbooks compiled by Jaelle of Armida

Medieval & Renaissance Theme Wedding FAQ: Questions about 
the Feast

(c) The Medieval and Renaissance Theme Wedding FAQ was compiled
by and is maintained and copyrighted by Barbara J. Kuehl.  All
suggestions and additions should be emailed to her at  This document may be freely redistributed
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6.1:  What kinds of foods did people serve at wedding feasts
      during the Middle Ages?

From: (Phyllis Magill)
Mutton (lamb), roast peacock served with the tail feathers on,
braised lettuces, quail, venison, boar, eels, breads, and
>From Amy Michaels 
In the 15th century, fowl was popular at feasts--and the goal
was to try to get the bird to look as life-like as possible.
The cooks would put all the feathers *back on* the bird, along
with its head and such.  The ability to make the bird ultimately
look alive was considered culinary genius.
From: Karin Oughton 
Here's some info on 16th Cy (Tudor) Britain which is very
similar to medieval (courtesy English Heritage).  Foodstuffs for
the upper classes were generally roast and boiled meat, poultry,
fish, pottages, frumenty, and bread. To a lesser extent they
also ate fruit and vegetables, but many believed in the advice
given the BOKE OF KERVYNGE c.1500,  "Beware of green sallettes &
rawe fruytes for they wyll make your soverayne seke."  The
greatest change over this period was the increasing popularity
of sugar, so there were a lot of sweetmeat and sweet seasonings
amongst the aristocracy (and very few teeth).  Tableware
changed, too: they no longer used bread trenchers much but now
had wooden boards with a central hollow for the meat and gravy
and a small side hollow for the salt.  Glass is more widespead
and pottery cups known as Cistercian Ware appears to have been
popular.  A prehunt breakfast served to QEI had :  cold roast
veal, capon, beef, goose, mutton, pigeon pies, savoury tongue
pie, sausages and savoury snacks.
Spices were used quite commonly.  Cinnamon, cloves, mace,
saffron, and especially pepper were savored.  Ginger, anise,
nutmeg are also mentioned along with many common (and not so
common) herbs such as parsley, basil, galingale, rosemary
(mentioned in Shakespears' "Hamlet") and thyme. Vegetables were
also of common consumption as part of the menu, though the
medieval feast did not follow our appetizer-entree-dessert
pattern. For example, for a time the sallat was served nearly
last but, according to legend, a certain royal served sallat to
his guests first so to fill their stomachs and save more of the
venison for himself.
From: Fleming )
An excellent source for period salads or "compound Sallet" is
Gervase Markham's _The English Housewife_. Some of the
ingredients are:  chives, scallions, radish roots, boiled
carrots, turnips; also young lettuce, cabbage lettuce,
asparagus, purslane and herbs with vinegar, oil and sugar and
cucumber served with vinegar, oil, and pepper.  Another compound
sallat includes:  young buds and knots of wholesome herbs such
as red sage, mints, lettuce, violets, marigolds, and spinach,
served with vinegar, salad oil and sugar.  Still another
compound sallat includes:  blanched almonds, shredded raisins,
shredded figs, capers, twice as many olives, currants, red sage
and spinach all mixed together with a store of sugar.  These
were put in the bottom of a dish and vinegar and oil put on top
with more sugar.  Then oranges, lemons were cut into thin slices
without the outer peel and covered the bottom layer.  Then thin
leaves of red cauliflower which covered the oranges and lemons.
Then "old olives" to cover that, and slices of pickled cucumber
with the inward heart of cabbage lettuce cut into slices.  Adorn
the sides of the dish and the top with more slices of oranges
and lemons.
From: Amy Michaels 
Here is an actual banquet menu for a medieval feast.  It comes
from a book called "Two fifteenth-century cookery books" and is
edited by Thomas Austin.  The introduction given by the author
is interesting:  "Medieval feasts were traditionally served in
three courses.  Each course included a soup, followed by a wide
range of baked, roasted, and boiled dishes, and finally an
elaborate 'sotelty', a lifelike (often edible) scene sculpted in
colored marzipan or dough...The bounty of medieval feasts is
legendary.  One early historian noted that in 1398, King Richard
II [presided over a feast].  A variety of choice morsels was set
out to satisfy a trenchman's every whim ... gilded peacock and
festooned boar's head were highlights of the menu."
Oystres en Grauey--oysters steamed in almond milk (15th c.)
Brede--bread flavored with ale (15th c.)
Chawettys--tarts filled with spicy pork or veal & dates (15th c)
Pigge Ffarced--stuffed roast suckling pig (15th c.)
Goos in Sawse Madame--goose in a sauce of grapes and garlic
(14th c.)
Caboches in Potage--stewed Cabbage flavored with cinnamon and
cloves (14th c.)
Crustade Lombarde--fruited custard in a pie (15th c.)
Hippocras--spicy mulled wine (14th c.)
From: Judy Gerjuoy 
Here is a late 14th century wedding menu.

>From the Marriage of Marquis Gian Giacomo Trivulzio with
Beatrice d'Avalos d'Aragona.
1. Rosewater-scented water for the hands
   Pastries with pine nuts and sugar
   Other cakes made with almonds and sugar; similar to marzipan
2. Asparagus (to the amazement of the guests, since it was
enormous and out of season)
3. Tiny sausages and meatballs
4. Roast grey partridge and sauce
5. Whole calves' heads, gilded and silvered
6. Capons and pigeons, accompanied by sausages, hams and wild
boar, plus delicate 'potages'
7. Whole roast sheep, with a sour cherry sauce
8. A great variety of roast birds - turtledoves, partridges,
pheasants, quail, figpeckers - accompanied by olives as a
9. Chicken with sugar and rosewater
10. Whole roast suckling pig, with an accompanying 'brouet'
11. Roast peacock, with various accompaniments
12. A mixture of eggs, milk, sage, flour and sugar (salviata?)
13. Quinces cooked with sugar, cinnamon, pine nuts, and
14. Various preserves, made with sugar and honey
15. Ten different 'torte' and an abundance of candied spice.
Santich, Prospect Books, 1995.  ISBN 0907325 59 9, page 37.
From: (David Friedman)
Sugar was apparently expensive--and the recipes are for the
upper (or upper middle) class.
>From (Barbara Jean Kuehl)
This is from a book called "Life on a Medieval Barony," by
William Stearns Davis, a professor of history at the University
of Minnesota:  "[Sugar is available in northern France as early
as the 13th Century.]  It comes from the Levant, in small
irregular lumps. Its flavoring qualities are delightful, but it
is too expensive to use in cookery.  The ordinary sweetening is
still that of the Greeks and Romans, honey, supplied from the
well-kept hives of the bees belonging to the [local] monastery."
From: Amy Michaels 
There are some foods you should do and some you should avoid
(because they were "discovered" in the New World and European
medievals didn't have them):
    To consider:                      To avoid:
Pigeon/squab                 Squash, incl. pumpkins
Fennel                       Potatoes
Leeks, shallots              Tomatoes
Apples, Plums                Chocolate
Parsnips, turnips            Yams, sweet potatoes
Breads and pastries
Eggs, custards
From: (DWilhelmy)
As far as authenticity goes, i would add corn to the list of
foods to avoid.
Chocolate was not available BUT carob was.
From: (David Friedman)
The only period carob recipe I know of (Byzantine Murri) uses
carob as one of many minor flavorings in a condiment. So far
as I know, the idea of using carob to get a chocolate effect
is modern.

6.2:  Sallat (salad), tarts, potage (soup), custard, poultry,
    suckling pig and spicy mulled wine sound great!  But pigeon
    pies, eels, boar's head and roast peacock with the feathers
    put back on?  I don't think my guests would go for this, so
    let me rephrase my question.  What kinds of foods would
    have the "feel" of a medieval banquet but still be edible
    by my modernday guests?

From: Karin Oughton 
We usually find, when we make a "Mock - Medieval" feast, that
the best menu runs something like this:  Pottage/soup with fresh
bread, cheese tart, various roasts (but including venison,
pheasant and beef) with lots of different sauces like rowan
jelly, raisin & apple & honey, mint, etc., pears in wine, and
perhaps something like jellied milk cubes (similar to turkish
From: (Trystan L. Bass)
A Medieval feast usually revolved around a very fancy roast
(chicken, beef, venison, etc.).  Some modern British foods are
just variations on Medieval and Renaissance dishes.  For
example, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and Cornish pasties
(little meat and/or veggie pies) come from the Medieval love of
combining meat and pastry.
From: (DLW)
When I was a college undergrad, we had a traditional mid-winter
"Feast of the Lion" for college leaders.  The motif was always a
"Robinhood" atmosphere.  There was a wassail served and a toss
drank (the brandy snifters which held the wassail were the party
favors).  Food was roasted chicken, yams/sweet potatoes, green
beans, and a bread pudding.  All except for the yams [and green
beans], all of these items would have been available in medieval
times.  There was cake and coffee at the end but, by that time,
everyone had been swept enough into the atmosphere that this
modern idea didn't spoil it.  You might try other fingerfoods as
well as fruit. The only standing joke was that if it were a real
medieval feast, we would eat with only a knife and no forks.
Forks are ok in various times and places.  Italy in the
Renaissance, and Elizabethan England (although they were
something of a curiosity) come to mind.
From: Gwalhafed 
I am a member of the Cardiff Arthurian society.  Some of the
foods which we use in our banquets are: Emberday tart,
Elderflower cheese pies, Brie tart, gingerbread (with or without
apple sauce), chicken legs in honey and spices.  You could also
try a soteltie (there are several different spellings). This was
a dish brought in between courses to show the chef's skill and
the host's wealth and good taste. Sotelties varied tremendously.
Some of the ones we have had at our banquets have included a
papier mache dragon filled with sweets, a sword in a cake shaped
like a stone/anvil, a pig's head stuffed with pate, and a
marzipan fish.  At the reception table, you could put the
recipes next to the food.
From: (Elizabeth Pruyn)
I suggest Brie tart.  It's authentic but quiche-like, so modern
guests should like it.  Here are two variations for the tart.
The first closely follows the original recipe with delicious
results. The second calls for cream and is considerbly richer.
Both are prepared according to the same instructions.

  SERVES 8-10                        SERVES 10-12
8-inch uncooked pie pastry         8-inch uncooked pie pastry
1 lb young Brie cheese             l/2 lb young Brie cheese
6 egg yolks, beaten                1/2 cup heavy cream
1/8 t saffron                      3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 t light brown sugar            1/8-1/4 t powdered ginger
3/8 t powdered ginger              1/8 t saffron
salt                               1/2 t brown sugar

1. Bake pie pastry at 425 degrees for 10 minutes Let cool.
2. Remove rind from Brie.  Optional: cut rind into pieces about
an inch square and sprinkle evenly on pie crust. This will give
the tart a stronger cheese flavor.
3 Combine Brie with remaining ingredients in a blender or with
an egg beater.  Add salt to taste: the amount will depend on the
age of the Brie and whether or not you use the rind. Mixture
should be smooth.
4. Pour liquid into pastry shell.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until set and
brown on top.
This recipe is from "To The King's Taste" by Lorna J. Sass
I recommend roasted Cornish game hens.  They are period looking,
very versatile, relatively inexpensive and, most important, 
modernfolks will eat them.
From: Amy Michaels 
I am a medievalist and was at a conference in England last year
where the organizers tried to "recreate" a medieval meal from a
menu in a fourtheenth century poem called _Piers Plowman_.  The
first course was leeks in pastry.  The second course was
fruit-stuffed cornish game hen.  For dessert we had prunes
stewed in wine.
From: Joyce Miller 
Some friends of mine had a pig roast, and it was a full-sized
pig, too.  We contacted a local butcher who sold us the pig and
also rented us the electric spit.  We had to start it at 3:00
a.m., but other than that, it was relatively painless.  We did
find, however, that we had to carve off the outer meat as it
finished cooking, and place it an an oven to keep warm, since we
wanted to serve everyone at once.  If people will just be
feeding randomly during the day, just serve the meat as it
finishes cooking.
From: (Derly N. Ramirez II )
At my sister's medieval-themed wedding we served crusty bread
and cheese, barley broth, baked acorn squash, brisket, roasted
cornish hen, baked apples and fruit tarts.  Served in three
courses it made a lovely meal.
From: (Lanfear)
We had a buffet for the reception which I put together.  I
gathered coupons for deli sliced lunch meats, bought them on
sale, froze them ahead..then spent the night before the wedding
rolling them up in cute rows.  We also had various cheeses,
chilled grapes and strawberries, fresh rolls of various kinds
from a bakery, olives, pickles, crackers, wine, apple juice and
several other things that I no longer recall.
From: Oxford Arthurian Society 
I mainly relied on lists of possible ingredients rather than
actual recipes. We had an oat and leek soup from an Irish
recipe, bread, cheese, apples, roast chicken, venison sausages,
peppered pork chops, parsnips, baked onions and a hero's portion
 of rabbit masquerading as hare, all washed down with lots of
beer, cider and homebrewed elderflower and hedgerow wines.
For a dessert, you can glaze fruit like strawberries and grapes
with sugar.
From: (SUE)
We MAY have an ice sculpture as our "ornamental" piece which came
at the end of every medieval feast.  Shrimp would be throughout 
it so, as it melts, people can pull off the shrimp during the 
dance.  I saw it done at a military banquet and it worked quite 
well.  We could do it with strawberries as well.  We'll buy the 
mold at a restaurant supply store and freeze it ourselves.
From: (RotondoA)
The centerpieces at our wedding were edible! The caterer placed
a fancy mirror on each table and piled them high with stemmed
strawberries. A candle was placed in the center. It looked very
pretty and they were delicious. Silver bowls of powdered sugar
and chocolate sauce were also placed on the tables for dipping!
From: Patricia D. Mooney
We offered venison as an entree (eating utensils required!).
Although we offered a medieval cookbook to the restaurant, they
preferred not to use it.  The type of venison was antelope,
which probably defies tradition. But it was very good.  And we
topped it all off with mead, of course.
From: Berwyn [] (BRgarwood)
We just had an event where we served sixty.  The opening course
had homemade bread, with honey butter and a relish tray of
cheeses and dried fruits.  This was followed by an onion and
almond creme soup.  The next course was chicken breasts in a
wonderful sauce with raisins or currants, and lemonwhite, which
is rice cooked with lemon rind and raisins.  The high point came
with the next course, when a subtlety was presented to the head
table.  It was a dragon, with body and limbs made of bread, and
a papier mache' head with a flaming candle in its mouth. The
body (a round loaf maybe 18" <46 cm> in diameter) was then
opened and seen to be filled with beef stew.  Dessert consisted
of cookies and cake served during the dance.  The cake was a
three layer job decorated like a tower.  Cookies were in the
shape of mushrooms made of merengues cemented with chocolate.
Now here comes the good part.  All the cooking except for the
rice was done at the cook's home the day before, and only needed
re-heating at the site.  And the better part, we were able to
serve this feast for only $5.00 a head.  Its amazing what can be
done on a tight budget and a little imagination.

6.3:  Does anyone have any information about the menu at places
      like Medieval Times (where the knights fight while you
      have dinner)?  I know they do wedding receptions.

From: (Karen T. Smith)
Here is the menu from "Medieval Times" in the Chicago suburbs.
I went about two years ago and, while they aren't actually
keeping to what was available in the Middle Ages, they did try
to keep things authentic looking.  Everything was on pewter
plates or in pewter bowls.  There were no eating utensils.
When you first sat down you had a plate with veggies (carrots
and celery and maybe cucumber) with some dip--which tasted like
Thousand Island salad dressing to me.  After that they delivered
some soup in a bowl with a handle so you could drink the soup.
It had barley in it and was either a vegetable or beef stock
based soup.  Nothing too chunky in it as you had to drink the
the soup.  For the main course we were served a few ribs and
a half chicken.  I don't know what kind of marinade was used--
but the people I was with kind of enjoyed getting their hands
and chins all greasy.  They handed out those little packaged
towelettes at the end (definitely a modernday addition to any
feast where you have to use your hands!)  They also served
half of a roasted potato with seasoning on it and a pastry
for dessert.

6.4:  How about drinks?  What kinds of beverages did people
     drink during the Middle Ages?

From: (Trystan L. Bass)
The basic drinks until the 17th century were water, beer, ale,
wine, mead, milk, and rarely fruit juices (most were fermented).
Tea and coffee did not exist until the end of the Middle Ages
and neither did sparkling wines, but you may want to ignore this
in favor of modern toasting traditions!  Sweet and fruity wine 
punches would be appropriate but avoid carbonation if you want 
to keep to the theme.
From: (David Friedman)
Coffee came into use in al-Islam around 1400, at the very end
of the middle ages.
From: Judy Gerjuoy 
6.5:  I know that wedding cake is not a medieval custom, but
    it's expected in our family to have one.  Any ideas of how
    could incorporate a wedding cake into the menu and still
    keep the medieval ambience?

From: Patricia D. Mooney
The hardest part was our cake.  We searched high and low for
ideas.  We were told that cakes weren't authentic -- instead,
medieval guests brought tiny desserts, cookies, etc. and piled
them together -- the forerunner of the wedding cake.  We said
the heck with it and went with a regular old cake.
From: Becky (
Quoting from the Aug/Sept issue of Modern Bride:
    "In medieval England, guests brought small cakes and
    piled them on the center of a table.  The bride and
    groom then attempted to kiss over them.  A baker from
    France conceived the idea of icing all the small cakes
    together in one large cake."
This was the forerunner of our modern tradition of the wedding
cake and smashing it into each others face (a quite repulsive
habit, not at all befitting such a grand occasion) came from the
tradition of the bride and groom eating off a common plate and
feeding each other, possibly symbolising the joining of the two
as one through marriage.
>From (Miche)
At a medieval style wedding I attended a few years ago, the
wedding 'cake' was a huge pile of almond biscuits, made by the
bride (with help from me) the night before.
From: Krin Oughton 
At our mock medieval feasts, our "soteltie" (the main display
piece) is often a wonderfully decorated cake.
>From (Trystan L. Bass)
Sweets have always been popular, even in medieval times, so a
wedding cake won't be too out of place.  You could decorate it
with greenery and flowers or have heraldic symbols painted on
in colored icing. Several very fancy cakes in a recent bridal
magazine were shaped like fairytale castles!
A wedding cake can be viewed as sculpture (ours was a castle,
complete with a functioning front gate).
From: (Orilee Ireland-Delfs)
At my protogee's wedding, the wedding cake was a castle with a
marzipan bride and groom at the gate.
From: (L. Andrade)
My friend Dee had a wedding cake that looked like a castle. She
started by calling bakeries in her hometown but nobody could do
it for her. She finally found someone in another town who was
willing to travel to Dee's town to build the cake for her at the
house.  The cake was BEAUTIFUL (and HUGE!).
From: (Merri Dodd)
I wanted a castle cake, but have settled for 4 heart shaped
tiers with a castle in a globe with confetti when you shake it
music box (3 dragons on the "wall" around the castle outside the
globe) from the SanFrancisco Music Box Company.
From: (SUE)
We're having a flat white cake with custard in the middle, 
decorated with fans (one big, two little) and flowers around the
edge in navy blue with dark green leaves.  The reason for not 
tiering is that we are having a medieval wedding and either 
would go all out and create a castle cake costing $300-400 or 
go flat because tiering is so Victorian (so is baking powder but
moot point).
From: (Lisa Pytlik Zilling)
Since I don't eat sugar and my new husband does not like sugar
much, we had our "cake" made out of bread.  Each round loaf was
cut horizontally and spread with a layer of different types of
cheese (mostly cream cheese concoctions) and then the loaves
were fit onto tiered trays and garnished with fruits and
vegetables--I was amazed at how beautiful it turned out.  Oh,
but we did also serve some sheet cakes along with the bread
cake, for our guests who do like sugar.
From: (karl steffens)
Why don't you try a trifle? You don't really need to bake for
it, or if you happen to have a poundcake-mishap (as in too hard)
around, that'll do nicely.  Depending on the amount of
participants in your group choose a large bowl (clear glass
looks really nice).  Layer slices of poundcake, canned fruit
without much juice,whipped cream (maybe the storebought freezer
variety), vanilla pudding incl. a splash of f.ex. rum on every
layer of cake. See, that you have several layers each.  Let it
soak for a while, so the various flavours mix.  Trust me, it is
delicious! You are free to choose as ingredients, what you like
and the booze just makes it taste well together.

6.6:  We have our menu all worked out but need some ideas about
    how to decorate the banquet hall and serve the food and
    drink in keeping with the medieval theme.  Any suggestions?

From: (Trystan L. Bass)
If you can find or rent them, get brass, silver, pewter, or
wooden servingware.  Pewter goblets are a great touch -- get a
pair for yourselves so you can toast each other in style!
Fellowship Foundry [see the list of catalogs for their address]
has several fanciful wedding goblet sets -- Arthur and
Guinevere, Romeo and Juliet, two dragons whose tails form a
heart shape, etc.
From: Amy Michaels 
You could be very authentic by having only one drinking glass.
At medieval feasts, a single wine cup would be passed from guest
to guest, and the lip of the cup would be wiped after each
person drank.  Rather unsanitary for the guests, but this could
be a nice "medieval" gesture for the wedding couple.
From: Kristiina Prauda 
We arranged the family tables in a wide U, with us in the middle.
From: (Jason L)
We set two picnic tables across one end for the 'head table' and
two rows leading away from the head table like the arrangement
in an old English manor house.  That left a 'playing' area
in-between the rows of tables for the entertainment.  I bought
a bolt of cheap green fabric that I used for the tablecloth
at the reception feast.  All I had to do was roll it out across
the tables and cut it to length. Then I placed several smaller
squares of fabric using the same colors as the banners on top of
the tables. I had also been searching for every store that had
baskets, wood plates, trays, and bowls on sale, and had
accumulated about three dozen or so. On the morning of the
wedding a couple of people were dispatched to find flowers,
fruits and vegetables to fill the baskets and bowls as part of
the general (and edible) decorations. The head table where we
sat was similar to the others except I used a fine green and
purple damask tablecloth with satin 'squares' on top with more
and nicer flowers in the baskets.  Behind the head table was a
long and colorful banner.
From: (June Petersen)
The head table (me, he and attendents) had my "page" to serve us
(the page was a sweet kid I'd babysat for years, kinda like a
little brother to me, an only child).  The page felt it his
sworn duty to drain the bottles to the last drop, so we had a
slightly inebriated 12 year old by the end of the day.
From: (Edward Hopkins)
I suggest that you look for a book showing the paintings of
Pieter Brueghel (also known as Pieter Breugel), a Dutch painter
of the 15th Century.  He did at least one delightful painting of
a wedding feast.
From: Gwalhafed 
If you have access to medieval-appearing objects (metal goblets,
drinking horns, bits of armour, shields, banners, large candles)
along with flowers and ivy, they make good table decorations.
Another idea is to make crepe paper tablecloths with simple
heraldic motifs (stick to prime colours).  This usually works
nicely in the low light of a banquet hall.
My daughter reads a wonderful series of books by a fellow named
Brian Jaque (sp?) called Mossflower or Redwall---she describes
amazing feasts that sound very medieval in nature (tho' they may
not be historically accurate).  It would be a fun way to get
yourself in the mood.
From: (DLW)
At our "Feast of the Lion" banquet, they created the medieval
mid-winter atmosphere by using burgundy bunting (a 'bunting' is
a swag of cloth used like a tent but with no sides--the kind you
see at jousts or feasts--where the king and queen sit but you
could use it for the bride and groom).  We ate by candlelight as
well as table greenery with yule logs (made by having birch logs
with 4 to 6 candles in them surrounded with evergreens).  The
dinner started with a trumpet heralder inviting us in from the
entrance area of the building, and there was an appointed
toastmaster dressed as a king including crown.
From: (June Petersen)
Our wedding glasses were a glass flute atop a stem of a man (for
me) and a woman (for him) nude, holding the glass up, festooned
top and bottom with bunches of grapes and leaves.  really
From: (Lanfear)
Our wedding goblets were of a pewter couple, clasping hands..the
tops were glass (very cool goblet can get it from
Fellowship Foundry..they sell several styles of wedding goblet

6.7: Can you recommend any books or websites where I can get
   recipes for some of the medieval dishes (and maybe others)
   mentioned above?

From: (Barbara Jean Kuehl)
An excellent place to begin your websearch for authentic recipes
is with Cariadoc's Miscellany, housed at:

Another good website with medieval recipes can be reached at:
Select "Historical Recipes of Different Cultures".

A third website worth a looksee contains the entire menu for a 
Wile-the-Winter-Away Medieval Feast:

If you are interested in various period beverages, brewed,
not distilled, try the beverages section of the SCA files at:

Following is an extensive bibliography of medieval cookbooks,
compiled by Jaelle of Armida (Judy Gerjuoy). 


               Compiled and annotated by Jaelle of Armida,
                   mundanely known as Judy Gerjuoy.

This is an annotated bibliography of books I own that deal with medieval
food or foodways.  It does not claim to be a complete listing of all that
it out there, but rather a start.

As a safe rule of thumb, any cookbook which gives modern redactions
but NOT the original is probably not worth much.  Even when the
original is giving look at the redaction carefully. Why did the author
make the decisions he did when redacting the recipe.

Ackerman, Roy, THE CHEF'S APPRENTICE. Headline. 1988. Recipes
from 6 period of times, (Roman through late 19th/early 20th).  The
original recipes are NOT given; only modern redactions.  Some out of
period ingredients are used.  Lots of interesting information about
food/foodways of the time. Still, NOT RECOMMENDED.

Aliki. A MEDIEVAL FEAST. Harper & Row. 1983. Written for
children, this is a fictionalized account of a lord and lady getting ready
for a visitation by the King and Queen and their preparations for the
feast.  Nice pictures, lots of fun.  RECOMMENDED.

Charles Scribner's Sons, NY, 1962. A collection of 15th century recipes.
Original recipes only; no modern redactions.  RECOMMENDED.

Aresty, EstHer B. THE EXQUISITE TABLE. A History of French
Cuisine.  Bobbs- Merrill. 1980.  Very little of this books deal with the
pre 1600 era.  A few redacted recipes with no originals given.  Out of
period ingredients used.  NOT RECOMMENDED.

Aresty, Esther B. THE DELECTABLE PAST. Simon & Schuster. 1964.
As one of the earliest books published on food in history - at least in
this century it suffers from most of the flaws of the early books. While
the general information about historical food is not too bad, the recipes
are, at best, inaccurate.  The original recipes are not given, and in many
cases the modern redactions contain out of period ingredients.  NOT

Bayard, Tania, translator. A MEDIEVAL HOME COMPANION (Cut
version of THE GOODMAN OF PARIS/Le Menagier de Paris). Harper
Collins. 1991. Not as complete as the Eileen Power version, but better
than nothing. RECOMMENDED only if you can't get the Eileen Power

David R. Godine. 1976.  Elizabethan era recipes.  Contains original and
modern redactions plus some general information on food/foodways of
the period.  RECOMMENDED.

Berriedale, Johnson, Michelle. OLDE ENGLISHE RECIPES. Piatkus.
1981.  Modern redactions with information about the original recipe, but
without the original recipes in full.  NOT RECOMMENDED.

Best, Michael R., editor THE ENGLISH HOUSEWIFE by Gervase
Markham. McGill-Queen's University Press, 1986. Original recipes -
early 17th century.  RECOMMENDED.

Black, Maggie. THE MEDIEVAL COOKBOOK. Thames & Hudson.
1992. Original recipes and modern redactions. General information about

English Heritage. 1985.  Part of a six part series on British historical
food.  Good basic information about food of the time as well. Original
recipes and modern redactions.  RECOMMENDED.

Booth, Sally Smith. HUNG, STRUNG & POTTED. A History of Eating
in Colonial America. Clarkson N. Potter. 1971.  This book deals with
food in American in the 16, 17th and 18th centuries.  Lots of recipes
from original sources; lots of useful pictures.  RECOMMENDED FOR

English Heritage. 1985. Part of a six part series on British historical
food.  Good basic information about food of the time as well. Original
recipes and modern redactions.  RECOMMENDED.

English Heritage. 1985. Part of a six part series on British historical
food.  Good basic information about food of the time as well. Original
recipes and modern redactions.  RECOMMENDED.

Brett, Gerard. DINNER IS SERVED. Rupert Hart Davis. 1968.  This
book deals with how food was served, and what is was served with/on.
The text is moderately useful; the pictures are quite useful.

Buxton, Moria. MEDIEVAL COOKING TODAY. The Kylin Press.
1983. A cookbook full of 14th & 15th century recipes from various sorts
with modern redactions.  Some useful information on foodways, and a
number of useful pictures.  RECOMMENDED.

Bynum, Caroline Walker. HOLY FEAST AND HOLY FAST The
Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women. University of
California Press. 1987.  An interesting book dealing with medieval
women and the role food played in their lives.  While not much use, per
say for the average person, it is quite fascinating, and takes medieval
foodways from another vantage point.  RECOMMENDED for serious

Chang, K.C. (ed) FOOD IN CHINESE CULTURE. Yale University
Press. 1977. A fascinating book on the history of Chinese food, broken
down by dynasties.  RECOMMENDED.

Cinqueterr, Berengario delle. THE RENAISSANCE COOKBOOK. The
Dunes Press. 1975. An interesting book all about Renaissance
food/foodways with lots of recipes.  Unfortunately only modern
redactions are given, with no original recipes listed.  Because of this, I
hate to recommend it, although I do enjoy reading it.  NOT

Cosman Madeleine Pelner.  MEDIEVAL HOLIDAYS AND
FESTIVALS. Charles Scribner's & Sons. 1981.  This book goes through
the medieval year with holidays and/or celebrations for each month.  This
book shares the same flaws as FABULOUS FEASTS in as much as the
only recipes given are modern redactions without the original ones given.
Furthermore, the modern redactions contain out of period ingredients.

Cosman, Madeliene Pelner. FABULOUS FEASTS. George Brazlier.
1976. A lot of good general information about medieval food/foodways,
redacted recipes without originals.  Some of the recipes contain out of
period ingredients.  NOT RECOMMENDED.

Penguin. 1979. The book on bread, this contains a great deal of historical
information on grain, ovens, shapes of loaves, etc.  If you want to try
and recreate medieval bread, this is where you should start.  HIGHLY

Driver, Christopher and Michelle Berriedale-Johnson. PEPYS AT
TABLE. University of California Press. 1984.  Quotes from Pepys diary
mentioning food and more or less contemporary recipes with modern
redactions.  This book is small and does not contain much, and there are
better books around that cover this time period.  Still, there is nothing
wrong with it except for the size.  RECOMMENDED.

Drummond & Wilbraham. THE ENGLISHMAN'S FOOD. J. Cape.
1957.  An analysis of what the English eat by time period.  Breakdown
of amount of calories consumed, vitamins, etc.  Not of use to most
people but quite interesting just the same.  RECOMMENDED.

Ellwanger, George H. THE PLEASURES OF THE TABLE. Doubleday
Page & Co. 1902.  While not a bad piece of scholarship for its time, it
has been superseded by modern books.  Still, can be interesting to the
completest. But, for the average medieval cook, NOT

LITERATURE. The Scarecrow Press, Inc. 1979.  Not a book on food or
foodways per say, but rather a book about collections of food ways.
Very useful bibliographies of book on/about food in the appendices.
RECOMENDED for completest only.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. Information taken from original sources on
how herbs were used.  RECOMMENDED.

Bramhall House.1962.  General information on the history of French
food.  Some translations of period recipes.  A few good pictures.  all in
all not terribly useful.  NOT RECOMMENDED for anyone but a

1995.  An excellent book about the foods available in that time period,
and information on how they were eaten. Not a cookbook, but good
information about the food and foodways.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

and Consumption.  Anglo-Saxon Books, Nisslwawx, England. 1992.
This is not a cookbook per say, but a book about Anglo-Saxon food and

Hale, William Harlan & the Editors of Horizon Magazine. THE
HORIZON COOKBOOK and Illustrated History of Eating & Drinking
through the Ages. Doubleday & Co. 1968.  This is found as a two
volume slipped case set or a one volume combined set.  It is divided into
Illustrated History and recipes.  The recipes do not include the originals
and a lot of the ingredients used are at best, suspect.  The historical
half is reasonable with a lot of good pictures.  However, because the
recipes are so flawed, I hate to recommend this just for the historical
information.  NOT RECOMMENDED.

Sutton. 1993.  A very good comprehensible book on food and foodways
of the middle ages.  Plenty of good pictures.  RECOMMENDED.

Hartley, Dorothy. FOOD IN ENGLAND. Macdonald. 1954.  A well
written, interesting book about English food that, alas has no dates,
which makes it pretty useless for our purposes.  NOT

Hattox, Ralph S. COFFEE AND COFFEEHOUSE. The origins of a
Social Beverage in the Medieval Near East. University of Washington
Press. 1985.   This is not a cookbook, but as the title says, this is a
book about the use of coffee in the Near East.  It deals with the history
of the spread and use of coffee in the Near East and how it became
socially acceptable. I find the book very interesting, but it is on a very

Heisch, Bridget Ann. CAKES AND CHARACTERS. An English
Christmas Tradition.  Prospect Books. 1984.  This book by the author of
the truly excellent "Fast and Feast"  deals with the history of the
English Christmas traditions; where they came from and how they evolved.
As such, most of it is after the time period of this discussion, but what
is there is well researched and useful.  RECOMMEND FOR SERIOUS

Henisch, Bridget Ann. FAST AND FEAST. The Pennsylvania State
University Press. 1976. An excellent book dealing with food in England
13-15th centuries.  General information, no recipes.  HIGHLY

Herman, Judith & Marguerite Shalett Herman. THE CORNUCOPIA.
Harper & Row. 1973.A collection of recipes dating between 1399 and
1890 from historical cookbooks written in English. They have, in some
instances modernized the spelling/grammar. Still, all in all

Columbia University Press. 1981. A 17th century cookbook owned, not
written by Martha Washington.  Original recipes plus lots of commentary

Hieatt, Constance & Sharon Butler. CURYE ON INGLYSCH. Oxford
University Press. 1985.  14th century English recipes. Originals only, no
redactions.  Good glossary.   RECOMMENDED.

Hieatt, Constance B. AN ORDINANCE OF POTTAGE. Prospect Book.
1988.  15th century recipes with both original and redacted recipes.

Hieatt, Constance B. and Sharon Butler.  PLEYN DELIT.  University of
Toronto Press, Toronto.1979.  14th & 15th century recipes with the
complete original recipe and a modern redaction.  Recipes come from
English and French sources; the French have been translated.  The type
face that the original recipes are printed in can be difficult to read.

Hodgett, G. A.J. STERE HTT WELL. Mary Martin Books. (no date). A
facsimile of a 15th century cookbook owned by Samuel Pepys.  There
is a modern rendition of the period hand, however it is not a word for
word retyping and is therefore suspect.  The facsimile will take some
work to read.  RECOMMENDED only for people who are willing to use
the facsimile.

NOTEBOOK. David & Charles. 1971.  A fascinating book on English
food/foodways, edited and published from the author's notes after her
death.  It is incomplete because of that; but what is left shows what a
monumental work it would have been.  Even in its incomplete form it is
still quite useful.  RECOMMENDED.

Isitt, Verity. TAKE A BUTTOCK OF BEEFE. Ashford Press. 1987. A
badly flawed book dealing with 17th century food.  While there is a lot
of interesting information about the food/foodways of the period, and the
original recipes are given, the modern redactions bear so little
resemblance to the original recipes that the cookbook is extremely
inaccurate.  Lots of out of period ingredients are used in the modern
redactions.  NOT RECOMMENDED.

Jacobs, Jay. GASTRONOMY. Newsweek Books. 1975. This history of
food is full of good pictures, but has little else to recommend it.  It is
too short a book to do justice to its subject.  NOT RECOMMENDED.

University Press. 1994.  An fascinating book about Indian food from
prehistory to the British rule, with dates and pictures.  This is not a
cookbook, but a book about food.  RECOMMENDED.

Lambert, Carole. DU MANUSCRIT A LA TABLE. Univeriste de
Montreal. 1992.  24 fascinating articles all dealing with medieval
food/foodways.  However, about 2/3rds of them are in French.
RECOMMENDED only if you read French.

Layton, T.A. FIVE TO A FEAST. Gerald Duckworth & Co. 1948. The
first part of this book is a fictional account of an actual banquet given
in 1363.  Appendix II takes some interesting and useful extracts from The
Booke of Nurture, circa 1420. RECOMMENDED FOR THE COMPLETEST ONLY.

Atheneum. 1976.  A lot of good, general information on Elizabethan era
food, as well as a number of useful pictures. Original recipes and modern
redactions.  Its only flaw in my eyes is that is groups the recipes by
menus instead of by category, so that if you are looking, for instance,
for all the vegetable recipes, if have to keep going back to the index.
That is, however, a small price to pay for this informative book.

COOKING. Exter Books. 1793.  NOTE: this has been published under
a number of different names and with at least one other author!  Most,
but not all of the recipes include the period source as well as the modern
redaction.  Some of the redactions are flawed in as much as they use
non-period ingredients.  RECOMMENDED only if you can't find
something better - but be VERY cautious when using the redactions.

Norman, Barbara. TALES OF THE TABLE. Prentice-Hall. 1972.
Mostly a history of food, there are a few original recipes; no modern
redactions and menus from actual medieval feasts in the back.  Some
interesting information not readily available elsewhere; some useful
pictures.  RECOMMENDED if the better food in history books are not

Press. 1977. Lots of information mostly taken from primary sources
(although obsolete orthographic symbols have been modernized) on the
Elizabethan view of food.  While of limited interest to most people, it
can be quite interesting and useful for the serious scholar of this time

Power, Eileen. THE GOODMAN OF PARIS (Le Menagier de Paris).
Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1928.  A Translation of late 14th century
treatise written by a man for his young wife to instruction her on running
their household.  It contains not only recipes, but instructions on all
areas of domestic life.  RECOMMENDED

Quayle, Eric. OLD COOK BOOKS. An Illustrated History. E.P Dutton.
1978. An interesting book about historical cookbooks with some original
recipes included.  RECOMMENDED.

2. Privately printed. Original 15th century recipes plus a lot of modern
redactions.  Good information on how to do your own redactions.

Riley, Gillian.  RENAISSANCE RECIPES. Pomegranate Artbooks. 1993.
Pictures involving food and redacted recipes to go along with the picture.
No original recipes are given.  Some of the pictures are useful, but I
have some doubts about some of the recipes, although without seeing the
originals it is hard to tell.  NOT RECOMMENDED.

Ritchie, Carson I.A.  FOOD IN CIVILIZATION. Beauford Books, Inc.,
1981.  This book attempts to show how history has been affect by human
tastes. It is, unfortunately, more of a "pop" overview of food history,
and how it interacts with history in general.  There are much better books

Roberts, Enid. FOOD OF THE BARDS. Image Publishers, 1982.  A
"period Welsh" cookbook, the author took period references to food from
Welsh sources, and found medieval English recipes that were for those
foods.  Original recipes and modern redactions.  RECOMMENDED.

Rose, Peter G. THE SENSIBLE COOK. Syracuse University Press.
1989. A translation of a 1683 Dutch cookbook that was used in the
America during the 17th century.  Translations of original recipes plus
about 24 modern redactions.  RECOMMENDED.

Prospect Books. 1995. A lovely book on medieval food with the original
recipes, their translations and modern redactions, as well as some good
information about food of that period in general. What is especially nice
is that a lot of the recipes I had never seen translated before. While I
have not had time to make any of the recipes from the book, they do

Sass, Lora. J. TO THE QUEEN'S TASTE. The Metropolitan Museum
of Art. 1976.  One of the earlier decent redacted cookbook, this book
which focus on Elizabethan era food contains both original recipes and
their modern redactions as well as some basic information about food of
the time.  RECOMMENDED.

Sass, Lora. J. TO THE KING'S TASTE. The Metropolitan Museum of
Art. 1975. Contains original recipes as well as modern redactions.  Focus
on the food/recipes from the time of Richard II, and uses Form of Cury
for the source of the recipes.  RECOMMENDED.

Chalmers Cookbooks, Inc. 1981. Five different "Christmas" feasts from
5 different time periods. Original recipes as well as modern redactions.
Some information about food from the period.  RECOMMENDED.

Scully, Terence. CHIQUART'S 'ON COOKERY'. Peter Lang. 1986. A
translation of a 15th century Savoy culinary treatise. Original recipes

Scully, Terrence. THE VIANDIER OF TAILLEVENT.  University of
Ottawa Press. 1988.  An edition of all extant manuscripts (Taillevent
lived in the 14th century), with a complete translation into modern
English.  A few redacted recipes and some information on food of the

Simeti, Mary Taylor. POMP & SUSTENANCE: 25 Years of Sicilian
Food. Alfred A. Knopf. 1970.  General information about food with
recipes; modern redactions only, no period recipes given.  NOT

Smallzried, Kathleen Ann. THE EVERLASTING PLEASURE.
Influences on american;s Kitchens, Cooks and Cookery from 1565 to the
year 2000. Appleton-Century-Crofts. 1956.  While only vaguely in the
period of this bibliography, this book has a lot of interesting things to
say about the development of food/foodways in America. While I frequently
disagree with her conclusions, especially from my vantage point of 40
years later, it is an interesting and informative book.  RECOMMENDED

Soyer, Alexis. THE PANTROPHEON. Paddington Press. 1977.  This
book was originally printed in 1853.  Alexis Soyer was a renowned
French cook of the time.  This book deals primarily with Roman times,
but goes up to the 17th century.  Some interesting information comparing
the prices of some foodstuffs throughout the medieval time.  All in all,
while amusing and containing some interesting information, this book has
been superseded by more accurate and useful books. NOT

Elizabethan Country House Cooking. Viking Penguin, 1986. A
transcription of slightly more than 200 recipes from a book dated 1604
and commentary.  RECOMMENDED.

Tannahill, Reay. THE FINE ART OF FOOD. A.S. Barnes & Co. 1968.
A short history of food with some LOVELY illustrations.  Some
interesting information; and some of the pictures I have never seen
elsewhere. However, like her FOOD IN HISTORY, it is still pretty much
a "pop" history of the subject.  RECOMMENDED FOR THE

Tannahill, Reay. FOOD IN HISTORY.  Stein and Day.1973.  NOTE:
there is a revised edition that came out in the past several years, but
this is what I grabbed from my shelves.  In 448 pages she tries to cover
food throughout the world and throughout time.  By the very nature of her
subject and the size of the book, it is, at best, a cursory covering of
the subject.  OK for a start, but there are much better books out there.
RECOMMENDED only if you can't get anything better.

Toussaint-Samat, Maguelonne. HISTORY OF FOOD. Blackwell. 1992.
A 800 page history of food originally written in French.

Vence, Celine & Robert Courtine.  THE GRAND MASTERS OF
FRENCH CUISINE. G. P. Putnam & Sons. 1978.  Some basic
information about French food, as well as a few good pictures.  As a
cookbook, versus a historical cookbook, it is very good with color photos
on how the food should look, as well as many tasty recipes.  However,
the original recipes are not given, just the modern redactions. While I
like this book a lot, and have used a few of the modern redactions, after
tracing them back to the original source, I must downgrade it because the
originals aren't given.  NOT RECOMMENDED.

1937. If you ever wanted to have one book to check if a food source was
old or new world, this will do it.  While the histories of the various
foods are not always 100% accurate, it is a useful reference book.

Waines, David. IN A CALIPH'S KITCHEN. Riad El-Rayyes Books,
London. 1989. This book tells where the original recipe came from, but
does not give it, but instead only gives the modern redaction.  A fair bit
of general information on medieval Arabic cooking.  Because of the lack
of the original recipe in full, I find it hard to recommend it fully, but
it is very good from a modern viewpoint, with lovely color pictures
showing what the finished product should look like.  FAINTLY

1990 - Feasting & Fasting. Prospect Books. 1991. While most of the
articles do not deal with medieval food/foodways, there are a few articles
on medieval food. Still, all in all RECOMMENDED FOR THE

1992 - SPICING UP THE TABLE. Prospect Books. 1991. While most
of the articles do not deal with medieval food/foodways, there are a few
articles on medieval food. Still, all in all RECOMMENDED FOR THE

Watson, Betty. COOKS, GLUTTONS & GOURMETS. Doubleday &
Co. 1962.  One of the earliest books on the history of food/foodways.
Very inaccurate, with no original recipes given.  NOT

Wheaton, Barbara Ketcham. SAVORING THE PAST. The French
Kitchen and Table from 1300 to 1789. University of Pennsylvania Press.
1983.  A well written and put together book on French food/foodways.
A small number of original recipes with modern redactions.

Willan, Anne. GREAT COOKS AND THEIR RECIPES From Taillevent
to Escoffier. Little Brown and Company. 1992. Information about the
food of the time, original recipes and modern redactions.  Lots of good
pictures.  RECOMMENDED.

Wilson, C. Anne. (ed) BANQUETTING STUFF. Edinburgh University
Press. 1990. A collection of papers on the fare and social background of
the Tudor and Stuart Banquet.  RECOMMENDED.

Wilson, C. Anne. (ed) THE APPETITE AND THE EYE. Edinburgh
University Press. 1991.  A collection of papers on the visual aspects of
food and its presentation with their historic context. Not all are

Wilson, C. Anne. FOOD AND DRINK IN BRITAIN From the Stone
Age to Recent Times. Penguin. 1984.  the best history of food that I
know of. It's only drawback is that is it from a British perspective only.


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