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Snack/lunch in the fields food?

Posted: Mon Apr 30, 2007 4:29 pm
by Tod
Serious question put in non serious way.
Other than mud and stones which there was am ample supply of, what did medieval (1300 -1500 ish) eat for lunch or have as snack food?

I'm looking for some thing that won't go off in half a day, doesn't taste like mud, stones, or wood, and didn't previously live in either a pond or a stream/river.

Posted: Wed May 02, 2007 1:58 am
by moosiemoosiegander
Hi Tod

Basically as far as I understand it, you're looking at a ploughman's lunch minus the salad! Bread and cheese is a good, stable and safe medieval picnic food. Dried meats too, as well as pies and pastries. Pickles such as pickled onions are also fine. As a general rule though, the muddyevals weren't too big on raw salad or vegetables.

If you want to go dead orfentic, Cheshire cheese is an older variety than say Cheddar, which only apparently came into being in 1500 and goat and sheep cheese is even better because not only does it tend to sweat less in the warm, but goat and sheep were kept more frequently than cows. And beer or wine to drink (if you're not the designated driver of the cart :P)

Hope this helps!

Moosie

Posted: Wed May 02, 2007 7:19 am
by Type16
I'd go with Moosie..............


Organic wholemeal bread
organic cheese
organic small ale

The real problem on the field is stopping it drying out & becoming inedible
Perhaps using butter will help a bit

Plus apple .... when in season

Alternative drink would be a cold T (tisane) of an herb such as lemon balm. Elderflower flavoured water, or proper elderflower drink (slightly or very alcoholic :D )

Although I have no 'fixed' source for this, I understand that sorrel can be used as a sharp tasting 'salad', and is available at shops & in the hedgerow as they would have done.

plus purple carrots ......... ask the manager at Tesco if you cannot see them on the shelf Only joking!

Posted: Wed May 02, 2007 12:45 pm
by lidimy
Oooh, surely elderflower cordial is authentic? Or didn't they have lemons yet? :?

Lidi :)

Posted: Wed May 02, 2007 1:25 pm
by craig1459
Stilton, brie, port salut are other orfenticheeses IIRC

What are authentic apple varieties?

Posted: Wed May 02, 2007 3:05 pm
by Type16
Lidimy
Yes lemons (Spanish I presume) are authentic. I can't wait to get the full strength stuff fermenting........... hic! :wink:

Craig
Try French Golden Delicious :twisted:
But to be serious for a change, I have been onto these people to clarify
http://www.brogdale.org/ and they are going to send me a list of 14-16C varieties ............ which I will then put on this forum.

We are going to get a tree or 2. Perhaps others may have an interest in early species.

Posted: Wed May 02, 2007 3:40 pm
by craig1459
Sara used to teach gardening history and has a long list of things you could find in various types of garden at various times since the Conquest - will have a look at her notes when I get home

Posted: Wed May 02, 2007 3:43 pm
by Tod
Full lard out then, pie, cheese, butter, and bread. Elderflower :-)

I'll ask Sarah Juniper about apples she's an expert on the subject.

Carrots are devil food.

Strangley no mention of flints or leaves.

Posted: Wed May 02, 2007 4:23 pm
by Panda
Type16 wrote:Yes lemons (Spanish I presume) are authentic. I can't wait to get the full strength stuff fermenting........... hic! :wink:


Friend of mine made some last year. The taset equated to getting smacked on the lip by a vat of acid as it was soo bitter. Bloody gorgeous!!!!!!!!! :D

Posted: Wed May 02, 2007 4:35 pm
by Type16
Hi Tod,
We tend to go for mega sized 10" pasties for the first 2 meals on site.
Then its bread & cheeses for lunch!
Become a veggie then you don't have to worry about lard :lol:

Panda,
Plenty of sugar.... thats the answer... = good taste & big alcohol. Ferment until the plastic pop bottle rings when you hit it. Let someone else unscrew the cap.

Posted: Wed May 02, 2007 4:40 pm
by Panda
Alcohol content was adequet. But I didn't think it was possible to drink anything that bitter & survive. I'm glad it is though!!!!!!!!

Posted: Wed May 02, 2007 6:36 pm
by Jenn R
I used to get told off by Caroline Yeldham for eating raw apples, she said that fruit used to be cooked.

Why can't you have salad? :?

Posted: Wed May 02, 2007 7:28 pm
by craig1459
Authentiapples

Coeur de Boeuf
Costard
Decio
Nonpareil
Pearmain

Posted: Wed May 02, 2007 9:34 pm
by Type16
Nice one Craig & Sarah!

Need to keep eyes open for those names now.

Posted: Thu May 03, 2007 1:39 am
by Tuppence
I used to get told off by Caroline Yeldham for eating raw apples, she said that fruit used to be cooked.

Why can't you have salad?


You can - there are loads & loads (comparitively) of recipes for (raw) salad - some with fruit, others with dried fruit.

Lots of fruit would have been cooked, but it was eaten raw too.

Posted: Thu May 03, 2007 7:24 am
by Jenn R
Thank you Tuppence, it was this quote that got me confused. :?

moosiemoosiegander wrote:
Basically as far as I understand it, you're looking at a ploughman's lunch minus the salad! Bread and cheese is a good, stable and safe medieval picnic food. Dried meats too, as well as pies and pastries. Pickles such as pickled onions are also fine. As a general rule though, the muddyevals weren't too big on raw salad or vegetables.




Thinking about it I can remember lots of incidents with uncooked fruit and dried fruit. I think it was apples in particular that she was on about but I have to admit to not listening fully. :roll:

Leafy salads were always on the menu with lots of tasty additions.... :D

Posted: Thu May 03, 2007 9:13 am
by Lady Cecily
I think we may be in danger of trying to shoehorn modern eating habits into the past here.

In the North lunch does not exist. In a rural community breakfast is eaten early - work is undertaken in the fields until DINNER (that's midday BTW) time when people return to the house and eat a warm dinner I am sure I even read somewhere that these were the only two meals of the day.

The term ploughmans lunch was an invention of the 1970's. I am not saying that a ploughman didn't take some cheese and apples with them sometimes or that it happened in the South more often.

Remember we are portraying periods that don't have an "eat on the run" culture. Not very helpful really - sorry.

Posted: Thu May 03, 2007 9:37 am
by Brother Kevfael
[quote="Lady Cecily"]I think we may be in danger of trying to shoehorn modern eating habits into the past here.

This is very true. we have to be wary of imposing a modern mentality onto the past. It was a rural age, the majority of people would have had a working knowledge of bushcraft and wild foods. Depending on season you can have a good selection of fruit, greens, wild meat. How difficult would it be to set a trap for fish or small game and come back later ?
Even today think of the pleasure you get when out on a nice walk in the country and you come across wild blackberries, raspberries or damsons and you help yourself, (Just as long as you pick them above alsatian leg height!)

Posted: Thu May 03, 2007 10:31 am
by moosiemoosiegander
I only used the term ploughman's lunch because it's a cover all term for bread and cheese and a bit of something pickled!

Generally, I seem to recall that raw salads weren't eaten although obviously there are exceptions to every rule. This is off the top of my head here, but I remember one quote of staying away from 'salets as they make your sovreign seke'. A lot of people back then were believers in the doctrine of humours and salads and raw vegetables (with exceptions like onions and soforth) were regarded as being 'moist' and so usually had to be 'dried out' by either cooking or the addition of a vinegar dressing or some such. which isn't really practical for a picnic (or at least I don't like sloppy stuff when I'm out). I also seem to remember a grave warning about eating too many onions being bad for you as well! If you're desperate for a salad though, there is a nice one in the Forme of Cury.

I can search for references if people want, this is purely a stream of consciousness post, so if I'm talking pish, feel free to say so!

Posted: Thu May 03, 2007 11:47 am
by Panda
Lady Cecily wrote:I think we may be in danger of trying to shoehorn modern eating habits into the past here.

In the North lunch does not exist. In a rural community breakfast is eaten early - work is undertaken in the fields until DINNER (that's midday BTW) time when people return to the house and eat a warm dinner I am sure I even read somewhere that these were the only two meals of the day.

The term ploughmans lunch was an invention of the 1970's. I am not saying that a ploughman didn't take some cheese and apples with them sometimes or that it happened in the South more often.

Remember we are portraying periods that don't have an "eat on the run" culture. Not very helpful really - sorry.

I don't know much about over there, but I know from personal; expirience that if you are working all day from dawn till dusk you need something to eat in the middle of the day as you start to slow down and run the risk of fainting which could be detrimental to ones health. I have to check my source on Irish farming practices in the early christian period ant the medieval period but I know a small meal was taken in the middle of the day by farm hands over the last 200 years (based on grandmothers memories & her memories of things her grand mother told her.

Posted: Thu May 03, 2007 12:41 pm
by Phil the Grips
Remember pastry was history's clingfilm.

Intended to preserve food for a period, make it easy to store and handle and not to disguise the manky bits like it often does today.

Salted/airdried products like meats and biscuits would be common too. For inspiration look at any decent deli counter- you'll see that most of the food was developed with a mind to long term preservation ie kept in oil, buried until a crust forms, leeched with salts, selectively rotted etc.

Posted: Thu May 03, 2007 12:51 pm
by Lady Cecily
Panda wrote:
Lady Cecily wrote:I think we may be in danger of trying to shoehorn modern eating habits into the past here.

In the North lunch does not exist. In a rural community breakfast is eaten early - work is undertaken in the fields until DINNER (that's midday BTW)


I don't know much about over there, but I know from personal; expirience that if you are working all day from dawn till dusk you need something to eat in the middle of the day as you start to slow down and run the risk of fainting which could be detrimental to ones health. I have to check my source on Irish farming practices in the early christian period ant the medieval period but I know a small meal was taken in the middle of the day by farm hands over the last 200 years (based on grandmothers memories & her memories of things her grand mother told her.


Panda - the main meal of Dinner is eaten at Dinner time. Midday, not seven in the evening as it is now. So you don't work from Dawn 'til Dusk - only 'til midday.

My parents still follow this pattern - the light meal is taken in the evening (it's called Tea) and followed by supper ( a drink and toast for example) just before bed.

Posted: Thu May 03, 2007 1:18 pm
by Panda
Sorry. Really should pay more attention to what I'm reading :oops:
And ti think I grew up with dinner in the middle of the day as well :oops: :oops:

Posted: Thu May 03, 2007 4:57 pm
by craig1459
Cheers T16 - I've got a whole gardenful of authentiplants (on paper :wink: ) so I'll post in another thread. There's pages of this stuff covering a variety of eras.

Posted: Sun May 13, 2007 8:13 pm
by Jenn
Need to think about what's seasonal as well - apples for example are not in season during the summer. Culpeper says of apples that they should "only be eaten after or between meals, or for supper. They are very proper for hot and bilious stomachs, but not to the cold, moist and flatulent" - so maybe best avoided?

Posted: Sun May 13, 2007 8:37 pm
by Nigel
Type16 wrote:Lidimy
Yes lemons (Spanish I presume) are authentic. I can't wait to get the full strength stuff fermenting........... hic! :wink:

Craig
Try French Golden Delicious :twisted:
But to be serious for a change, I have been onto these people to clarify
http://www.brogdale.org/ and they are going to send me a list of 14-16C varieties ............ which I will then put on this forum.

We are going to get a tree or 2. Perhaps others may have an interest in early species.


I ahve a father who planted a few c 10 for me to keep me in russets mainly

Posted: Sun May 13, 2007 11:58 pm
by Tuppence
My parents still follow this pattern - the light meal is taken in the evening (it's called Tea) and followed by supper ( a drink and toast for example) just before bed.


That's exactly how we used to eat when I was a kid....

And now I get told off by Nige for calling 'lunch' dinner and 'dinner' tea. :roll:

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 3:14 pm
by Marcus Woodhouse
"Are there not Turks aplenty here? Salted and broiled will they not suffice?" allegedly the words of a Bishop during the first crusade. So anyone got the recipe for dead Saracen?