A Medieval Feast

You can’t have a big house, lots of money, food and drink and not have a house party??!! Plus…you have servants to clean up after you! It’s the perfect situation to go mental!

Now during the Middle Ages we are pretty sure that the idea and events of a house party were probably slightly different than today. I once woke to the shock that my cistern flushed tea!! Yeah…sometimes parties get too out of hand!

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We want to take a look at what it was like to be at a feast in the Middle Ages. Feasts were a great time for noblemen and women to “let loose”. Feasts were always the highlight of the Medieval calendar so let’s have a closer look.

Both Lords and Ladies threw feasts for important people living in the area. It was a way of showing friendship and goodwill. These feasts were held in the Great Hall of the castle. The table of the Lord and Lady and even the guest of honor stood higher than the other guests. This was to show superiority. Wine, ale and mead (a drink made from honey) washed down the finest meats. Knives and spoons were used to eat the food but not forks. Forks were not used until later centuries when it was believed that Catherine de Medici popularised the use of them.

One of the earliest recorded evidence of forks in Venice is from an 11th century story of the the wedding of a Byzantine princess, Theodora Anna Doukaina, to Domenico Selvo. She supposedly brought gold forks as part of her dowry.

Apparently it was quite the scandal. The God fearing Venetians saw these pronged monstrosities as a slight against The Lord himself who gave us perfectly good fingers to eat with. I can’t make this stuff up:

God in his wisdom has provided man with natural forks – his fingers. Therefore it is an insult to Him to substitute artificial metallic forks for them when eating. -St. Peter Damian

Of course as health conditions changed in Europe, the use of forks became more common! Very few people used plates as well. Instead, food was generally served on a stale bread called trenchers. Here is a sample of what you might get at such a feast:

  • Boar’s head with brown pudding
  • Shellfish scented with spices
  • Fruit tarts
  • Salmon with orange
  • Squirrel stew

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Musicians and jesters entertained the crowd for the evening. Jesters were sort of like clowns who would write poems and songs about how great the Lord and Lady were!

Here is a documentary on medieval food that’s really good. However…WATCH ONLY IF YOU HAVE TIME!..it is 1 hour long!

So there you go! Feasts in the Middle Ages were always an event looked forward to. They probably were more sophisticated than your house parties nowadays..especially in this country! Always remember kids…it’s somebody’s house!…use a coaster…and if you are drinking from a chalice like this lad…well then you are a BOSS!

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We hope you stick around for more things Medieval. We couldn’t show you a photo of ‘Fat Bastard’ and not show a few funnies! All that’s left to say is that this is a little NSFW NSFS…Headphones is advised!

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