Banquets & Battles

medieval banquet

Banquets

An Army marches on its stomach , so the saying goes, but what goes into those stomachs. I’ve been looking into a medieval diet if that’s what you could call it.

There is class distinction when it comes to food. The higher up the ranks the better the food becomes. It’s all down to money.

High ranking and upper class have the wealth thus the land to produce a better quality of fayre. Indulging in a high protein foods such as beef, Lamb, Pork, chickens, geese and fish from their own rivers and lakes.

Having Mills on their land also gave them access to milled flour and grains.
Cheeses and also butter made by the peasants were always available.

Foods were Salted so as to keep for longer but this was only for the very wealthy as Salt was expensive.

Fruit and vegetables even though the easiest food to acquire were not eaten raw. It was understood to carry disease so was always cooked into pies and stews.

The wealthy adventurers who could afford dried and salted foods . Heavy dark breads, barley for thickening stews. Had a better and healthier life. Unless they died in battle or fell of a cliff that is.

Remember no potatoes.

Breads, Both and all classes ate bread, the Higher class had the flour based bread and the lower used barley but in General Bread was easily made and so could me made quickly and on the go so long as there was time to bake. A baker of some sort would have been found in every village and every manor or castle would have two or more bakers constantly baking.

The smell off baked bread was one of the only saving smells of the world we adventure in. yeah most else stank. Bread could be found in everyone’s pack be it flat, brown or even whole grain. Mostly stale but still edible with a soup or broth.
The poorer person ate a less variable diet.
Root vegetables for stews and grains for Pottage and Porridge. Some cooked meats mainly chicken and fish but only if reared by themselves.

Vegetable pottage

Pottage. This was a peasant meal that actually tasted better than it looked. Made with vegetables such as cabbage, onions,leeks, nuts, berries and generally anything that was readily available. Meat and fish wasnt always added. It was then boiled for several hours and could also be added to. Allowing to be reheated when needed and kept for days.

The poorer adventurer would have a jar or small lidded pan in his/her pack that could be placed over a fire and served in minutes. Rabbit and even rodent  could be added when on long travels.

What’s in your Bag ?

Nuts & Berries Dried

I tried a Survey earlier this week and even though the response was lower than expected it did point in the direction that Gaming Adventurers would generally opt  for dried food, that being mainly Dried meats. These usually had to be purchased in advance of any long adventure  and then Nuts & Berries which of course can easily be sourced from any hedgerow.

Well that’s It, As food plays a very small part of our game time i just wanted to look into foods and how and who ate them .

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2 Comments

  1. I wrote this under the AngelicDND profile…

    When adventuring, you need to take care of yourself, because failure to do so means that you are more prone to disease, infection, and you take longer to heal from minor cuts and bruises. A standard adventuring kit, carried my most, if not all heroes, contains a pack of trail rations, enough to last 10 days, so most grocers tell their customers.

    The reality of this is of course different. Trail rations are designed to provide a realitively filling meal twice a day for a week, and are untreated foods prepared in a hessian sack to make it easier to carry. Freshly prepared when bought, the meats, vegetables and breads in these packs will be stale but consumable by the end of a week of travel in the wilderness. In the dank unhealthy environment of a dungeon, these rations will spoil in 1 or 2 days.

    There are better options for travellers, and for those that want a bit more flavour in their diet.

    For adventurers who can survive on less, Iron Rations pack lighter than Trail Rations, and will last for longer, 2 weeks of hard travel will only just begin to dent a pack of them. The bulk of a iron ration pack is dried fruit such as raisins, berries, apricots, sliced apple, with roasted seeds, and dried salted and spiced beef strips. Even in a dungeon, these rations won’t spoil quickly.

    Preserved meats are a mainstay of an adventurers pack, and the spiced sausages that are a speciality of the pig farms near Fallcrest are the best. These sausages use every part of the pig… fat, meat, blood and bone marrow are added to flour and poured into skins made from the animals gut lining, before being slow cured and smoked to finish them off. Sliced and eaten raw, or added to other foods, these meats are flavoursome, filling, nutritious and don’t spoil quickly.

    Sugared fruits, a childhood favorite for most, are a common sight in the packs of successful adventurers. The sugar needed to make these items are rare, and the traders who stock such a commodity treat it like residium, demanding a high price. One or two of these sugary treats after an arduous fight can restore the confidence, and settle the nerves of any fighter.

    Cheese is a luxury in most adventurers packs, as it spoils too quickly. However, inventive elves mixed fruit and spices to their cheese, before coating it in beeswax. One cut into, the cheese may only last a day or 2 on the open road, but the quality of it more than makes up for the cost.

    Oats are used in many packs, though the addition of precious water means that they are overlooked by most adventurers. Broth Wheat on the other had, swells rapidly with only a small amount of water, and is highly filling. Added to stews, it turns a thin gruel into a hearty broth that will keep a man alive.

    Breads carried on the road tend to be heavy doughy things that become stale and as hard as rock by the end of a week. However, other alternatives exist, from the Elvish Journeybread, made with a mixture of ingredients both natural and arcane in origin, to the more common doughs, such as sourdough and gingerbread, most are baked lightly so they can be rebaked when needed.

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