If you are interested in food and cooking, then a medieval food glossary may well be of interest and use to you. The words used to refer to food and cooking in medieval times, especially in England, are absolutely fascinating.
The first point worth noting is that food terms varied quite a lot from the general culinary vocabulary that we all use today. Many words have been forgotten or lost yet some still remain in use and are as popular as ever.
For example, the word ‘potage’ is used in France today to mean the same as ‘pottage’ – just a single ‘t’ less that’s all.
By contrast, in England, we have long since dropped the use of the word ‘pottage’ and prefer to use the word ‘soup’.
Another example is the word ‘seethe‘ which was used in 11th-15th century England to mean to boil and although it is not used as a cookery term today, it is nevertheless still popular – but in the context of someone boiling with anger!
Glossary Of Common Medieval Food Terms
Here is a list of some of the most interesting words used in England in medieval cooking and to refer to medieval food. Most of the items on this list could be found in a medieval kitchen.
blawmanger – a recipe of rice and minced chicken
Interested in a medieval recipe for chicken? Try this elderflower chicken recipe!
bragot – medieval ale made with honey and spices
caudle – a hot milk drink
cheat – a wholewheat bread with the bran removed
civet – a piquant medieval stew
Here is a recipe for medieval stew recipe made with beef and red wine
clapbread – a barley bread
cocket – white bread (cheaper than pandemain)
dais – a raised platform on which the high table stood at a medieval banquet
down-hearth – stone on which a fire was built, usually in the centre of a peasant’s hut
horse bread -a type of bread made with beans, peas and other general grain
jelly-bag – muslin bag used for straining jelly
manchet – a medieval bread made of wheat, often served for lords of the manor
morat – mulberry juice mixed with honey (sounds delicious!)
muscadine – a sweet wine, popular in medieval times
pandemain – a high quality bread made from wheat with the flour sifted 2 or 3 times
pottage – a type of soup or stew
Here is a simple recipe for homemade cabbage pottage
sack – a type of fortified wine
sanap – overcloth used to cover the white cloth on a banquet table
seethe – to boil
sewer – a servant who would serve at a medieval table
spartle – wooden stick for stirring pottage whilst cooking
tourte – a bread containing husk as well as flour
trencher – a circular-shaped bread used as a plate
wastel – a good quality medieval bread
If this medieval food and cooking glossary has been of interest to you then you might want to click here for more detailed reading on medieval cuisine and its terminology.
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