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Author Topic:   food in the castle
Dorothy Davies
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posted 11-03-2004 11:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dorothy Davies     Edit/Delete Message
I read somewhere that food was mainly eaten cold in castles as it took so long to get from kitchen to wherever through passages and halls that the food got cold. does anyone know if this is right?

posted 11-03-2004 12:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Northumbria     Edit/Delete Message
In some cases it was. A few castles would have a tunnel or something from the kitchen(what a funny word!) to the dinning room or something simialr. Other castles were small enough or had a kitchen quite near to the dinning hall.
The same goes for mannor houses.

I intend to view them all by my 18th, and I'm already almost half way through it.

posted 11-03-2004 02:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Peter   Click Here to Email Peter     Edit/Delete Message
Normally the kitchen was kept seperate from other buildings due to the fire risk. Nearly all buildings with the castle inner bailey would have stone bases but with wooden uper floors and thatched roofs. This would include the Great Hall.
In the case of Royal Castles (or higher castles), this hall would be of stone as Conway etc.
Many kitchens were built against the castle wall or a tower in the wall. This meant the bread oven could be built into a solid stone structure. Giving greater fire-proofing.
After the fire was moved from the center of the Great Hall, and a fireplace became the norm. It would often have a spit built into it. General foods would be prepared in the kitchen, but the Lord/King could show off his prize sow being roasted in front of all.

Dorothy Davies
Senior Member
posted 11-04-2004 10:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dorothy Davies     Edit/Delete Message
thanks for that, very interesting indeed. I understand potatoes were not grown here at that time, are there any other foods we have now which were not known then? Lots of questions but then when researching, I have to ask a lot of questions to be sure I don't make any silly mistakes.

posted 11-04-2004 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Maria   Click Here to Email Maria     Edit/Delete Message

posted 11-04-2004 11:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Maria   Click Here to Email Maria     Edit/Delete Message
Usefull links http://www.castles-of-britain.com/castlesf.htm http://www.scils.rutgers.edu/~sroczyns/food.html http://www.gti.net/mocolib1/kid/foodfaq3.html

[This message has been edited by Maria (edited 11-04-2004).]

posted 11-04-2004 03:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Peter   Click Here to Email Peter     Edit/Delete Message
As you no doubt know, food was more basic then in some ways. Mainly for the serf or minor landowner.
But the Lord didn't do too badly as meat was big a provider. This is why poaching in the forests was banned, sometimes on pain of death. So the limited types of greens available didn'y figure greatly. Grains of course were very important, from bread to ales. In place of potatoes they may use Swede or Turnip, both could be roasted or mashed, as they still are today.
Herbs were greatly used as well both in cooking and medicine.
As to that meat ... more or less if it moved you killed it for meat. Even today on mainland Europe the banning on killing birds of all types has been slow to stop.
The whole topic of cooking from Roman times forwards is an excellent subject to study.

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posted 11-05-2004 03:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Merlin   Click Here to Email Merlin     Edit/Delete Message
The fragments of bones found by archaeologists at many medieval castles in central europe show that wild animals were part of the food eaten in castles - but by far not the main supplier of fresh meat. Cow, pork, sheep and goat were herded at many castles.

Dorothy Davies
Senior Member
posted 11-05-2004 04:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dorothy Davies     Edit/Delete Message
many thanks, guys, you're great. This is far and away the most sensible and informative site I've been on for ages, and helping me no end. Appreciated.

Living without chocolate ... I could live without greens but not without chocolate!

posted 12-01-2004 11:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ewebber3   Click Here to Email ewebber3     Edit/Delete Message
What would they have called a kitchen in the middle ages, the people who cooked ... and does anyone know where I could find a diagram of a some typical castle with the different parts labeled?

Dorothy Davies
Senior Member
posted 12-01-2004 01:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dorothy Davies     Edit/Delete Message
I have a very good little book called Life In The Castle In Medieval England by John Burke, which describes most of the rooms. He calls the cooking area a kitchen in that book. There is a lot on food in there, as it is such a big part of life. Not a very big book, so it shouldn't be expensive - I have had it for some time and cannot remember what I paid for it. There is no price in the dust jacket. Worth looking out for.


Senior Member
posted 12-06-2005 12:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve-O-Gerst   Click Here to Email Steve-O-Gerst     Edit/Delete Message
Potatos, chocolate, chilli peppers, corn, and turkey all came from North and South America. These would not have been eaten in Europe at that time.

Certain spices, such as cayenne pepper, and paprika are also of American origin.

All times are PT (US)

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