20 Forgotten Medieval Foods That People Actually Ate In The Dark Ages

By Sophia Maddox | March 20, 2024

Snack on Porpoise at a Feast

Step into the vibrant world of medieval cooking, where necessity and indulgence intermingle to create culinary wonders. Immerse yourself in a colorful array of dishes, ranging from daily essentials to festive delicacies. Medieval cuisine not only offers a window into the past but also serves as the birthplace of many cherished recipes that continue to grace our tables today.

Embark on this fascinating journey through time as we uncover the secrets of medieval gastronomy. From hearty feasts to humble fare, each dish tells a tale of resilience and creativity. Join us as we delve into the diverse flavors and cultural heritage of medieval cuisine, celebrating the ingenuity and spirit of those who crafted these culinary delights.

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During medieval times, people living along the coast often ate porpoises. While ordinary people may have harpooned their own, the nobility would have had fishing crews. Porpoise pudding was a treat served at medieval feasts. The process began by combining porpoise blood, porpoise grease, and oatmeal in a bowl. The chef then stirred in a dash of salt, pepper, and ginger. Carefully, the chef filled a clean porpoise stomach halfway with this savory blend before sewing it closed. To prevent it from exploding during cooking, the chef used a needle to puncture tiny holes in the stomach.

The chef prepared a large pot with water and placed an overturned plate at its bottom. Then, he positioned the pot over a fire. He waited until the water boiled before carefully positioning the stomach on the plate. It was left to boil for three to four hours. After removing the stomach from the water, the stomach was placed on a plate to drain thoroughly. Finally, the chef placed the stomach near the campfire, letting it crisp until the skin achieved the desired crunchiness. The time required to prepare this dish often meant it was saved for special days.

Scrumptious Hedgehog Was Often Served for Lunch

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People used traps to catch hedgehogs or caught them by hand during medieval times. After capturing the hedgehog, its throat was slit. Then, the hair was singed off the animal by carefully holding it over a flame until the fur began to char. Next, the chef gently scraped the hedgehog's body to remove the charred fur, revealing the skin. Then, the chef removed the entrails, and the cook rinsed the body cavity clean. After cleaning, the hedgehog was wrapped in long grass, an insulator and flavor enhancer. The chef laid the prepared hedgehog on a bed of long grass and covered it with more grass.

Then, they placed a large pot filled with water over a campfire to create gentle, simmering heat. The hedgehog was put on the fire's edge, allowing it to cook slowly and evenly. After simmering for several hours, the chef removed the hedgehog from the fire and removed the grass to reveal the succulent, tender meat. Often, the chef reused the water to make a nettle sauce to serve alongside the meat. Preparing hedgehogs was very time-consuming. Commoners often reserved them for special occasions.