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.

Singing Chicken

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Roasting poultry was an intricate process. First, the cook suspended the bird on a spit. Then, they slowly rotated it over an open flame. Alternatively, they cooked it on a hearth. Cooks paid meticulous attention to ensure it cooked uniformly. They frequently applied drippings or other seasonings to enhance the flavor. This also helped to keep the meat moist. The cooking duration varied depending on the bird's size and type.

After roasting the bird to succulent perfection, the chef would let it cool briefly. Then, he would insert a mercury and ground sulfur mixture into the bird's cavity. The heat from the roasted bird warmed the stuffing mixture. Therefore, a chemical reaction would occur. The reaction sounded like a hissing sound, creating the illusion of the bird singing. Despite the singing chicken's entertaining nature, it was strictly intended for display. Overeating it could poison a person. Therefore, the waitstaff usually showed the bird quickly. They then removed it and put other food out for the meal.