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

By Sophia Maddox | April 3, 2024

The Modest Beginning of Umble Pie

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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Umble pie was a straightforward yet flavorful dish, reflecting practicality and thriftiness. This pie was popular among ordinary people. Cooks made the pie from organ meats like heart, liver, and kidneys from game animals such as deer or boar. The chef began by boiling the offal and then chopping them into small pieces. Then, they added mutton suet and mixed a handful of herbs like thyme, marjoram, borage, parsley, and rosemary.

The chef would prepare a pie pastry by combining white flour, water, and oil, creating a pliable dough. After kneading the dough until smooth, the cook rolled out the dough into thin sheets. He inserted the bottom crust into a pie pan. Then, the cook added the chopped boiled offal, mutton suet, and herbs. He spread the mixture out evenly over the bottom crust. Once the filling was in place, the cook added a top crust. Finally, he baked the pie until the crust turned golden brown and the filling was cooked through. This dish did not cost much to make. Therefore, poorer families often enjoyed it. Yet, it was delicious. Therefore, nobility often ate it for daily meals.

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.