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

By Sophia Maddox | April 17, 2024

Singing Chicken

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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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.

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.