Category Archives: Meal Planning

What is in season when?

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Spring:

Carrots
Cherries (seasons starts some places at the end of spring)
Fava beans
Fennel
Garlic scapes/green garlic
Green onions/scallions
Greens (particularly in colder regions)
Leeks (end)
Lemons
Lettuce
Morels
Pea greens
Peas (garden, snap, snow, etc.)
Spinach
Turnips

Summer:

Apples (late summer)
Carrots
Chard
Cherries

Autumn:

Apples
Cabbage
Carrots
Fennel
Figs
Garlic
Grapes (early fall)
Leeks
Lettuce
Mushrooms (wild)
Onions
Parsnips
Pears
Pomegranates
Quinces
Shallots
Turnips

Winter:

Cabbage
Carrots (storage)
Fennel
Leeks
Lemons
Onions (storage)
Parsnips

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Historic Meal Planning

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Below is the first article to discuss Historic Cooking Over an Open Fire:

When you begin cooking, you need to look at why you are cooking and who will be serving the food.  You must know your goal prior to starting your kitchen. You will need to know the equipment needed, fire type and setup and how to keep it clean.

Let’s start with the planning of the meal. Below are some questions to think about when planning:

1)      What class of people is this meal for? Look at the next post to have an idea of what items cost.

Impoverished

  • The most simple of meals with a focus on grain – pottage with some vegetables. You would be using what you could scrounge up. Very few spices (pepper and ginger if any) and very little meat.

Working class – Normal Meal

  • A simple meal, not a lot of spices. Should have some meat, some spices (depending on how profitable business is)

Visiting guests

  • Was this an important guest? If so, they would spend as much as they could afford to impress the guest – more spices, more courses, more expensive items.

A Lord

The Lord and his family (Privy Kitchen)

  • Higher than average food on a daily basis. These were the nobility and they had the money to spend on food. It produced healthier and longer living people.

His household

  • Steady meal, not as extravagant as the family out of the privy kitchen, but on average higher than most working class families.

Visiting guests

  • As with the working class, money was spent to impress the guests. More of everything.

The King

  • Are you cooking for the King? The King eats very well. Only the best.
  • Or his household? They Eat better than the average lord’s household.
  • Are there visiting guests? In 1387, Richard II served a feast for the Duke of Lancaster. Staggering quantities of food in each of 3 courses.

2)      Type of Meal

  • Daily meal
    • Breakfast – served about 8 for most households
    • Lunch – served about 12 or 1 for most households
    • Supper – served about 5 or 6 depending on the light of day and summer or winter.
  • Feast day
  • Lenten Meal (as many as 3 days a week[1])

3)      What is your source for food?

  • What vegetables/fruits are in season?
  • How rich are you and how much would you be spending on spices?
  • What meats are in season and what do you have access to?

4)      What should be done in advance?

  • Pickling of vegetable and/or fruits
  • Hippocras/Spiced Wine
  • Beer – when serving “See that… your ale is 5 days old before it is drunk.”[2]
  • Bread and any baked goods to serve

As a plan, let’s say we are using a kitchen that is not as large as many others, let’s plan a simple Lunch for the Lord and his family. As we are planning on using a smaller kitchen that primarily focused on preparing the food for the Lord, his family and certain guests. Usually finer food was served here than in the household kitchen where the bulk of the servants and household staff were fed.

We can make smaller portions of higher quality food and still have a historical reason for doing so.

After you have decided what you want to make and which course it belongs in, next is to 1) determine ingredients, 2) the steps and equipment for each dish, 3) then how long it will take to cook, and 4) when to start or how far in advance it can be completed for about a 2:45 meal.


[1] Cooking and Dining in Medieval England

[2] The Boke of Keruynge –. This is referencing the young beers that were standard drink during the era.

Richard II Feast – Ingredients List

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The Ingredient List For The Feast of Richard II

Shortly before mid-day, September 23, 1387, England’s King Richard II and his uncle, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, hosted a feast. Below is the list of the major items and the items served for the feast.

  • Xiiii oxen lying in salte (14 Salted Oxen)
  • IJ oxen ffreyssh (2 Fresh Oxen)
  • Vixx heds of shepe fresh (120 Sheep’s Heads
  • Vixx carcas of shepe fressh (120 Sheep carcasses)
  • Xij Bores (12 Boar)
  • Xiiij Calvys (14 Calves)
  • Cxl pigges (140 Pigs)
  • CCC maribones (300 Marrowbones)
  • Of larde and grece, ynogh (Enough Lard & Grease)
  • IIJ tod of salt veneson (84lb Of Salt Venison)
  • IIJ does of ffressh venison (3 Fresh Doe)
  • IIJ disson pullayn for Gely (60 Poultry for jelly)
  • Xjj dd to roste (144 poultry to roast)
  • C dd peions (1200 Pigeons)
  • Xjj dd partrych (144 Partridge)
  • Viij dd Rabettes (96 Rabbits)
  • X dosen Curlews (120 Curlew)
  • Xij dosen Brewes (144 Whimbrel)
  • Xij Cranes (12 Cranes)
  • Wild fowle ynogh (Enough Wildfowl)
  • VJxx galons melke (120 gallons of Milk)
  • Xij galons Creme (12 gallons of Cream)
  • Xl galons of Cruddes (40 gallons of Curd)
  • Iij bushels of Appelles (3 bushells of Apples)
  • Xj thousand eggs (11,000 Eggs)

The Poultry

  • L Swannes (50 Swan)
  • CCx gees (210 Geese)
  • L capons of hie grece (50 Fat Capons)
  • Viii dussen other capons (96 Other Capons)
  • Lx dd Hennes (720 Hens)
  • CC coppull Coyngges (400 Rabbits)
  • IIIJ Fesauntes (4 Pheasant)
  • V herons and Bitores (5 Heron & Bittern)
  • Vi kiddes (6 Goat)

The First Course

  • Veneson with Frumenty – Venison with a thick, sweet porridge of wheat
  • A pottage called viaundbruse – A Stew Of Soft Meat
  • Hedes of Bores – Boars Heads (traditional at nearly every feast)
  • Grete Flessh – Great Flesh (Roast Oxen)
  • Swannes roasted – Roast Swan
  • Pigges roasted – Roast Pigs
  • Crustarde lumbard in paste – Sweet Pastry Custards Of Wine, Dates & Honey
  • And a Sotelte – And A Subtlety

The Second Course

  • A pottage called Gele – A Stew called Jelly
  • A pottage de blandesore – A White Soup
  • Pigges Roasted – Roast Pigs
  • Cranes roasted – Roast Cranes
  • Fesauntes roasted – Roast Pheasants
  • Herons roasted – Roast Herons
  • Chekens endored – Chickens Glazed
  • Breme – Bream
  • Tartes – Tarts
  • Broke braune – Jellied Brawn Of A Deer
  • Conyngges roasted – Roast Rabbits
  • And a sotelte – And A Subtlety

The Third Course

  • Potage. Bruete of Almonds – Sweet Stew Of Almonds, Honey & Eggs
  • Stwde lumbarde – Sweet Syrup Of Honey, Dates & Wine
  • Venyson roasted – Roast Venison
  • Chekenes Roasted – Roast Chickens
  • Rabettes Roasted – Roast Rabbits
  • Partrich Roasted – Roast Partridge
  • Peions roasted – Roast Pigeons
  • Quailes roasted – Roast Quail
  • Larkes roasted – Roasted Larks
  • Payne puff – Pan Puff
  • A dissh of Gely – A Dish Of Jelly
  • Longe Frutours – Long Fritters
  • And a sotelte – And A Subtlety