How Wealthy Nobles Dined In the British Medieval Era

As part of his series about Medieval food, Jason Kingsley OBE of Modern History TV and food historian Chris Carr explain and prepare meals that would be typical to different classes. Kingsley first addressed typical peasant fare. Kingsley and Carr also looked at a meal typical of the wealthy noble class. The dishes were of higher quality, the bread was lighter and more refined than that of peasant’s bread and wine replaced ale. Hands were washed at the table and guests could only use their right hands. The meal consisted of custard pie with saffron, chicken (which was rarely seen at the time) with grape stuffing, and spiced venison.

A knight would often be expected to attend at a feast given by those of even higher standing than himself, perhaps a high ranking bishop or even the King. Food historian Chris Carr demonstrates the type of food the very wealthiest might bring out to entertain their noble guests.

The pair also prepared a meal fit for a knight’s vassal, which included beans, bacon and leeks, pork in sage sauce and lamb pie. The ingredients of these items were a bit more refined than at those at the peasant’s table.

Stopping off at the farmhouse of one of his yeomen, the knight would experience more personal treatment and finer fare than at a poor roadside inn.

They also addressed how healthy each of these meals were and where necessary nutrients were found.

It can be hard to stick to a diet in modern times when eating out. It was much the same for a medieval knight, so when he was dining in his own household his personal physician would work with his cook to keep their master in peak condition. …Jason and …Chris Carr discuss the medieval understanding of nutrition and how it affected the knight’s diet, as well as the influence of spices and how they defined one’s social standing.