Medieval Week!

In anticipation of the Sunday start of the last season of a show we have not licensed to use its name so we won’t say it….we will be offering Medieval Fair to help build the excitement. A couple things to keep in mind regarding this cuisine – it wasn’t based on the USDA’s pyramid. Okay, so how would you characterize medieval food? Well, Meat, Meat, and more Meat, with a side of Meat, a turnip, burnt bread, and a few pieces of stewed fruit…awesome.

Okay, so you got it. The food is heavy with protein, and consists mostly of wild animals such as boar, pigeon (or grouse), snake, quail, Aurochs (we are going to make you google that one….), eel (unagi!) as well as many still eaten today such as goats (yes, the most widely eaten meat in the world…except here…), Lamb or Mutton, or Chicken….oh, and the meat-on-a-stick and smoked turkey legs are the modern day renaissance festival invention (ever seen anyone dressed as Captain Kirk walking around a renaissance festival….it is mind blowing…not that we go to those….).

Back to the pyramid – so lots of protein and carbs in the forms of crusts and breads (they really liked to cook with burned bread….adds a depth of flavor to stocks and stew), rice was introduced by Alexander the Great, and pasta was brought back to Italy by Marco Polo in the 13th Century. However, the potato was introduced much later by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1549, and it took until the 18th centuries until widespread cultivation and consumption in Europe.

Medieval cooking has a few characteristic spice blends, which are Poudre Douce and Poudre Forte….just think of mulled wine and potpourri and you will get pretty close.

Poudre Douce or “Sweet Powder” – Cinnamon, Cassia Flowers, Ginger, Grains of Paradise, Nutmeg, Galangal, and Sugar

Poudre Forte, or “Strong Powder” – Cinnamon, Mace, Ginger, Ground Cloves, Grains of Paradise Within these spice blends the ones you have unlikely hear of are:

Grains of Paradise – very similar to black pepper, however with a distinct and arguable, more complex flavor.

Cassia Flower Seeds – similar in flavor to cinnamon (but distinct from Cassia cinnamon)

Galangal – similar to ginger. We hope you enjoy Medieval Week…and remember, the only utensils needed are a knife and a two pronged fork….and a two handed broadsword to protect yourself…