When most people conceptualize the phrase “medieval eating,” they tend to conjure up images of giant loaves of bread, dripping joints of meat, and overflowing containers of ale. It’s the image that decades of movies, television shows, and plays have imparted on viewers. In these types of visual media, medieval kings are generally portrayed as eating a great quantity of food that is hastily prepared in a way that can most generously described as “rustic.”
In truth, medieval foods that were served in royal courts were in fact quite delicately and elegantly prepared, more beautiful than barbarian. If you were a king in the medieval era, chances are that the following dishes would grace your table.
Although they are not commonly shown in a medieval context, most denizens of the era ate a great quantity of soup. Boiling helps extract the delicate flavor of the ingredients without making a dish too heavy, a valuable trait for king or courtier who was expected to partake in many courses.
Bread may be the most commonly depicted form of carbohydrate in medieval meals, but there were actually a great many different baked flour products. Kings were often treated to many different varieties of pastry, which took on a multitude of fanciful shapes in order to add some whimsy to the table.
Kings did in fact eat large portions of domesticated creatures, like cows and sheep. But at the same time, meals and especially feasts often featured a large variety of wild meats. Game was popular because of its sophisticated flavor and perceived scarcity, which made it a delicacy in most courts.
In essence, the diets of medieval kings were as varied as the diets of modern people are. They ate many different types of preparations of food, so long as they were always top notch.