This unique collection of recipes, or menus as they include not only how to make a dish but also how and when to serve it, has been compiled from more than twenty medieval manuscripts. The recipes date from the fourteenth century and are the earliest such examples in English. Interestingly, it appears that many of these recipes, found only on the menus of the upper classes, remained virtually unchanged until the sixteenth century.
The menus include the all-important order of serving, that strict etiquette that ruled medieval mealtimes, and which meant that most members of a household were only entitled to the first course and that the more delicate dishes were served only to the higher ranks. This too seems to have remained unchanged for hundreds of years.
Here we can also see how it was thought natural to take the most substantial foods first, leaving the richer and sweeter courses for later, much as we do today. We do not, however, include small game birds as part of `dessert' as these menus do.
Presented here in early English, this invaluable collection gives great insight into the medieval kitchen and household, and is the perfect guide to modern recreations of medieval meals and feasts.