On the manors, most peasants had ample food,
prepared simply. After a long day of hard work, people ate quickly and
then slept. But they did not go hungry. It was important to the manor to
keep peasants healthy so they could work.
For most nobles, dinner was an elaborate affair.
Several dishes were served includes game, fish, vegetables, fruit, and
deserts. Foods were sweetened with honey.
Spoons and forks were not used. Instead, people
used their fingers and knives. Things could get pretty messy. Scholars
are still arguing whether or not they used napkins.
If the nobles had guests for dinner, they would
hire entertainers - minstrels, magicians, jugglers - or perhaps one
person would perform several feats.
Although both peasants and nobles on the manors had
ample food, they had limited understanding of how to prepare food
safely. For example, people handled cattle and then directly handled
food. The peasants slept and worked in the same clothes for days
and even weeks at a time without washing themselves or their clothes.
The need to wash their hands before they prepared food did not seem
important to them.
The nobles were not much better. Toothpaste and
toothbrushes did not exist in Medieval Europe. After a meal, nobles used
watered spices on their lips, but all that did was briefly hide the
smell of rotting teeth.
Only the strong survived in Medieval Europe. But
the people did have a strong code of behavior.
Long after the Middle Ages were over, a book was
published, called the Babees Book. It lists the customs and manners of
the Middle Ages. It's truly interesting. If you would like to take a
look, click here: Babees
Gallery - Medieval Cooking
Cookbook - Medieval Foods
Feasts - Recipes Adopted for the Modern Cook
in the Middle Ages
Powerpoints about the Middle Ages
Online Games for the Middle Ages
Middle Ages Clipart for Kids & Teachers
Ages for Teachers
to The Middle Ages for Kids