Medieval Cuisine: the Sources

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About
When looking at a style of cooking that no longer survives, there are many routes towards discovering what it was that people actually consumed and how it was cooked. For the Middle Ages (in Europe, which is the subject of this entry), great strides have been made in the last half-century at working this out.

In first place must stand the study of manuscripts containing recipes and here the work of authors such as Jean-Louis Flandrin, Mary and Philip Hyman (1983), Rudolph Grewe (1979), Constance Hieatt (1988), Carole Lambert (1992), Bruno Laurioux (1997), Barbara Santich (1995a), Terence Scully (1988, 1995) should be applauded. However, there are always difficulties inherent in the information such manuscripts contain: they refer to a restricted social group, they don’t always go into detail, they omit swaths of material that the compilers or authors took for granted.