The medieval period has inspired a lot of contemporary dishes. The following are some variants of modern-day cuisine that were popular back in the day.
A sweet and sour dish in the Middle Ages? Yes, it did exist. And no, we are not talking about the Chinese takeaway equivalent. A collection of culinary manuscripts from the 14th century called Curye on Inglish features a curious rabbit-inspired dish from medieval Europe. This sweet and sour rabbit includes red wine vinegar, sugar, currants, onions, ginger, cinnamon and a healthy dose of pepper.
The same manuscripts have instructions for a dish that seems very much like pasta. It was made of fine flour rolled into paper-thin noodles and cooked in broth. The dish was known as “losyns” and involved layering the pasta with cheese sauce. The lack of tomatoes in that period meant there was no Bolognese but losyns was still a popular dish and helpful at the end of meals to soak up the beer and alcohol.
How about rice? The crop was grown in the continent as early as the 8th century. By the end of the Middle Ages, it was popular across Spain and Italy and exported all over Europe. One popular rice dish of that time was “blancmager,” a soft rice dish which combined fish or chicken with sugar and spices. It was simple to make and quite plain so was possibly used as a restorative. Another rice dish was called “prymerose,” a pudding-like dish which combined rice flour, almonds, honey, and primroses.
Different forms of pastry were also commonplace in medieval Europe. For instance, meat would be wrapped in pastry before being placed in ovens to prevent burning. Sometimes, pie crusts were decorated but would often be discarded quickly to get to the filling. Still, some pastry dishes were intended to be eaten as a whole, such as cheese and mushroom pastries.
For those with a sweet tooth, almond and sugar were served at the end of the meal. There was another candy that combined pine nuts with sugar, honey and breadcrumbs and offered a chewy feel. Also, almond milk was a popular drink during the Middle Ages.