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Cooking Food in the Middle Ages

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

Cooking Food in the Middle Ages

The methods of Cooking food during the Middle Ages depended on the place where you lived. The majority of the lower classes lived in villages in poor, small huts. If you were wealthy or of the Upper classes your home would be in a castle or great house. The castles had great kitchens serviced by many serfs or servants. The poor had to cook in their small hut over an open fire.

Cooking Food in the Castles
The Ground Floor of the castle was the place where the kitchen and storerooms were located. Castle Kitchens were included cooking ovens for baking and huge fireplaces for smoking and roasting food. They also had a water supply complete with a sink and drainage. The kitchens were built against the curtain wall of the castle , in the inner bailey and connected to rooms called the Buttery, the Bottlery, the pantry and the storerooms:

  • The Buttery was originally intended for storing and dispensing beverages, especially ale. The person who presided over the buttery was called the Butler. Next to the buttery another room was added later called the Bottlery
  • The Bottlery was intended for storing and dispensing wines and other expensive provisions. It was usually located between the Great Hall and the Kitchen
  • The Pantry was intended for the storage of perishable food products
  • The Storerooms in castles were often located over the buttery and pantry and were used to store non-perishable kitchen items and products

Methods of Cooking Food in the Middle Ages
The Cooking Methods used during the Medieval era included:

  • Spit roasting
  • Baking
  • Boiling
  • Smoking
  • Salting
  • Frying

Cooking Food in the Middle Ages - Cooking Utensils
The majority of cooking food during the Middle Ages was conducted over an open fire. Useful cooking utensils for this method of cooking were pots, pans, kettles, skillets and cauldrons. To prepare the food a range of knives, ladles, meat forks and scissors were used. The mortar and pestle were essential cooking utensils for cooks who used nuts spices in their recipes

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