They didn't have much in the way of meat, but they did eat a variety of cereal grains and vegetables. History says that the Middle Ages was characterized by a rise in the power of the Catholic Church, and that meant more people were observing Lent and all its restrictions. It was sometimes seasoned with whatever herbs were foraged, then barley was added, too — a staple grain. That means only the very rich could afford them, and not only were the wealthy not eating rotten meat, but they wouldn't have wasted spices on them if they had. The bread consumed in wealthy households, such as royal or noble families, was made of the finest grains, such as wheat flour. It wasn’t spicy, spices being extremely pricey in Europe in the Middle Ages; while the wealthiest used them with wild abandon, and … This could be a valuable source of income for the lord, and a burden on the tenant. Surprisingly, it wasn't just mud stew. The Lower Classes ate rye and barley bread. Statutes Governing the Baking of Bread in Medieval Times. I thought they weren't rinsing their bread pans well enough. Within about 100 years, the guilds had split into separate organisations for white and brown bread. Quick, imagine a medieval peasant. White bread, 3 fish dishes and 3 meat dishes. What Medieval peasants really ate in a day, The National University of Ireland: Maynooth, ultra-trendy idea of almond-based products. The same as real ale would taste today, albeit less clear and perhaps tainted with wild yeasts. In medieval times kings ate bread, fruits and oats. For a drink the kings had wine or ale. Because they contained everything in a handy pocket, and they could be eaten on the run. Yes, medieval people toasted bread over the fire. Bread just wouldn’t taste like bread to us without at least a faint dash of lactic acid. Most people would probably consider a diet consisting heavily of grains, beans, and meat to be common fare among those alive in the Medieval era, and they wouldn’t be wrong to assume as much. For a drink they had wine or ale. Interestingly, there were other substitutions made, too: almonds were incredibly popular, and the ultra-trendy idea of almond-based products actually has medieval roots. But go back to the medieval era, and you'll find that while people didn't have the sort of variety of drinks we have today, they still weren't too bad off. There was one area on the Thames, for example, that was essentially a group of shops that were open 24/7, and sold a variety of foodstuffs at all different price points. In many cases, the right to cook bread in a public oven was one over which a lord of the manor had control. It's hard to tell, but we do know that cannibalism during the Crusades (and the siege and capture of Ma'arra, in Syria) was reported in multiple independent sources, giving that one some credence. An art historian embraces her foodie side to uncover the tastes of the Byzantine Empire . Lucky ducks. The Upper Classes ate a type of bread called Manchet which was a bread loaf made of wheat flour. Beavertails were scaly like fish, so they were approved, and also unborn bunny fetuses were allowed. Instead of using spices, Middle Ages peasants made sure their meat didn't go bad in the first place, by salting, drying, or smoking it ... which doesn't sound half bad. Staples were meat (mostly sheep and cattle) and cabbage stews, cooked in the pots over an open hearth. They say that while it was a luxury for some, it was a necessity for others as it helped stave off malnutrition. That was then left to cook over an open fire or a hearth. Why were pies so popular? The urban peasant could expect to find things like meat pies and pasties, bread, pies, pancakes, hotcakes, pies, wafers, and more pies. Source(s): That takes a lot of core foodstuffs off the menu for a long time, and Atlas Obscura says there was a bit of a work-around. Middle Ages Drink. People of lesser-means ate bread made from rye or barley, which was called maslin, and the poorest people would have black bread, made from whatever grains could be found, in cases of real poverty, foodstuffs such as hazelnuts, barley or oats. Bread, accompanied by meat and wine, was the centrepiece of the medieval diet. Because of the importance of bread in medieval times, the miller held an important and vital position in society. Legumes like chickpeas and fava beans were viewed with suspicion by the upper class, in part because they cause flatulence. Makes sense, right? The inhabitants of medieval towns liked their bread white, made from pure wheat, finely sifted. The myths and legends of Robin Hood get one thing right: deer was not for the peasants. Mixed with bran, the bread of the poor was dark, like the slices on which food was placed during mealtimes. Homemade bread is almost always better than store bought bread; it doesn't have preservatives or chemicals and it always tastes better unless you really muck up the recipe. It's an acquired taste. The type of bread consumed depended upon the wealth of the person who purchased it. The common belief is that after the diners were finished with their food, the used trencher was given to the poor. In the very early days they used “open” ovens, which were basically hollow clay cylinders, open at both ends. And through it all were the peasants, the poor people living at the bottom of the social order, doing all the heavy lifting and quite a bit of the miserable dying. Any baker found contravening the regulations could be banned from the trade for life, showing just how important bread was seen within society.