Contrary to what is often believed, good food was valued highly in the Middle Ages - the fragrance of exotic spices filled the air, meat turned on the spit and fish was consumed in abundance for religious reasons. The wealthy made a show of their prosperity by serving peacock or wild boar at banquets, while the poor ate vegetables, porridge and bread. Fresh and preserved fish, meat, fruit and vegetables were transported great distances to grace dining tables across Europe. In The Medieval Kitchen, Hannele Klemettila presents a richly illustrated history of medieval food and cookery in Western Europe and Scandinavia. The book is also a practical cookbook, with a collection of more than 60 originally sourced recipes that can easily be prepared in today's modern home. Hippocras, roasted veal paupiettes with bacon and herbs, and rose pudding tempt with the beguiling flavours of a bygone era. The Medieval Kitchen corrects many common misconceptions about the food of the Middle Ages, and acquaints the reader with the food culture, customs and ideologies associated with eating in medieval times.
The text is accompanied by many fine paintings and drawings, which help to evoke the atmosphere in the dining rooms and kitchens, of both rich and poor, some 600 years ago.
Hannele Klemettila is a postdoctoral researcher of the Academy of Finland and a specialist in medieval cultural history. Her publications include monographs, books, articles and newspaper columns, and she has appeared on radio and television.