Many of the ingredients used in modern cooking came into use between 1492 and 1700.
With the introduction of these new ingredients came a major change in cooking.
This change lead to the cuisine we know today.
This section of my website is not about our current cuisine.
It is not even about the transition that led to our current cuisine.
It is about the ingredients used by cooks in the Middle Ages (900 to 1499) in Western Europe.
I have not even included every ingredient that was available to the medieval cook, only those that were:
- Considered good enough to be used in a feast
- Commonly used
- Appear in primary sources (cookbooks and other period manuscripts)
I have divided the ingredients available to the medival cook by
- Meats - The major changes have to do with how the meat was cut.
- Poultry - The medieval cook had vast variety of birds at his disposal.
- Fish - Fish were common food on the medieval table.
- Dairy Products - Dairy products were an inportant protein source for peasants.
- Vegetables - The medieval cook had a only small selection of vegetables available.
- Fruit - Most of the fruits commonly eaten today were also eaten in the Middle Ages.
- Flowers - Flowers were commonly used in medieval cooking.
- Grains - Grains were used whole, cracked, and milled into flour.
- Herbs - The medieval cook had available a slightly wider selection of cooking herbs as the modern cook.
- Spices - Don't be fooled by the large number of spices used in medieval recipes.
- Nuts - Most of the varieties of nuts eaten today were also used in medieval cooking.
- Sweets - The variety available in the middle ages was very limited.
- Fats and Oils - The medieval cook had a far smaller selection of oils than the modern cook.
- Non‑Alcoholic Beverages - Most of the non-alcoholic beverages that we drink are not medieval.
- Alcoholic Beverages - Alcoholic beverages developed early and were commonly enjoyed.
At some time in the future, I will be adding cross-references that show
ingredients they became available and where they were commonly used.