Important Advice on attending a Medieval Feast: From Bonvesin de la Riva’s ‘Cinque volgari’ written in the 14th Century “… The diner must enter the hall well-dressed, alert, cheerful and affable at all times. He must be gracious in his conversation both before and during the meal. At table he must not slouch, squirm, lean on his elbows, cross his legs, over-stuff his mouth, criticise the food or dunk his bread in the wine. He must remember to turn aside when sneezing or coughing, and always cut up a lady’s meat for her …”
King Arthur’s Medieval Christmas & New Year’s Feast
You can find many of the recipes below in the Featured Medieval Recipe section as well as in the online library books:-
Only One Course: The 12 dishes, as described by the Gawain Poet in the first course, would be part of a larger feast, probably consisting of 3 courses – (however the Gawain Poet just touches on the first 12 dishes in the poem, and so this suits us perfectly in terms of being able to recreate it). Doing the full 3 Course feast would require a lot of preparation and professional standard catering equipment, and extra serving men and women. Focussing in on just 12 dishes, as well as the remove and voyde, there will be plenty of food (rare meats and dainties) with the subtyltes made to look spectacular – and this will make a spectacle worthy of a feast served by King Arthur himself at Christmas-tide.
Note: While sweet and savoury dishes were often served at the same time within each course, the dessert subtyltes can be eaten last of all by the diners, following a modern eating pattern. Also Medieval music (of the type found at a Royal Court) should introduce the meal, (to a fanfare) and play artfully along in the background. Eat by candle light and home-made presents should be exchanged between the guests at the entrements.
The First Course
Pottage Royal (A Rich Beef Stew / Soup) Serve In Several Small Dishes
Roast Endored Goose, Pheasant & Partridge – Glazed & Served With Frumenty & Fruyter Sayge
Chykonys In Bruette (Chykonys In Bruette Recipe) Serve In Several Small Dishes
Vyaund de Cyprys Bastarde (Vyaund de Cyprys Bastarde Recipe) Serve In Several Small Dishes
Henne In Bokanade (Henne In Bokanade Recipe) Serve In Several Small Dishes
Venyson Y Bake (Venyson Y Bake Recipe) Individual Sized, Decorated With A Deer
Salmon Y Bake: Whole Baked Salmon, In Pastry – Decorate & Shape The Pastry To Look Like a Salmon
Dry Cured Ham (Dry Cured Ham Recipe) Whole Ham To Be Sliced Thin On Delicate Tarts
Wortes & Compost (Seasonal Vegetables & Green Salads) – Not A Normal Feast Dish But It Was Eaten*
Subtylte – Dragons: Fruit Chewettes – Doucets – Apple Fritters – Custardes – all in the shape of a Dragon
Subtylte – A Boars Head Enarmed: a boars head made with marzipan and gold leaf (enarmed: ‘with tusks’)
* Wynkyn de Word, in 1508, had this to say about fresh fruit and vegetables, “Beware of green salads and raw fruits as they will make your lord ill …”
Remove – Fresh Seasonal Fruit – Fried Oranges – Ginger in Syrupe & Chestnuts Royal – Pears In Wine & Syrup
Entremets – Entertainment – Medieval dancing, singing, playing, games, jugglers etc.
Presents – Presents should be (hand-made previously) exchanged at a Christmas-tide feast.
END OF FEAST