Thursday, January 03, 2013

Today's research snippet and photo A Medieval kitchen

Richard the Lionheart had a nurse called Hodierna who had had a baby on the same night that Richard was born. She called her own child Alexander and undertook his education at the Benedictine Abbey of St Albans. By 1180 he was teaching in Paris. He wrote among others a work titled De Nominibus Utensilium, which lists household items and includes descriptions of aspects of daily life in the 12th century. I thought for a couple of days I'd post snippets from his work. This is such fabulous informative material!

What there should be in a kitchen. (I guess he means an upper class kitchen here!)

in a kitchen there should be a small table on which cabbage may be minced, and also lentils, peas, shelled beans, beans in the pod, millet, onions, and other vegetables of the kind that can be cut up. There should be also pots, tripods, water, a hatchet, a pestle, a stirring stick, a hook, a cauldron, a bronze vessel, a small pan, a baking pan, a meat hook, a griddle, small pitchers, a trencher, a bowl, a platter, a pickling vat, and knives for cleaning fish.

In a vivarium let fish be kept, in which they can be caught by net, fork, spear, or like talk, all with a basket. The chief cook should have a cupboard in the kitchen where he may store away aromatic spices, and bread flour sifted through a sieve - and used also for feeding small fish. Let there be also a cleaning place where the entrails and feathers of ducks and other domestic fowl can be removed and the birds cleaned. likewise there should be a large spoon for removing foam and skimming. Also there should be hot water for scalding fowl.

Have a peppermill and a hand mill. Small fish for cooking should be put into a pickling mixture, that is, water mixed with salt. To be sure, pickling is not for all fish, for there are of different kinds: mullets, soles, see eels, lampreys, mackerel, turbot, sperlings, gudgeons, sea bream, young tunnies, cod, place, stargazers, anglers, herring, lobsters fried in half an egg,and oysters.

There should also be a garde-robe pit through which the filth of the kitchen may be evacuated. In the pantry let there be shaggy towels, tablecloths, and an ordinary hand towel which shall hang from a pole to avoid mice. Knives should be kept in the pantry, an engraved sauce dish, a salt cellar, a cheese container, a candelabra, a lantern, a candlestick and baskets. In the cellar or store room should be casks, tuns and wineskins, cups, cup cases, spoons, ewers, basins, baskets, pure wine, cider, beer, unfermented wine, mixed wine, claret, nectar mead, pear wine, red wine, wine from Auvergne, clove-spiced wine for gluttons whose thirst is unquenchable.

Click to enlarge
Today's research photo: Bucket jug and cooking pot.  Museum of London


Mistermick1 said...

Absolutely wonderful pictures always spring to mind with your writing and descriptions.
Thank you

Rowan said...

Fabulously interesting. Thanks a lot!
I will have to see how to get my hands on these texts.