The middle (aka dark) ages are possibly one of the most misrepresented times in European history. From Monty Python and the Holy Grail to Robinhood Men in Tights, the middle ages are commonly portrayed as a time of rampant ignorance, filth and general backwardness from which we've only gradually clawed our way out of.

The fact is that this time period was in fact more colorful, lively and nuanced than the grim, mud splattered depictions in Hollywood would have us believe.

Most people imagine middle age cuisine to consist mostly of gruel, slop and hastily slaughtered animals slowly rotating on spits (okay that last one was pretty common). From the use of ale and beer to round out caloric needs, to the invention of bread bowls, the period is chock full of delectable culinary facts.

We learn a lot of horror stories about the Middle Ages in Europe, but the food and dining aspects are often left out. Here are 10 facts about medieval diet and cuisine, in case you can't make it to a Medieval Times restaurant. 

 

A beer a day kept the doctor away

MEDIEVAL CUISINE Beer and ale provided necessary calories Ales and beer (which were lower in alcohol content) were a daily source of energy for laborers. Slate calls it the medieval equivalent of drinking Gatorade. CRACKED.COM

Source: Slate

Move aside, Panera

MEDIEVAL CUISINE Bread bowls aren't a recent invention Some people in the Middle Ages used pieces of breads as plates. Trenches were pieces of bread (often stale) that were slightly hollowed out before holding food. CRACKED.COM

Source: British Library

Don't use a fork, you heathen.

MEDIEVAL CUISINE Forks were considered sacrilegious Europe was slow to adapt to forks. The English were critical of using forks for as late as the 16th century, believing it was insulting to God to not use your God-given hands. CRACKED.COM

Source: AP News

Stop scratching your bites during dinner

MEDIEVAL CUISINE Don't fart, scratch flea bites, or pick your nose at the table Popular etiquette books instructed diners on fine manners, such as the pretty good list above. CRACKED.COM

Source: British Library

They ate what now??

MEDIEVAL CUISINE Europeans used to love to eat 'monkey's bottoms' The fruit (now better known as medlar) with the vulgar nickname was also was called open arse due to its appearance. CRACKED.COM

Source: BBC

Breakfast was for peasants

MEDIEVAL CUISINE Breakfast was considered for the weak and lower class. Nobles didn't take breakfast until the 16th century. Eating more than one meal was considered a form of gluttony, so it was only practiced by those who needed it, due to health or hard labor. CRACKED.COM

Source: Smithsonian

Sign up for the Cracked Newsletter

Get the best of Cracked sent directly to your inbox!

Tags

Forgot Password?