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Top 10 Myths about the Middle Ages

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nona
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Post by nona » Sun January 25th, 2009, 10:00 pm

I would have to say that unless forced to leave solid land I would never do so, first off I'm not a water kinda person and second off chances were you were going to be out there a long time and you always seemd to run out of food or at least fresh food and the stench! unless of course if it's a channel but open sea, I'ld be witless.

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Mon January 26th, 2009, 2:38 am

Medieval folks ate a lot of greens and roots that we no longer have in our regular culinary repertoire. A lot of these were semi-wild and contained (still contain, actually) a lot more vitamins than our modern veggies do.
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annis
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Post by annis » Mon January 26th, 2009, 3:22 am

I recall reading that in medieval times people ate greens which were much more feral and bitter than modern taste could cope with. And as we know, bitter means more nutritional value. Possibly this is the origin of the saying that if it tastes bad it must be good for you.

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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Mon January 26th, 2009, 4:11 am

I consider much of the list to be suspect.

And I'm reminded of the fact that a lot of what we "know" about any such distant point in history is really just a guess based on the evidence left behind.

It's interesting to think of what people a few hundred years from now might decide our experiences were. They seem to have spent hours in front of electronic boxes. Apparrently this was an amusement for them. They became so attached to the boxes that they developed permanently curved fingers, which as we know resulted in...

Ash
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Post by Ash » Mon January 26th, 2009, 1:37 pm

Do you know about the tribe of the Nacirema?

http://www.motherlandnigeria.com/boomie/nacirema.html

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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Mon January 26th, 2009, 3:16 pm

ROFL! Thank you Ash. I was a bit confused by the baking of heads in magic boxes, but the rest was perfectly clear.

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Libby
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Post by Libby » Mon January 26th, 2009, 9:10 pm

[quote=""EC2""]Blackcurrants weren't native and came in later. Best thing to do is read Anne Hagen's Food in Anglo Saxon England for the lowdown on what was and wasn't available, how it was grown, processed and eaten. It covers more than just the Anglo Saxon period. It's one of my desert island food history books as far as research goes. I put black currants in The Winter Mantle and then discovered they weren't native. Also see CM Woolgar Food in Meideval England, Yale University Press, specifically for details on gardens and garden produce and the archaeology of Medieval plant foods. I took an excellent course on medieval foods and cooking with Dr. Gillian Polack over at suite 101 a few years ago.
As an e.g. from Hagen she lists apples, pears, crab apples, pears, cherries, plums, peaches (imported, I don't know, but mentioned in leechdoms) elder, mulberries, blackberries, strawberries, myrtle, sloe, whortleberry, bullace, damson,grapes, raspberries. There's a certain amount of discussions re tree grafts and cultivation. Fruits were both cultivated and culled from the wild.
They were eaten both raw and cooked.[/quote]

Thanks for that! I'm learning that the devil really is in the detail as far as historical fiction is concerned.
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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Mon January 26th, 2009, 9:54 pm

Peaches! That's a surprise. Aren't they native to China?
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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Mon January 26th, 2009, 10:06 pm

[quote=""Margaret""]Peaches! That's a surprise. Aren't they native to China?[/quote]

I don't know - They certainly don't grow here well now. Hagen mentions them three times in the book but always as a literary reference in leechdoms. However, two peach trees were planted at the Tower of London in 1275 (Medieval Gardens by Teresa McLean) but they were dear - 6pence each as opposed to the cherry trees planted at the same time which only cost a quarter penny. They appear to have been high status and not prolific - peripheral rather than common.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Mon January 26th, 2009, 10:35 pm

And it was colder in the Middle Ages than it is now. But I think they grew tender plants in special walled gardens where they were sheltered from the wind and where the stone walls held the warmth of the day through much of the night. They may even have been espaliered. I suppose the young peach saplings journeyed along the Silk Road with all sorts of other exotic luxuries. Wealthy medieval folk did have spices from the Orient - also very expensive.
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