Sun, 04 Jul 2004 21:19:51
Links: Medieval Kitchens

Greetings my faithful readers!

This episode of the Links List is about Medieval Kitchens--not the food itself, but the place where it was prepared.
How was it organized? Where was it built? Who worked there? What did it look like? All valid questions, and ones I find fascinating, as I hope you will, as well. There is little to find, web-wise, on this subject. Much of what I did find was from Aethelmearc's Dame Katja Orlova--so thanks Katja for not only suggesting this topic but also for being a good source of information.

As always, please pass the Links List along to those who will find it interesting, and refrain from sending it to those who do not. This weekly list of medieval webpages on a common theme relies ont he premise of "pay it forward" rather than pay it back---no one makes any money from it, and we are all enriched from reading what is contained therein.


Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon, OL
Endless Hills

A Study of Cooking Tasks, Methods, and Equipment in the Renaissance Kitchen by Dame Katja Orlova (copyright Chris Adler)
(Site Excerpt) Judging from these menus of foods selected not only for their taste and texture but also their color and smell, a meal prepared in the high Middle Ages for nobility was a lavish experience for all the senses. But these menus also beg the question to the modern cook: how ever did a cook of that time prepare this variety of elaborate dishes in a kitchen with dirt floors, a wood- or coal-fired heating source, no running water, and no modern appliances such as food processors or spice grinders? As history buffs and cooks, we look at period recipes and try to figure out how to recreate them. We rarely really think about how those recipes were prepared back then - not the proportions of ingredients and the timing of the cooking, but actually what equipment was used! The answer might surprise you - both descriptions in period recipes and depictions in period artwork reveal that the kitchen of a manor or palace was a well-organized and meticulously coordinated operation with up to dozens of servants assigned to specific tasks (often in several different rooms).

ThinkQuest Medieval Kitchen
Site is brief. Excerpt:) The medieval kitchen was where all the dishes for the castle's meals were prepared. It was usually set away from the great hall, where most of the meals were served. This was to prevent a fire in the kitchen from spreading to the great hall. Fires happened often because all food was cooked over a fire or in an oven. However, because the kitchen was built away from the great hall, food often got cold on the trip from the kitchen to the great hall. Thus, an enclosed passageway of wood or stone would be constructed between the two. This would help to keep out the wind and keep the food warm on the trip. The kitchen itself could be constructed of wood or stone.

Meideval/Renaissance Food Pages--Clip art from Medieval Kitchen illustrations
You may have to pick and choose, but do look at them all. Several of the gif/pdf, for instance, have background detial that is interesting.

The Medieval Kitchen (a camp-kitchen with photos from a re-enactment group)

Gode Cookery: A Feast for the Eyes
A Medieval and Renaissance Food and Feast Image Colelction
Kitchens and Cooking Equipment
52 images of cooks and kitchens. Notice that no. 44 has a prtable oven and proof of pretzels in medieval cuisine!

Coventry City News: Bid to reveal medieval kitchen's secrets Nov 11 2002
(Site Excerpt: Note: Copy-paste long URLs to the web browser window)
A ?1 million project will unveil a medieval cooking place for the first time since World War Two at Coventry's St Mary's Guildhall. Coventry City Council looks set to submit a Heritage Lottery bid to raise half the estimated costs of restoring the ancient kitchen which is hidden behind a modern one. The project will be submitted for council Cabinet approval later this month and if it gets the green light, work would start next year to strip away the modern equipment to reveal the wonders underneath....

Riksantikvarieambetet Casatle (a re-enactment site with a photo of a kitchen)

Extant/restored Medieval Kitchen with child in the fireplace!

Penn State Center for Medieval Studies: The Kitchen Garden

Balleyport Castle, Co. Clare, Ireland
Photo of a restored kitchen for modern use (faucet installed on medieval stone sink!)

Kitchens at Hampton Court Palace
Map, detailed photos of Tudor Kitchen

Acanthus Books ( a book sale page, see other listings as well)
The Medieval Cookpot

Museum of London Saxon Cookpots and other implements
(Note: Copy-paste wrapped URLs. ) Click on underlined aquisitions numbers to view images of items.

Skeletons dug up in kitchen at Holyrood
(Site Excerpt) THE skeletons of eight people have been discovered under the Queen's kitchen in The Palace of Holyroodhouse. The origin of the remains puzzle experts, although it is believed they were probably townsfolk who lived near a monastery which once stood on the site of the palace. Police were alerted on Monday after gas workers laying new mains under the kitchen found the skeletons.

The Tudor Kitchen
(Site Excerpt) Few people today can even think of England's Henry VIII without conjuring up images of turkey legs and vast feasts. Historically, this image is not far from the actual truth. Once Henry took over Hampton Court from his former minister Cardinal Woolsey , the king installed a staff of nearly 1600 people to cater to his kingly whims. Foremost among these was the process of feeding the King and his court..

Renaissance Kitchen Accessories
(Just for laughs---I couldn't resist! See the "Renaissance banana tree!" Hee hee... pseudo-history at it's finest--or worst, depending on your point of view :)