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A Simple Medieval Lunch

One of my favorite things about medieval encampments is wandering around the various camps to see what they ate during their time in history and their part of the world.

I was amazed to learn that there were no potatoes, tomatoes, or peppers in Europe during medieval times. In spite of this lack of modern staples, food was varied and delicious with oodles of nuts, fruit, vegetables, herbs, and spices.

It always gives me an urge to go foraging and collect baskets full of mushrooms (which I don’t even like!), hazelnuts, berries, and great sprays of elderflower, feverfew, and dillweed.

In our medieval Bedouin camp we do hot breakfasts and a hot dinner of roasted meat and savory veg. But for lunch we stick to cold foods that are easy to lay out and scrumptious whether you eat right away or drift in after medieval combat or a riveting discussion on ancient fever treatments.

We start with pickled onions and an array of olives.

 

Our lunches just wouldn’t be the same without Ann’s cheeses that she makes in camp: crumbling, mild cottage cheese…

…and cool, creamy labneh. They both go beautifully with salty olives or darkly sweet prunes, figs, and dates.

If we have time to make them, we bring our own homemade sausages mixed with Hungarian paprika and lashings of fresh garlic. Otherwise we turn to the butcher for an assortment of delicious cold meats.

Along with the savory bites we have baskets of Turkish flat bread and bowls of all sorts of nibbles: almonds and walnuts, dried apples, almond-stuffed dates, and honey-soaked figs.

Needless to say, we never go hungry.

What is your favorite easy, cold lunch? xo

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Grace F - Everything looks good! Gotta love real food!

Rachel Friesen - I’ve often wondered what Medieval European food would have been like: Italian food without pasta, tomatoes, or peppers, no potatoes for pyrogies or rice for cabbage rolls, and not nearly enough sugar for anyone’s sweets. Glad to see it still managed to be delicious πŸ™‚ What is labneh? It looks like a yogurt or a very soft cheese.

Bethany Bassett - Mmm… This would be an authentic supper here in Italy rather than a lunch, but I love fresh burrata and tomatoes, soft cured prosciutto wrapped around breadsticks or cantaloupe, and olives. We have this often in the summer, and it makes me happy every time!

Breanne @ This Vintage Moment - I love an assortment much like what you have here- good cheeses, olives, dried fruit and cold meats. And a good bread. Perfect for a picnic or at home. =) I love that first picture of all the veges in the bowl!

Maureen Shaw - I’m with Jackie. Everything tossed in the middle of the table and pick and choose your favourites. The bread must be fantastic.

Krista - Oh yeah? πŸ™‚ (btw – I’d never heard of Sao biscuits until I moved here :-))

Krista - It really is so fun, @karenbackroadjournal:disqus πŸ™‚

Karen (Back Road Journal) - Never go hungry is right…it sounds like your whole experience is great.

budgetjan - Actually he sounds like Marty,lol. πŸ™‚

Krista - He’s a simple pleasures kind of guy for sure. πŸ™‚ He says he loves my food but he likes his Sao bickies in between times. πŸ™‚

Krista - That would be so fun, @GourmetGetaway:disqus ! πŸ™‚ If you’re at the Abbey Medieval Festival in July, come and say hello. πŸ™‚

budgetjan - That is so funny, I wouldn’t have thought Bear a Sao kind of guy (with all the delights you cook for him).

Gourmet Getaways - I’m all in for anything homemade, such as your sausages and cheeses. Now I want to sit on that table and go “medievalunching” with you guys!

Julie
Gourmet Getaways

Krista - The kale was used by friends of mine, @lizposmyk:disqus , and I believe they used it in a hearty stew. πŸ™‚

Liz Posmyk - Yummy! What did you do with the kale?

Krista - You and Bear are two peas in a pod, @budgetjan:disqus πŸ™‚ That is his favorite snack to have. πŸ™‚

Krista - Yeah, potatoes weren’t known in Europe until the mid-1500’s or later. πŸ™‚ So interesting to learn all this stuff! πŸ™‚

budgetjan - Here is a favourite lunch from my childhood. It was my Mum’s favourite go to. Sao biscuits with cheese and sliced tomato with plenty of salt and pepper. πŸ™‚ Loved the arrangements of the foods and the delicious photographs.

Hotly Spiced - It looks like people in medieval times ate very well despite the lack of potatoes. I thought potatoes were common back then! I love the look of your lunch and it all looks very inviting. I agree with Jackie – it’s like a ploughman’s lunch xx

Krista - Oh yes, your description of the bread you like is the perfect accompaniment to such fare, @disqus_WseMqaTPwi:disqus πŸ™‚

Krista - Isn’t it the best, @tandysinclair:disqus ? So simple yet delicious and filling. πŸ™‚

Krista - Yes, it’s that mix of salt and savory and creamy that makes it all so wonderful, GG. πŸ™‚

Krista - I was surprised about the potatoes too, @monet_anecdotesandapples_com:disqus . They did have tubers and other root veggies like parsnips and turnips though. πŸ™‚

Krista - It sure was, @LindyLouMac:disqus πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to make homemade cheese again so I replicate everything. πŸ™‚

Jackie Smith - Nibbles much like those you pictured are among our favorite lunches; olives, cheese, perhaps a cracker or two or bread with a crisp crust and soft dough inside, berries and fruits (when in season here in ol’ Washington State — blueberries and strawberries and cherries right now). Okay it is 11:55 a.m. between your photos and my comment – I must go to the kitchen now. . .

Monet@anecdotesandapples.com - Gorgeous! I am surprised they didn’t have potatoes back then. This spread looks just heavenly though.

Glamorous Glutton - I love cold meats, olives and cheese. It is the perfect mix of salt and savoury. Looks like you had a great time. GG

Tandy Sinclair - Love your lunch! To me cured meats and cheese is the perfect meal πŸ™‚

LindyLouMac - What a feast! πŸ™‚

Krista - Oh boy, Jackie, that sounds absolutely fantastic!! πŸ™‚ I’d happily share a lunch like that with you. πŸ™‚

Jackie - For me, it would have to be a ploughman’s lunch. cold meat, (must be silverside), pickled onions (old fashioned), hard strong cheese, picalilli (non sweet mustard pickle, chocablock full of veg) and a good bread (don’t care as long as it’s good). Yep that’ll do me. πŸ˜€

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