Monthly Archives: April 2013

Muslim food comes to Europe

The Middle Ages can be said to begin as Mohammed’s successors began to conquer weary, disease-struck regions of the Eastern Roman Empire, and to end as the Muslim-convert Turks finally brought down the walls of Eastern Rome itself: Constantinople. Contact … Continue reading

Posted in Food | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Kitchen gardens

Most medieval houses made it a priority to use even a small bit of exposed earth to make a garden. Deep in cities, people who lived in rooms and flats didn’t even have this much; but country people certainly did, … Continue reading

Posted in Food | Tagged | Leave a comment

Medieval bees

Beekeeping was well-established by the Middle Ages in the Mediterranean region, of course. Farming bees presented more challenges in colder climates, where Charlemagne had mandated that every royal estate must keep bees. In the Mediterranean countries, every region had its … Continue reading

Posted in Food | Tagged | Leave a comment

Charlemagne’s vegetables

He wanted his stewards to send him all wolf hides caught and tanned on his estates, feed his hunting dog puppies at their own expense, and use barrels instead of leather bottles. He wanted them to be sure that the … Continue reading

Posted in Food | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Charlemagne the Farmer: Pt. 1

The earliest detailed document we have about food in Dark Ages Europe is the set of regulations that Emperor Charlemagne imposed on his archipelago of manor farms. A king’s court was too large to stay in one place for long, … Continue reading

Posted in Food | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Medieval farming takes on horses

The new iron-shod moldboard plow could open up fields on land that had looked off limits, and it doubled grain yield per acre. Every 50 years, some higher altitude lands were a few degrees warmer, so farming spread upward, away … Continue reading

Posted in Food | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Dark Ages grain farming

Dark Ages farming in Europe had to adapt Mediterranean Roman techniques to a different climate and soil. At first, fields were planted one year and left fallow the next, to avoid exhausting the soil. Roman farmers had discovered crop rotation … Continue reading

Posted in Food | Tagged | Leave a comment

Dark Ages animals

So we travel back to the Dark Ages, the years when constant migration of barbarians kept civilization to a lower level than Rome had reached. Most of Europe is heavily forested, and the mountain ranges are frozen solid. Settlement tends … Continue reading

Posted in Food | Tagged , | Leave a comment

New series: medieval food

If I start a series on food in the Middle Ages, I’ll take my time and meander through time and region. I’m one of those “begin at the beginning” fanatics. So I’m thinking I’d start with what Europe had as … Continue reading

Posted in Food | Leave a comment