Buy food to supplement 2 of their meals and one snack every day. Another common sight at the medieval dinner table was the frumenty , a thick wheat porridge often boiled in a meat broth and seasoned with spices. Lean Cuisine does not offer meal plans. All in all, I have been on the diet for 42 days and I have lost 23 lbs and 3 inches off my waist! I agree, too, the frozen meals are definitely a nice bonus — especially the desserts! There's no face-to-face support, but you get support through online message boards and a mentor program that connects newbies with an experienced member.
Also, you can reach a registered dietitian or personal trainer by phone at any time. The optional meal delivery service offers freshly prepared, calorie-controlled meals delivered by FedEx.
But telephone support has some evidence in its favor: Yes, it's a bargain for round-the-clock support. For about the same money, other services offer better track records. For the first two weeks, you eat three extremely low-carb meals a day plus mandatory snacks. After that, you gradually add "good carbs," such as fruits and whole grains. You can customize menus, search a database of more than 1, recipes and get a personalized shopping list. There's online support from staff dieticians and members plus daily motivational emails.
Studies have shown that after one year, carb-restricted diets led to greater weight loss and increased heart health than low-fat diets. However, the advantage disappeared over the long term. How much can you expect to lose? Figure on 8 to 13 pounds during the two- week kick-start phase, then 1 to 2 pounds a week thereafter.
It doesn't cost much, but you don't get as much support as with Weight Watchers or eDiets. The Zone diet is mostly meat, fruits, and vegetables. You eat three meals per day plus two Zone protein-powder snacks. A study of people in the Journal of American Medical Association found the Zone diet helped people achieve modest weight loss after one year, comparable with those on the Atkins , Weight Watchers and Ornish diets, and improved cardiac risk factors.
Premium-priced Jenny Craig lets you order its heart-healthy, nutritionally balanced packaged food by phone and pick it up at a Jenny Craig center or have it delivered through Jenny Direct. You eat three Jenny Craig meals plus a snack per day, and supplement with fruit, vegetables and dairy. Once a week, you get a weigh-in and pep talk with a consultant - who is not a dietician and who earns commissions from selling you products.
There's also round-the-clock phone support. Jenny Craig has a good track record for short-term weight loss up to one year. In a UC San Diego clinical trial of dieters funded by Jenny Craig , Jenny Craig clients lost 11 percent of their initial weight after 12 months, compared with 3 percent weight loss by those who were dieting on their own.
The "doctor-designed" Bistro M. The price is a cut above the competition, too. The plan tries to help you avoid a weight-loss stall out by varying the daily calorie intake between 1, and 1, By eating a little more some days and a little less on others, you'll supposedly prevent your body from becoming used to the same number of calories every day.
While no university studies support the theory that varying caloric intake aids weight loss, the high quality of the food and the relatively large portion sizes have been praised by Health magazine, Dr. Phil and The New York Times. Some plan users have complained of a lack of choices and menu flexibility compared to other plans, but a company spokesman says they offer more than entrees and can make substitutions to accommodate allergies and food preferences.
It's a reasonable price for well-made food with slightly faster average weight loss than with Jenny Craig. This meal-delivery service, endorsed by Marie Osmond and Dan Marino, emphasizes foods with a low glycemic index. The underlying premise is that controlling blood sugar levels leads to weight loss.
The heat-and-eat prepared meals and snacks contain roughly 55 percent "good" carbs, 25 percent protein, and 20 percent fats; like Jenny Craig, you add fruits, vegetables and dairy. Support is available through phone counseling and online chat rooms. There's plenty of research showing that following a diet of 1, to 1, calories a day, such as Nutrisystem, can cause weight loss.
For example, a study by the Obesity Research Center at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in New York found that postmenopausal women who followed a 1,calorie plan for 16 weeks lost an average of 21 pounds. For a meal-delivery diet system, Nutrisystem is more economical than Jenny Craig. Although today's program is not as stringent as the original liquid fast Medifast launched decades ago, the low-fat, relatively low-carb plan is designed to bring about rapid weight loss by coaxing your body into a "fat-burning state" known as ketosis.
The 70 meal replacement choices include shakes, bars, soups, pudding, oatmeal, chili, pretzel sticks, cheese puffs, and scrambled eggs. If you can stick with it, a diet of 1, calories a day can certainly induce rapid weight loss.
This may sound obvious, but I know a lot of folks are probably wondering if Nutrisystem actually works. The answer is YES — if you follow the program as they designed it.
That means, sticking to their meal plan for however long it takes to reach your weight loss goals. Maintaining a healthy weight took on new importance after starting a family.
When I finally decided to sign on with Nutrisystem , my health was not in good shape. The crazy thing is the weight gain really snuck up on me. But, that all changed once I hit my mids. As my friends began settling down and starting families, I continued the partying and overindulgence of my college days, and as my metabolism slowed I really began to pack on the pounds. The big wake-up call came when I finally decided to visit my primary care doctor.
The results of the visit came as a shock, to say the least. It was the middle of winter, and I was laying on the couch late one night when a Nutrisystem commercial came on TV. Dan Marino , the legendary Miami Dolphins Quarterback, was talking about how he had lost more than 20 pounds on Nutrisystem, and for some reason, his words stuck with me see the commercial below. Marino was one of the biggest names in the NFL as a kid, and here he was on TV talking about a diet plan that had worked for him, and he actually seemed genuine and believable.
Whatever the reason, I was convinced it was what I needed. During my research, I found a lot of positive reviews about Nutrisystem, and I knew it was time to give it a try! My family and I. I was able to lose 30 pounds with Nutrisystem, and have been able to keep it off by making simple lifestyle changes.
It was affordable, convenient, tons of people reported great results online, and they guaranteed the weight loss.
After doing a little research, I decided it was right for me and decided to sign up. I was probably around pounds when I finally decided to jump on the bandwagon, and my weight was going nowhere but up at that point. Nowadays, I try to stay as close to as possible, and I am usually able to maintain that goal, give or take a pound or two.
That being said, I still utilize diets like Nutrisystem from time-to-time, when I feel like I need a re-charge, or to quickly burn off some extra weight. After reaching my goal, I transitioned to a plan that includes their Turbo Shakes, healthy foods that I prepare on my own, and a regular exercise routine.
While their Basic plan worked for me for me, they have several options to choose from. The big takeaway here: Pick a plan that fits your budget and dietary needs they have specialty plans for vegetarians and diabetics , and know that ALL of their plans are going to help you lose weight when used correctly. There is a ton of variety, the meals are quick and easy to make, and they even have frozen options that take the quality up another notch.
You can view their full menu at the official Nutrisystem website. Ultimately, I wanted to make a goal of losing about 10 pounds per month. For me, this was very doable following their diet plan. The results are going to be different for everyone, but if you have 20, 30 lbs, or more to lose, then I would expect to be on the diet for at least two months.
In my case, once I reached my weight loss goal, I had established a routine for how much I needed to eat each day, so I was comfortable developing a plan of my own. As someone who has lost more than 30 pounds using the Nutrisystem program, I can tell you that it absolutely works. I highly recommend it to anyone who has 10 or pounds to lose. Nutrisystem Turbo 13 is one of the most effective ways to lose weight, and is a great fit for anyone who wants an easy plan to follow.
I've used their plan now several times over the years, and it's one of our highest rated weight loss products here on the site. I really liked your story. I am in day 2 of my Turbo Program. My history with NS is in I had my 3rd child, 12 months and one day after my 2nd. My weight on delivery date was My normal weight was I went down to Lowest in my life, and I felt good. I did feel healthier at which I managed to maintain for 20 something years. In 3 years I graduated a size I weighed when I graduated.
I still weigh 10 years later and feel awful. I too started to eat out and drink wine. I only hope I have the will power to succeed this time.
I feel I have to become a hermit and say no to going out with my friends, neighbors and family. But now I am older and I dread the fact it may take me years to lose all this fat.
But I have only myself to blame. Reading your story has given me some inspiration. I am going to make 10 weight loss increments only as to not get discouraged.
Thank you for sharing your story. Hi Cheryl- Thanks for reading, and sharing…What an inspiring story! I still have a drink occasionally, but try to keep it limited to social gatherings and not an everyday thing. In any case, best of luck with your weight loss journey! Norman, you seem to know the NS diet very well. I have been on this diet around 7 years ago and I see a few new changes this time. My order has arrived and I unpacked my Turbo Box yet did not keep that food separate, and now i am really unsure of what was in it for my first week….
Best of luck with the program. Hope that helps -NS. You want to be at your goal weight then, not wishing you did something about it yrs ago. No, you cannot pound them back, but I am not sure why you would want to anyway. Co-workers always ask me to go out for a drink and they order whatever and I order a diet coke.
You could blame it on medication if you want. When I go out to eat or go to cookouts, etc. I order a meat and a vegetable with a diet soda. No potato or anything. At a cookout it would be a burger or chicken with no bread, and a tossed salad or veggie.
You CAN do it. You just have to order carefully. I wish you luck. You can do, I know you can. It is so nice to read a positive article about Nutrisystem. You are so right about your body becoming used to the smaller portions. Like anything, your body goes through an adjustment period, but after a few days, it is quite easy.
With frequent snacks between meals, as well as plenty of fluids, you are eating pretty much whenever you feel hungry. Hi, thanks for the great review! Thanks for the nice comment: Excited to hear how Nutrisystem goes for you — let us know! Hi Ellen — You definitely need to talk with your doctor before trying Nutrisystem or any weight loss plan with your health issues, but they do offer a plan for people with diabetes.
I would recommend checking out their site to learn more about the different plans they offer. They also offer snacks and shakes as options over the course of the day, so that helps with the extra cravings too. Hope that helps, and best of luck with your weight loss journey! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with us so I came to give it a look.
Exceptional blog and brilliant design and style. Thanks for the kind words and for visiting the site — let me know your Twitter handle so I can return the favor! Those first 2 weeks i dropped 13 lbs, but that third week i lost maybe 1 lb. I was only eating the provided meals the first two weeks usually around only calories per day obviously that was unhealthy, so i added in a few snacks to put me right around calories per day.
But unfortunately that has resulted in minimal weight loss. Did you have plateaus like this? And how did you over come these stalls? I did just purchase an elliptical and also a stationary bike, but only on day 2 with those. Your review was wonderful and very well written, so thank you!
Hi Julie- Thank you so much for sharing your story, and way to go for making it through your first month! I think the calorie restriction is the hardest part about Nutrisystem, and why now I typically only do the diet for a month or two and then really focus on just eating right and getting enough exercise after that. For me, the approach after Nutrisystem has been intermittent fasting IF.
That said, I have had a lot of success with it, and find that I can maintain a healthy weight for long stretches of time when using it. I started with the turbo charge and continued now for almost 3 weeks. I have only lost 3 lbs. When I emailed a counselor they said that was normal and I was doing well. Big hope very disappointed. In any case, hope the rest of your month goes well, and best of luck moving forward. I just started Nutrisystem. I always lost weight on the low carb diet when I was younger.
But the fat intake was not good. Just to avoid all the carbs… Did you or anyone else have a issue with how many carbs are in each meal? Is this ok lol… Please someone assure me all the carbs are ok! Thanks for visting, and best of luck with your first month! Thanks for the excellent review and videos.
Excited to see what kind of progress I can make. Hi Krystal — thanks for visiting the site, and taking the time to read my review and watch the videos. Always happy to hear that it helped! Especially important was the fishing and trade in herring and cod in the Atlantic and the Baltic Sea. The herring was of unprecedented significance to the economy of much of Northern Europe, and it was one of the most common commodities traded by the Hanseatic League , a powerful north German alliance of trading guilds.
Kippers made from herring caught in the North Sea could be found in markets as far away as Constantinople. Stockfish , cod that was split down the middle, fixed to a pole and dried, was very common, though preparation could be time-consuming, and meant beating the dried fish with a mallet before soaking it in water. A wide range of mollusks including oysters , mussels and scallops were eaten by coastal and river-dwelling populations, and freshwater crayfish were seen as a desirable alternative to meat during fish days.
Compared to meat, fish was much more expensive for inland populations, especially in Central Europe, and therefore not an option for most. Freshwater fish such as pike , carp , bream , perch , lamprey and trout were common. While in modern times, water is often drunk with a meal, in the Middle Ages, however, concerns over purity, medical recommendations and its low prestige value made it less favored, and alcoholic beverages were preferred.
They were seen as more nutritious and beneficial to digestion than water, with the invaluable bonus of being less prone to putrefaction due to the alcohol content.
Wine was consumed on a daily basis in most of France and all over the Western Mediterranean wherever grapes were cultivated. Further north it remained the preferred drink of the bourgeoisie and the nobility who could afford it, and far less common among peasants and workers. The drink of commoners in the northern parts of the continent was primarily beer or ale. Juices , as well as wines, of a multitude of fruits and berries had been known at least since Roman antiquity and were still consumed in the Middle Ages: Medieval drinks that have survived to this day include prunellé from wild plums modern-day slivovitz , mulberry gin and blackberry wine.
Many variants of mead have been found in medieval recipes, with or without alcoholic content. However, the honey -based drink became less common as a table beverage towards the end of the period and was eventually relegated to medicinal use.
This is partially true since mead bore great symbolic value at important occasions. When agreeing on treaties and other important affairs of state, mead was often presented as a ceremonial gift. It was also common at weddings and baptismal parties, though in limited quantity due to its high price. In medieval Poland , mead had a status equivalent to that of imported luxuries, such as spices and wines.
Plain milk was not consumed by adults except the poor or sick, being reserved for the very young or elderly, and then usually as buttermilk or whey. Fresh milk was overall less common than other dairy products because of the lack of technology to keep it from spoiling.
However, neither of these non-alcoholic social drinks were consumed in Europe before the late 16th and early 17th century. Wine was commonly drunk and was also regarded as the most prestigious and healthy choice.
According to Galen 's dietetics it was considered hot and dry but these qualities were moderated when wine was watered down. Unlike water or beer, which were considered cold and moist, consumption of wine in moderation especially red wine was, among other things, believed to aid digestion, generate good blood and brighten the mood. The first pressing was made into the finest and most expensive wines which were reserved for the upper classes.
The second and third pressings were subsequently of lower quality and alcohol content. Common folk usually had to settle for a cheap white or rosé from a second or even third pressing, meaning that it could be consumed in quite generous amounts without leading to heavy intoxication.
For the poorest or the most pious , watered-down vinegar similar to Ancient Roman posca would often be the only available choice.
The aging of high quality red wine required specialized knowledge as well as expensive storage and equipment, and resulted in an even more expensive end product. Judging from the advice given in many medieval documents on how to salvage wine that bore signs of going bad, preservation must have been a widespread problem.
Even if vinegar was a common ingredient, there was only so much of it that could be used. In the 14th century cookbook Le Viandier there are several methods for salvaging spoiling wine; making sure that the wine barrels are always topped up or adding a mixture of dried and boiled white grape seeds with the ash of dried and burnt lees of white wine were both effective bactericides , even if the chemical processes were not understood at the time.
Wine was believed to act as a kind of vaporizer and conduit of other foodstuffs to every part of the body, and the addition of fragrant and exotic spices would make it even more wholesome. Spiced wines were usually made by mixing an ordinary red wine with an assortment of spices such as ginger , cardamom , pepper , grains of paradise , nutmeg , cloves and sugar.
These would be contained in small bags which were either steeped in wine or had liquid poured over them to produce hypocras and claré. By the 14th century, bagged spice mixes could be bought ready-made from spice merchants. While wine was the most common table beverage in much of Europe, this was not the case in the northern regions where grapes were not cultivated. Those who could afford it drank imported wine, but even for nobility in these areas it was common to drink beer or ale , particularly towards the end of the Middle Ages.
In England , the Low Countries , northern Germany , Poland and Scandinavia , beer was consumed on a daily basis by people of all social classes and age groups.
For most medieval Europeans, it was a humble brew compared with common southern drinks and cooking ingredients, such as wine, lemons and olive oil. Even comparatively exotic products like camel 's milk and gazelle meat generally received more positive attention in medical texts. Beer was just an acceptable alternative and was assigned various negative qualities. In , the Sienese physician Aldobrandino described beer in the following way:. But from whichever it is made, whether from oats, barley or wheat, it harms the head and the stomach, it causes bad breath and ruins the teeth , it fills the stomach with bad fumes, and as a result anyone who drinks it along with wine becomes drunk quickly; but it does have the property of facilitating urination and makes one's flesh white and smooth.
The intoxicating effect of beer was believed to last longer than that of wine, but it was also admitted that it did not create the "false thirst" associated with wine.
Though less prominent than in the north, beer was consumed in northern France and the Italian mainland. Perhaps as a consequence of the Norman conquest and the travelling of nobles between France and England, one French variant described in the 14th century cookbook Le Menagier de Paris was called godale most likely a direct borrowing from the English "good ale" and was made from barley and spelt , but without hops.
In England there were also the variants poset ale , made from hot milk and cold ale, and brakot or braggot , a spiced ale prepared much like hypocras. That hops could be used for flavoring beer had been known at least since Carolingian times, but was adopted gradually due to difficulties in establishing the appropriate proportions.
Before the widespread use of hops, gruit , a mix of various herbs , had been used. Gruit had the same preserving properties as hops, though less reliable depending on what herbs were in it, and the end result was much more variable. Another flavoring method was to increase the alcohol content, but this was more expensive and lent the beer the undesired characteristic of being a quick and heavy intoxicant.
Hops may have been widely used in England in the tenth century; they were grown in Austria by and in Finland by , and possibly much earlier. Before hops became popular as an ingredient, it was difficult to preserve this beverage for any time, and so, it was mostly consumed fresh.
Quantities of beer consumed by medieval residents of Europe, as recorded in contemporary literature, far exceed intakes in the modern world. For example, sailors in 16th century England and Denmark received a ration of 1 imperial gallon 4.
Polish peasants consumed up to 3 litres 0. In the Early Middle Ages beer was primarily brewed in monasteries , and on a smaller scale in individual households. By the High Middle Ages breweries in the fledgling medieval towns of northern Germany began to take over production. Though most of the breweries were small family businesses that employed at most eight to ten people, regular production allowed for investment in better equipment and increased experimentation with new recipes and brewing techniques.
These operations later spread to the Netherlands in the 14th century, then to Flanders and Brabant , and reached England by the 15th century.
Hopped beer became very popular in the last decades of the Late Middle Ages. When perfected as an ingredient, hops could make beer keep for six months or more, and facilitated extensive exports.
In turn, ale or beer was classified into "strong" and "small", the latter less intoxicating, regarded as a drink of temperate people, and suitable for consumption by children. As late as , John Locke stated that the only drink he considered suitable for children of all ages was small beer, while criticizing the apparently common practice among Englishmen of the time to give their children wine and strong alcohol. By modern standards, the brewing process was relatively inefficient, but capable of producing quite strong alcohol when that was desired.
One recent attempt to recreate medieval English "strong ale" using recipes and techniques of the era albeit with the use of modern yeast strains yielded a strongly alcoholic brew with original gravity of 1. The ancient Greeks and Romans knew of the technique of distillation , but it was not practiced on a major scale in Europe until some time around the 12th century, when Arabic innovations in the field combined with water-cooled glass alembics were introduced.
Distillation was believed by medieval scholars to produce the essence of the liquid being purified, and the term aqua vitae "water of life" was used as a generic term for all kinds of distillates. Alcoholic distillates were also occasionally used to create dazzling, fire-breathing entremets a type of entertainment dish after a course by soaking a piece of cotton in spirits.
It would then be placed in the mouth of the stuffed, cooked and occasionally redressed animals, and lit just before presenting the creation. Aqua vitae in its alcoholic forms was highly praised by medieval physicians. In Arnaldus of Villanova wrote that "[i]t prolongs good health, dissipates superfluous humours, reanimates the heart and maintains youth. By the 13th century, Hausbrand literally "home-burnt" from gebrannter wein, brandwein ; "burnt [distilled] wine" was commonplace, marking the origin of brandy.
Towards the end of the Late Middle Ages, the consumption of spirits became so ingrained even among the general population that restrictions on sales and production began to appear in the late 15th century.
In the city of Nuremberg issued restrictions on the selling of aquavit on Sundays and official holidays. Spices were among the most luxurious products available in the Middle Ages, the most common being black pepper , cinnamon and the cheaper alternative cassia , cumin , nutmeg , ginger and cloves. They all had to be imported from plantations in Asia and Africa , which made them extremely expensive, and gave them social cachet such that pepper for example was hoarded, traded and conspicuously donated in the manner of gold bullion.
The value of these goods was the equivalent of a yearly supply of grain for 1. Sugar , unlike today, was considered to be a type of spice due to its high cost and humoral qualities. Even when a dish was dominated by a single flavor it was usually combined with another to produce a compound taste, for example parsley and cloves or pepper and ginger. Common herbs such as sage , mustard , and parsley were grown and used in cooking all over Europe, as were caraway , mint , dill and fennel.
Many of these plants grew throughout all of Europe or were cultivated in gardens, and were a cheaper alternative to exotic spices. Mustard was particularly popular with meat products and was described by Hildegard of Bingen — as poor man's food.
While locally grown herbs were less prestigious than spices, they were still used in upper-class food, but were then usually less prominent or included merely as coloring. Anise was used to flavor fish and chicken dishes, and its seeds were served as sugar-coated comfits. Surviving medieval recipes frequently call for flavoring with a number of sour, tart liquids.
Wine, verjuice the juice of unripe grapes or fruits vinegar and the juices of various fruits, especially those with tart flavors, were almost universal and a hallmark of late medieval cooking. In combination with sweeteners and spices, it produced a distinctive "pungeant, fruity" flavor. Equally common, and used to complement the tanginess of these ingredients, were sweet almonds. They were used in a variety of ways: This last type of non-dairy milk product is probably the single most common ingredient in late medieval cooking and blended the aroma of spices and sour liquids with a mild taste and creamy texture.
Salt was ubiquitous and indispensable in medieval cooking. Salting and drying was the most common form of food preservation and meant that fish and meat in particular were often heavily salted. Many medieval recipes specifically warn against oversalting and there were recommendations for soaking certain products in water to get rid of excess salt. The richer the host, and the more prestigious the guest, the more elaborate would be the container in which it was served and the higher the quality and price of the salt.
Wealthy guests were seated " above the salt ", while others sat "below the salt", where salt cellars were made of pewter, precious metals or other fine materials, often intricately decorated. The rank of a diner also decided how finely ground and white the salt was.
Salt for cooking, preservation or for use by common people was coarser; sea salt, or "bay salt", in particular, had more impurities, and was described in colors ranging from black to green. Expensive salt, on the other hand, looked like the standard commercial salt common today. The term " dessert " comes from the Old French desservir , "to clear a table", literally "to un-serve", and originated during the Middle Ages.
It would typically consist of dragées and mulled wine accompanied by aged cheese , and by the Late Middle Ages could also include fresh fruit covered in sugar, honey or syrup and boiled-down fruit pastes. Sugar , from its first appearance in Europe, was viewed as much as a drug as a sweetener; its long-lived medieval reputation as an exotic luxury encouraged its appearance in elite contexts accompanying meats and other dishes that to modern taste are more naturally savoury.
There was a wide variety of fritters , crêpes with sugar, sweet custards and darioles , almond milk and eggs in a pastry shell that could also include fruit and sometimes even bone marrow or fish. Marzipan in many forms was well known in Italy and southern France by the s and is assumed to be of Arab origin. The English chefs also had a penchant for using flower petals such as roses , violets , and elder flowers.
An early form of quiche can be found in Forme of Cury , a 14th-century recipe collection, as a Torte de Bry with a cheese and egg yolk filling. The ever-present candied ginger, coriander , aniseed and other spices were referred to as épices de chambre "parlor spices" and were taken as digestibles at the end of a meal to "close" the stomach. Just like Montpellier , Sicily was once famous for its comfits , nougat candy torrone , or turrón in Spanish and almond clusters confetti.
From the south, the Arabs also brought the art of ice cream making that produced sorbet and several examples of sweet cakes and pastries; cassata alla Siciliana from Arabic qas'ah , the term for the terra cotta bowl with which it was shaped , made from marzipan, sponge cake and sweetened ricotta and cannoli alla Siciliana , originally cappelli di turchi "Turkish hats" , fried, chilled pastry tubes with a sweet cheese filling.
Research into medieval foodways was, until around , a much neglected field of study. Misconceptions and outright errors were common among historians, and are still present in as a part of the popular view of the Middle Ages as a backward, primitive and barbaric era. Medieval cookery was described as revolting due to the often unfamiliar combination of flavors, the perceived lack of vegetables and a liberal use of spices.
The preservation techniques available at the time, although crude by today's standards, were perfectly adequate. The astronomical cost and high prestige of spices, and thereby the reputation of the host, would have been effectively undone if wasted on cheap and poorly handled foods.
The common method of grinding and mashing ingredients into pastes and the many potages and sauces has been used as an argument that most adults within the medieval nobility lost their teeth at an early age, and hence were forced to eat nothing but porridge, soup and ground-up meat.
The image of nobles gumming their way through multi-course meals of nothing but mush has lived side by side with the contradictory apparition of the "mob of uncouth louts disguised as noble lords who, when not actually hurling huge joints of greasy meat at one another across the banquet hall, are engaged in tearing at them with a perfectly healthy complement of incisors, canines, bicuspids and molars".
The numerous descriptions of banquets from the later Middle Ages concentrated on the pageantry of the event rather than the minutiae of the food, which was not the same for most banqueters as those choice mets served at the high table.
Banquet dishes were apart from mainstream of cuisine, and have been described as "the outcome of grand banquets serving political ambition rather than gastronomy ; today as yesterday" by historian Maguelonne Toussant-Samat. Cookbooks , or more specifically, recipe collections, compiled in the Middle Ages are among the most important historical sources for medieval cuisine. The first cookbooks began to appear towards the end of the 13th century.
The Liber de coquina , perhaps originating near Naples , and the Tractatus de modo preparandi have found a modern editor in Marianne Mulon, and a cookbook from Assisi found at Châlons-sur-Marne has been edited by Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat. Few in a kitchen, at those times, would have been able to read, and working texts have a low survival rate.
The recipes were often brief and did not give precise quantities. Cooking times and temperatures were seldom specified since accurate portable clocks were not available and since all cooking was done with fire. At best, cooking times could be specified as the time it took to say a certain number of prayers or how long it took to walk around a certain field.
Professional cooks were taught their trade through apprenticeship and practical training, working their way up in the highly defined kitchen hierarchy. A medieval cook employed in a large household would most likely have been able to plan and produce a meal without the help of recipes or written instruction. Due to the generally good condition of surviving manuscripts it has been proposed by food historian Terence Scully that they were records of household practices intended for the wealthy and literate master of a household, such as the Ménagier de Paris from the late 14th century.
Over 70 collections of medieval recipes survive today, written in several major European languages. The repertory of housekeeping instructions laid down by manuscripts like the Ménagier de Paris also include many details of overseeing correct preparations in the kitchen.
Towards the onset of the early modern period , in , the Vatican librarian Bartolomeo Platina wrote De honesta voluptate et valetudine "On honourable pleasure and health" and the physician Iodocus Willich edited Apicius in Zurich in High-status exotic spices and rarities like ginger , pepper , cloves , sesame , citron leaves and "onions of Escalon"  all appear in an eighth-century list of spices that the Carolingian cook should have at hand.
It was written by Vinidarius , whose excerpts of Apicius  survive in an eighth century uncial manuscript. Vinidarius' own dates may not be much earlier. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Regional cuisines of medieval Europe.
Food portal Middle Ages portal. The Example of Europe" in Food in Change , pp. Peter Damian Die in ? A New Perspective on his Final Days". Archived from the original on