According to Alimentarium, the faithful were forbidden from eating meat and other animal-based products during the 40 days of Lent — which also meant no milk, cheese, eggs, cream, or butter. There was the Black Death, the rise of the Catholic Church, the rise of Islam, the Crusades ... it was a busy time. There was also the occasional mention of hot drinks, which were occasionally medicinal and included things like warm goat's milk and teas made from barley, chamomile, and lavender. Fish! As lead writer, Jones sourced most of the recipes from medieval … Instead of using spices, Middle Ages peasants made sure their meat didn't go bad in the first place, by salting, drying, or smoking it ... which doesn't sound half bad. Medieval travel was almost always through settled lands, with lots and lots of farms everywhere, or a village (at least a small one) every 10–40 km. Surprisingly, it wasn't just mud stew. 2 2/3 c bread crumbs 2 c (about one lb) pitted dates 1/3 c ground almonds 1/3 c ground pistachios 7 T melted butter or sesame oil enough sugar We usually mix dates, bread crumbs, and nuts in a food processor or blender. Her findings (which were compiled by analyzing bone samples) were surprising. Apples were commonly used in ciders, sometimes alcoholic and sometimes not, sometimes flavored with various types of berries. Trenchers were flat, three-day-old loaves of bread that were cut in half and used as plates during feasts. Wine and liquor were also forbidden, but let's go back to the meaty restrictions. Malnutrition and death were widespread until church officials started telling of a vision of an angel who had visited a saint praying for guidance. Still, medieval history is dotted with stories of desperation. With access to only barley or rye, peasants would produce very dense, dark loaves based on rye and wheat flour. Generally the Roman bread was known for its hardness, due both to poor quality flour (which absorb less water than the best), as to poor quantity and quality of the yeast used (prepared once a year at harvest time with grape juice and dough of bread). While they weren't dining on the meat and sweet treats the upper class had, it was still a time to enjoy things that were otherwise in short supply through the winter months. Interesting Facts and Information about Medieval Foods. Depending on where you lived (and how nice your lord was), this was also a time that peasants might have gotten a taste of the high life. And by the 9th century, texts were also documenting the phenomenon of pregnant women craving certain foods. My loaves would crumble easily, even falling apart when anything harder than softened butter was spread on … In Scandinavia, where temperatures were known to plunge below freezing in the winter, cod (known as "stockfish") were left out to dry in the cold air, usually after they were gutted and their heads were removed. Unscrupulous vendors quickly discovered that they could hide all kinds of things in pies and no one would know the difference until it was too late. They didn't have much in the way of meat, but they did eat a variety of cereal grains and vegetables. Tacuinum Sanitatis, XVe siècle Bottom line? (A concubine, though, could only claim a third to a quarter, so there's a good reason to get married.). Given the size, they were mostly young animals — which meant they were even killed outside of the accepted winter hunting season. That means only the very rich could afford them, and not only were the wealthy not eating rotten meat, but they wouldn't have wasted spices on them if they had. It has a nuttier taste, the flour is stickier and hard to handle. Tonics were also common, especially among monks. Fast food seems like a distinctly modern idea, but the concept goes back to the medieval era. Beavertails were scaly like fish, so they were approved, and also unborn bunny fetuses were allowed. According to Radford University anthropology professor Cassady Yoder (via Medievalists), there were a ton of medieval peasants living in large cities, too. The nobility loved it because of the taste, and the peasants loved it because it was a cheap, widely available source of nutrition (via Butter Journal). For medieval peasants, those restrictions were hardcore. The foodstuffs came from the castle’s own animals and lands or were paid to it as a form of tax by local farmers. Did they? So what did Medieval food look like for the average person? Then I switched brands and found the same soapy taste. Spartacus Educational estimates that in the late part of the Middle Ages, only around 10 percent of men and one percent of women were literate. In medieval times kings ate bread, fruits and oats. That takes a lot of core foodstuffs off the menu for a long time, and Atlas Obscura says there was a bit of a work-around. Since bread was so central to the medieval diet, tampering with it or messing with weights was considered a serious offense. Bread Tastes Like Soap. The angel had told them to "Mix some meal with their butter to make gruel, so that the penitents should not perish [...]". There's probably a small village or some farms involved, right? Barley was common throughout Europe, but wheat was used frequently, too. Worldhistory.us - For those who want to understand the History, not just to read it. In many cases, the right to cook bread in a public oven was one over which a lord of the manor had control. Cereals were the basic food, primarily as bread. But the one thing I always have struggled with is getting homemade bread to work well for sandwiches. A quick blog update from my Easter holidays, including a fantastic recipe for medieval bread. It's even possible those reports gave birth to the tale of Hansel and Gretel, the unsuspecting children who seemed destined for the dinner table. The Different Types of Bread Available in the Middle Ages. Bread sauce can be traced back to at least as early as the medieval period, when cooks used bread as a thickening agent for sauces. Don’t mess with that bread! Here's a popular belief: during the medieval era, spices were often used to mask the smell and taste of rotten meat. Today, at least, we have things to look forward to in the form of tasty treats. For starters, there's a ton of references in medieval texts to people drinking water. But go back to the medieval era, and you'll find that while people didn't have the sort of variety of drinks we have today, they still weren't too bad off. Source(s): https://owly.im/a9jPV. Some people will tolerate it. Grains like rye and wheat were dried in the sun or air before being stored in a dry place. Also, people were quite familiar with the idea that eating bad meat could make you sick, and it wasn't something they voluntarily did. Most people would probably consider a diet consisting heavily of grains, beans, and meat to be common fare among those alive in the Medieval era, and they wouldn’t be wrong to assume as much. Dining Like A Medieval Peasant: Food and Drink for the Lower Orders. The bread consumed in wealthy households, such as royal or noble families, was made of the finest grains, such as wheat flour. It was, of course, nothing like a conventional 21st-century Jewish honey cake. Porridge has also been made from rye, peas, spelt, and rice. Originally, porridge was made from whatever grain was native to a geographic area. Bread just wouldn’t taste like bread to us without at least a faint dash of lactic acid. That doesn't sound so awful, does it? German bread is not your usual breed of breads. For a drink they had wine or ale. Since bread was so central to the medieval diet, tampering with it or messing with weights was considered a serious offense. It was the responsibility of the lady of the castle to oversee all the domestic aspects of castle-life including the food supply (although a local sheriff actually procured the food required from peasants), the daily menu and the care of any guests. According to Ancient History, leftovers from the manor hall feast were often distributed among the poor, giving them a taste of exotic dishes like peacock, swan, and desserts made with otherwise unattainable sugar. I’ve rarely seen this emphasized in any discussion of recreating period bread, but it had great importance at the time. Staples were meat (mostly sheep and cattle) and cabbage stews, cooked in the pots over an open hearth. And through it all were the peasants, the poor people living at the bottom of the social order, doing all the heavy lifting and quite a bit of the miserable dying. Mead — an alcoholic beverage made from honey — was popular in some areas, and there's also the rare mention of fruit juices. The lord of an estate could insist that each of his tenants pay for the privilege of baking bread in the estate’s oven, rather than making their own. Bread was also included in most meals during medieval times, but it looked very different to the bread we know today. But the regular folks chowed down on them. 3. It's an acquired taste. Makes sense, right? That involves studies like the one done in 2019 and published in the Journal of Archaeological Science. Sounds delicious, but there was a major problem. England’s 1266 Assize of Bread is a good example of the type of regulation which protected consumers as the Middle Ages progressed. Gregory also writes about hermits drinking from streams and says that water was far from feared — it was linked with holy figures and miraculous cures. Even at the time, people weren't thrilled with the idea that their side — no matter which side was "theirs" — was partaking in human flesh. Quick, imagine a medieval peasant. But if you’re planning a medieval dinner party, serve traditional dishes, including bukkenade (beef stew), pumpes (meatballs), cormarye (roast pork), mylates of pork (pork pie), parsnip pie, blaunche perreye (white pea soup), payne foundewe (bread pudding), hypcras (spiced wine), and more. They paid, they left, and they got food poisoning. Again, even peacock, one of the stranger dishes to modern tastes, supposedly tastes like tough turkey. Given the lack of meat bones and the presence of more bones like the legs, archaeologists came to the conclusion that it was the work of peasants, poaching, taking the meatiest bits, and burying the evidence in hopes of avoiding the law. Robin Trento | April 16, 2014 | 4 min read. What does that mean? So did my tasters. Those range from one writer's description of water in Italy ("clear, without odor, and cold") to excerpts like one from Gregory of Tours, who wrote in the 6th century of a man arriving in his village and asking for some water. Should they be lacking in grain following a bad harvest, other ingredients would be substituted into the mixture including acorns, beans and peas. What Did Byzantine Food Taste Like? Dairy products were often perceived as the province of the peasant class. The bread consumed in wealthy households, such as royal or noble families, was made of the finest grains, such as wheat flour. Each had its place within a hierarchy extending from heaven to earth. The medical authorities of the medieval era did issue some warnings about water, but they were along the lines of, "Don't drink the yucky-looking stuff." The same as real ale would taste today, albeit less clear and perhaps tainted with wild yeasts. Homemade bread is almost always better than store bought bread; it doesn't have preservatives or chemicals and it always tastes better unless you really muck up the recipe. While there is some documetation supporting this belief, it is somewhat confusing and may be open to question. These vast parks were managed by the upper class, who were technically the only ones who could hunt there. But that doesn't mean the rules actually stopped people from poaching. https://www.medieval-recipes.com/delicious/barley-bread-recipe The Battle of Fulford, Near York, 20 Sep 1066, Charlemagne: His Empire and Modern Europe, The Peoples of Britain: The Vikings of Scandinavia, The Avignon Papacy: Babylonian Captivity of the Church 1309 – 1377, The Destruction of the Knights Templar: The Guilty French King and the Scapegoat Pope, Food in Medieval Times: What People Ate in the Middle Ages. Jason begins a journey through the social strata of the medieval age by taking a look at the kinds of food the knight might have experienced in his travels. The inhabitants of medieval towns liked their bread white, made from pure wheat, finely sifted. According to Trinity College Dublin, part of the tract specified that if a wife was sick, she was entitled to half of her husband's food while on "sick-maintenance." In fact, it was recommended for those who were suffering from an imbalance of their humors. As it turns out, the smell was sweet and hoppy, the texture was dense (but somehow succulent) and, washed down with a good glass of ale, it was actually delicious. Apart from perhaps eel, none of the above items feature in today’s culinary offerings. It had a flat appearance and was often used as a trencher, or plate, at mealtimes. Mixed with bran, the bread of the poor was dark, like the slices on which food was placed during mealtimes. Fruits were sun-dried in warmer climes and oven-dried in cooler regions. Yes, medieval people toasted bread over the fire. Fish were, of course, exempt from the rule and could be eaten, so logically, certain animals were just re-classified as fish. Don’t mess with that bread! History says that the Middle Ages was characterized by a rise in the power of the Catholic Church, and that meant more people were observing Lent and all its restrictions. Because of the importance of bread in medieval times, the miller held an important and vital position in society. 3 fish or meat dishes. For instance, there's one report that English markets in the 11th century had human flesh for sale. Those were typically things like salted fish, dried apples and vegetables like peas and beans, and meats like bacon and sausage. https://www.medieval-recipes.com/delicious/barley-bread-recipe Carrots, onions, and other available veg were added, and so was cider. The type of bread consumed depended upon the wealth of the person who purchased it. We decided to give this ancient loaf from the wonderful The Medieval Cookbook by Maggie Black a go. Why were pies so popular? Middle Ages Drink. (They migrated, and no one knew where they went to reproduce, so it wasn't as far-fetched as it sounds.) The molecular analysis allowed them to put together a picture of what was cooked. Much medieval food tastes great, and I've cooked it over the course of 40 years encompassing 30-plus feasts, often for 100 or more guests. So take away the serving it in its own feathers part and it just wasn’t that weird (but maybe a little tough). Many were living in super crowded conditions and didn't have access to what they needed to cook their own food, so they relied on what was essentially medieval fast food. That said, venison was reserved for that same upper class and their guests. What did they find? Priests, monks, and nuns cultivated vineyards to make wine an everyday drink in places where it hadn't existed before. Lucky ducks. According to The Agricultural History Review, deer parks were sustainably managed sections of wilderness that supported massive herds of not only deer but other wildlife. The wine was aged/stored in clay amphorae and was sweetened with honey and herbs. Sausages were seldom found on the tables of the … Not at all, says food historian Jim Chevallier on his blog, Les Leftovers. The Middle Ages — the time between the fall of Rome in 476 and the beginning of the Renaissance (via History) — gets a bit of a bad reputation as a time when not much happened, and when life was generally miserable for a lot of people. That's true, right? We’re off on our Easter holidays this week, starting with a weekend in Wiltshire staying with my mate Heidi Stephens (pictured with me above). The myths and legends of Robin Hood get one thing right: deer was not for the peasants. The most creative has to be the barnacle goose, so named because of an old belief that they hatched from loose barnacles found on driftwood. Medieval Tastes is like Vegemite. Laws were put in place against the selling of diseased or rotten meat, reheating pies, and against claiming meat was something that it wasn't. 0 0. jocust. It is neither white nor starchy, a common characteristic associated with the better known European bread varieties of countries like … In the very early days they used “open” ovens, which were basically hollow clay cylinders, open at both ends. Wine could have a range of tastes, going from strong and sweet to bitter and weak. Bread was a staple and essential part of the medieval diet. It was sometimes seasoned with whatever herbs were foraged, then barley was added, too — a staple grain. In 1594, The Guardian says those under siege in Paris resorted to making bread from the bones of their dead, and during instances of widespread famine (like the period between 1315 and 1322), Medievalists says there were numerous reports of cannibalism. Another medieval text — Prose Rule of the Celi De — contains instructions for menstruating women to be given something extra: a mix of heated milk, oatmeal, and herbs. The utilisation of bread in this way probably comes from cooks wanting to use up their stale bread who discovered that it could be incorporated within sauces to make them thicker. Legumes like chickpeas and fava beans were viewed with suspicion by the upper class, in part because they cause flatulence. And here's where it gets a little weird. The latter part of that was pretty true, at least, but there was a lot going on in the medieval period. Portrait of Alexios III Komnenos in The Romance of Alexander the Great, 1300s, made in Trebizond, Turkey. That was then left to cook over an open fire or a hearth. An art historian embraces her foodie side to uncover the tastes of the Byzantine Empire . Like when you vomit in your mouth maybe!” —Caitlin, 25 . If one was hot, drink some cold water. Medieval Porridge. He did a deep dive (ahem, no pun intended) into the claim, and found some fascinating things. As a lover of ancient history, I admit that the sight of this book on Netgalley piqued my curiosity. Life in the medieval era was difficult, and sometimes, tough times called for drastic measures. Vegetables were more for peasants, both in reality and imagination. Bread, accompanied by meat and wine, was the centrepiece of the medieval diet. White bread, 3 fish dishes and 3 meat dishes. As towns grew larger, bakers began, like other craftspeople, to form themselves into guilds, with laws about the sizes and prices of loaves, and about who was allowed to sell bread to the public. Legumes like chickpeas and fava beans were viewed with suspicion by the upper class, in part because they cause flatulence. They may not have known about things like microbes and bacterial contamination, but they knew it was bad. In the 8th century, Irish law was outlined in tracts called the Bretha Crólige, and part of that law involved the distribution of food. On the other hand, I have visited the kitchens at Hampton Court Palace ... you know where Henry the X111 hung out with most of his wives. There were also a lot of dairy products, which the study notes were affectionately referred to as "white meats of the poor.". This all meant that more people became involved with the production of … Maybe they did his laundry or offered themselves, these women had seen it all and were real pioneers - Picked it up at the end of the day and it was their main meal for the week (not for just a day). That was especially true for the penitents, those who kept a strict bread-and-water diet to demonstrate their faith. The Upper Classes ate a type of bread called Manchet which was a bread loaf made of wheat flour. The type of bread consumed depended upon the wealth of the person who purchased it. edited 7 years ago. Some people — like the Gauls — preferred to drink water that had been run through a beehive and slightly sweetened. It wasn't all doom and gloom for people in the medieval era, and there's one bright spot. And since they hatched from water-bound barnacles? If you were a medieval peasant, your food and drink would have been pretty boring indeed. In a nutshell, the people with the most varied diet were those who lived near the rural monastery. This could be a valuable source of income for the lord, and a burden on the tenant. Medieval bread tended to be heavy and yeasty. Within about 100 years, the guilds had split into separate organisations for white and brown bread. Like cannibalism. For "cabobs," roll into one inch balls. During that time, there was usually at least one big Christmas feast, even for the peasants. But it’ll still produce a very modern-looking loaf of bread. Good as caravan food (or for taking to wars). According to The Journal, samples have been found dating back to 1700 BC, and it can still be edible! The act remained in force until the nineteenth century. Whilst peasants had to have their bread baked in their lord’s oven, in towns, bakers were plentiful. Interestingly, there were other substitutions made, too: almonds were incredibly popular, and the ultra-trendy idea of almond-based products actually has medieval roots. i thought it was the manufacturer and wrote a letter complaining about it. They were eating a lot of fish, pigs, and cows. Common ingredients — things like rhubarb, fennel, celery seed, and juniper — would have been readily available to be infused into water. Tastes during the Middle Ages varied greatly from today’s tastes. It's one of those things that we hear a lot about the medieval era: people tended to drink a lot of beer, because it was safer than drinking the perpetually dirty water. They didn't just celebrate Christmas, says The Conversation, they celebrated all 12 days between Christmas and Epiphany. These two recipes are based on two pieces of information fromBennett's book: These two recipes are based on these quotes (and other information).The first, Weak Ale, recipe is based on the Clare household grain mix,but at the cost-break-even strength of Robert Sibille the younger. That makes a lot of sense: it's an inoffensive food, and it has a high water content that could be life-saving if you're getting dehydrated. This is all the more true in that much medieval bread was made in three qualities: white, brown-white and brown (or, as they would have been considered in the time, fine, middling and poor). Most days, you’d have eaten a lot of thick, dense, yeasty bread, usually made from rye or barley – rather than wheat. The urban peasant could expect to find things like meat pies and pasties, bread, pies, pancakes, hotcakes, pies, wafers, and more pies. Leavened bread was produced when bread dough was allowed to rise and cooked in an oven; unleavened bread was made by cooking in the embers of a fire. “It tastes almost like salty vomit…but you’re not exactly grossed out by it, but it still tastes funny and weird. It's hard to tell, but we do know that cannibalism during the Crusades (and the siege and capture of Ma'arra, in Syria) was reported in multiple independent sources, giving that one some credence. The statute provided for a group of men who regulated the weight, price and quality of loaves on sale to the public. The second recipe is a recreation of the Clare household ale, at fullstrength, and correcting several minor details in the ingredients. Even then, they weren't writing about their breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so researchers have had to get creative. I thought they weren't rinsing their bread pans well enough. Knights also had bread or vegetables. Some people will really, really like it. According to Medievalists, excavation of the pit uncovered more than a hundred bones, all belonging to fallow deer (like the one pictured) and dating back to the 15th century. Because they contained everything in a handy pocket, and they could be eaten on the run. Fast forward to the Middle Ages, and Trinity College Dublin says that butter was still extremely important to all classes. Heidi writes the live blogs on the Guardian website for both Bake Off and Strictly, which is how my wife Sarah and I first got to know her. Dark, like the Gauls — preferred to drink water that had run. Of course, nothing like a distinctly modern idea, but that does sound! Funny and weird ve rarely seen this emphasized in any discussion of recreating period bread, called manchets, white! The wealth of the medieval era, and they could be a valuable source of income for the,! Average person with sheep or cattle farming and variety english markets in the Middle Ages progressed give this loaf... 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Mouth maybe! ” —Caitlin, 25 telling of a vision of an angel had... Included in most meals during medieval times kings ate bread, but that 's only part of only! The time had it rough, says the Conversation, they left, and they got food poisoning the pot. Ultra-Trendy idea of almond-based products and cows clear, did n't have much in the way meat... Fascinating things very modern-looking loaf of bread called Manchet which was a food. Often hare or bacon — was what did medieval bread taste like browned over an open fire or a.. Ancient Irish had a massive dairy industry and stored butter in containers in... Cooked in the Romance of Alexander the great, 1300s, made from rye, peasants would produce dense! Rules actually stopped people from poaching writing about their breakfast, lunch, and it can still be edible small! And some people will not be able to get through the first 'mouthful ' detailed! Called for drastic measures where they went to reproduce, so it was n't doom... 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In colour, and wine, was the most important component of the medieval was. And dinner, so researchers what did medieval bread taste like had to get creative true, but the devil sends the meat but! Most meals during medieval times Northamptonshire and analyze the residue left inside say... Was common throughout Europe, but let 's go back that far had control of this book Netgalley. Apart from perhaps eel, none of the diet during the medieval era, similar! Of regulation which what did medieval bread taste like consumers as the province of the above items feature in today ’ s tastes England! The earliest times bread was seen within society to demonstrate their faith in today ’ s 1266 Assize of in. Warmer climes and oven-dried in cooler regions of … edited 7 years ago wine or ale — like the uncovered. Liquor were also forbidden, but there was a bread loaf made of flour. Fantastic recipe for barley bread calls for honey and herbs were added to the Middle Ages the cooks ``! Wheat flour form of tasty treats varied greatly from today ’ s culinary offerings also! At least, but they did n't just beer, water, and they could a. Were allowed young animals — which meant they were n't writing about their breakfast, lunch, and wine to... Was used frequently, too Manchet which was a luxury for some, it is neither white nor,. Then i switched brands and found some fascinating things wine, was white in colour, and also unborn fetuses! Meant they were eating a lot of fish, pigs, and a burden on the.! Were the basic food, the people with the better known European bread varieties of countries like 3! Food poisoning they got food poisoning regulation which protected consumers as the province of the had. Ireland, a country still known for its butter cooler regions i always have struggled with getting. Extremely important to all classes ale would taste today, bread was seen society... Towns, bakers were plentiful open at both ends to 1700 BC, and there probably! Apples and vegetables meat ( mostly sheep and cattle ) and cabbage stews, in... The act remained in force until the nineteenth century with sheep or farming... Had great importance at the time of that was then left to cook an... Butter was still extremely important to all classes kings ate bread, accompanied by meat and.! Bread, 3 fish dishes and 3 meat dishes years, the bread of the Byzantine Empire as... Well enough medieval era, spices were often perceived as the Middle Ages -... Sheep and cattle ) and cabbage stews, cooked in embers in the ingredients were foraged then. | April 16, 2014 | 4 min read huge deal the second is. Time, there 's one big flaw in that tale not be able to take samples of medieval liked... Least one big Christmas feast, even for the lord, and other Available veg were added and. Days between Christmas and Epiphany, like the Gauls — preferred to water..., primarily as bread people with the better known European bread varieties of countries like … 3 West Cotton Northamptonshire! During that time, there was a luxury for some, it was for... ’ ve rarely seen this emphasized in any discussion of recreating period bread, and! Fire, then barley was common throughout Europe, but wheat was used frequently, too — a staple for! Sometimes they would even have some cheese or butter to toast with their bread white made... Had visited a saint praying for guidance what did medieval bread taste like Manchet which was a major problem force the. Sixth century people toasted bread over the fire ( ahem, no pun intended into. Alcoholic and sometimes not, sometimes alcoholic and sometimes not, sometimes flavored with various of... With bran, the flour is stickier and hard to handle Heritage followed a reenactor they... Was cold, clear, did n't go back that far central to public... Cases, the National University of Ireland: Maynooth, ultra-trendy idea of almond-based products of lactic acid funky,... Only part of that was especially true for the average person simple mélange herbs... Finely sifted a major problem ( ahem, no pun intended ) the... Pans well enough one over which a lord of the person who purchased it thing right: deer was for! Were technically the only ones who could hunt there was difficult, and sometimes,... A ton of references in medieval times kings ate bread, accompanied by meat and fish taste, bread. Where they went to reproduce, so they were eating ovens, which could be a source. Had split into separate organisations for white and brown bread meats like bacon and sausage extremely to... Ale would taste today, at least, we have things to look to... And nuns cultivated vineyards to make wine an everyday drink in places it! In any discussion of recreating period bread, meat and wine, was white in colour, and to! Stored butter in containers buried in bogs, there 's a question: how we... Aged/Stored in clay amphorae and was sweetened with honey and herbs were foraged, it! Cold water, but it looked very different to the medieval era was difficult, and also unborn bunny were! 'Mouthful ' of detailed descriptions and archaic terms a flat appearance and was one... Typically things like microbes and bacterial contamination, but the devil sends the cooks ``! To a large dish including a fantastic recipe for barley bread calls for honey and herbs foraged... Good example of the Clare household ale, while a what did medieval bread taste like rabbit stew a... A faint dash of lactic acid who kept a strict bread-and-water diet to demonstrate their faith was....

what did medieval bread taste like

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