Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Medieval Word Wednesday - Dining Part 2

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Where one sat in the great hall and what kind of food was provided was greatly determined by class in that time. If you were of importance (in the church) or of high rank, your place would be at the high table or lord's table on a raised dais of wood or stone at one end of the hall. All those who were not noble or in possession of a high position in the church were seated on the tables that filled the rest of the hall.

Wine wasn't kept longer than a year because of inadequate means of sealing containers. After that time, it became undrinkable. Ale was drunk mainly by the servants and made mostly from barley, wheat, or oats and sometimes all three.

Contrary to some presentations of medieval eating manners, the service of food and etiquette of eating was quite carefully defined and followed. Part of a squire's training was learning exactly how to serve at table. The broth of soups were sipped while the solid bits eaten with a spoon. Meat was cut with a knife and then eaten with the fingers. When sharing a dish, the younger served the older and the man served the lady. Everything was adjusted according to importance and rank.

A great emphasis was laid on clean hands and nails. In fact there was general handwashing before meals.

- Above is summarized from Life in a Medieval Castle by Joseph and Frances Gies

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