Monday, November 11, 2013

Renaissance food for Christmas? By Joyce Lavene

Renaissance food for Christmas?
By Joyce Lavene
from Murderous Matrimony 

Christmas was an amazing time during the Renaissance, just as it is now. There were parties and feasting, excitement and happiness – and not just for the rich. Servants and peasants observed the holiday with extra food, parties, and even days off from their menial work.

Churches and houses were decorated with greenery which wasn't taken down until January. Gift-giving during this time was the New Year Gift, as it was improper to give a gift during the Christmas season.

There was dancing and music all during the day and night. Everyone would wear their best clothes and play sporting games, racing horses, and holding tournaments.

Of course, food played an important role in this merriment. Rich and poor alike had special dishes they made during the holiday season. There might be twenty courses to a meal! 

Roasted boar’s head was the main course for many wealthy people. The poor had to settle for a ham.

There were pastries made with various kinds of nuts and honey. Flavored custards were served, as eggs and milk were plentiful. Fruits were cooked with sugar and cinnamon, many times served whole on a plate. Hundreds of pies and cakes would grace the heaping tables.

Besides the boar’s heads and hams, there were dozens of various birds served – partridges, capons, pigeons turtledoves, pheasants, quails and peacocks.

A really special dish might include a roasted calf’s head
 covered in sugary almonds.

Another course might be a whole pig or a whole sheep. Chickens were roasted and served almost as snacks between the main courses.

Of course there would also be olives, carrots, peppers, cabbage, and other vegetables.

Fortunately, since there was so much food – these feasts would go on for days. 

Sometimes weddings were scheduled for these times simply because there was so much for everyone to enjoy!

 Come enjoy the wedding of Lady Jessie Morton and Bailiff Chase Manhattan on Friday, November 15th at 2 pm.

There will be gifts and merriment as the new Renaissance Faire Mystery – Murderous Matrimony – is released!

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