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The food

Julia Berger
Music - Theatre - Dance
Music and Well-being
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The eating habits in Europe four or five hundred years ago should not be considered an historical curiosity, only worthy of an historian’s glance.
The food people ate was good and, although hundreds of years have gone by, it is still good.
The dishes professional cooks had to prepare every day formed menus consisting in well balanced meals of soups, stews, pies, tarts, moulds, biscuits, roasts, sauces, jellies and ‘desserts’.
Some of the dishes could have been prepared in any kitchen while others were masterpieces requiring no less skill in their preparation than the dishes in a famous restaurant nowadays.
Cooks in the past used the same ingredients that modern cooks do: cereals, pulses (peas, beans), greens and root vegetables, orchard fruits, cordials and wines, nuts, meat, fish and poultry, eggs, milk and dairy products, oils and fats, condiments (herbs and spices) and plenty of everything.

Every course included a good number of dishes: great banquets could arrive at 12 dishes for each course.
The most digestible food was served first, leaving the heavier fare requiring a longer time to digest for later in the meal.
The various cookery books of the period contain literally hundreds of different ways of preparing dishes.

The principal sources of inspiration for this evening’s banquet are to be found in cookery books of the period, and, in particular in ‘Libro Novo’ by Cristoforo Messisbugo, published in 1549, in which instructions are given on how “ to cook every kind of dish according to the different time of year, whether meat or fish and the way to plan a banquet,lay the table, cater for palaces and decorate rooms for every Prince, a fine work and something head stewards, stewards, stewardesses, and cooks all need to have”.
The choice of dishes has been made trying to keep a balance between faithful reconstruction of history and modern tastes. On the one hand old recipes have been adapted to modern palates, on the other hand, dishes have been created based on products in fashion at that time.

Some suggested recipes >