on 23 August 2014
Good, enjoyable book, lots of detail and many facts. It starts with explaining the mechanics and management of how food was obtained and cooked in all stratas of society, but mainly in the "grander" gentry (and upwards) houses. The layout of splitting the dscriptions up into functions such as water supply, the dairy, the brewhouse, the bakehouse, etc., works well and their interactions explained. There are also recipes included for you to try if you feel like "going the whole hog" and experience what medieval food actually tasted like.
on 29 March 2009
Not too high brow for the everyday reader to pick up, but still highly detailed and informative.
I've not tried out any of the recipies yet, but even without any of these I would consider it an essential book for medieval re-enactors and anyone with an interest in the period, particularly in aspects of architecture and cooking.
If you like castles, and thinking about how they actually worked when intact, this book will give you food for thought (excuse the pun!). There are numerous diagrams showing how the various kitchens / ovens / and other rooms in a castle fitted and worked together - for many specific castles in the UK. Look around your favourite again after reading this book and you will see it in a completely different light.
I have read the book right through initially, and envisage dipping in and out in future when I want to recreate something specific, visit a particular site or just top up my knowledge.
Definitely one to keep on the bookshelf, or even closer to hand.
on 3 August 2010
This book has a wealth of detail in this book covering the end to end of food in a well-off household in the mediaeval period (and applicable to the Tudor/Stuart period also): organisation structure, accounting, procurement, cooking (by department) and serving. And lots of practical receipes also.
The comment on re-enactor's "pottage" at the start of one chapter was a bit harsh (but fair).
My only slight quibble is there are a few key facts left unexplained, and unreferenced in the notes/biblio. For example, "on fish days, dinner was often 1 hour later". Why? Source? We need to know!
on 2 March 2010
What a wonderful book! P. Brears knowledge of the medieval world is amazing. This is not "just" a cooking book....though I bought it just because I was looking for a good medieval cooking book. This is a history of cooking in medieval England. Of cooking, dining, living and of all the practical things of cooking and living in the Middle Ages, in the castles and country houses....with such an incredibly amount of details.