Food & Cooking In The Renaissance

You have to wonder what people ate and how food was prepared in the Renaissance. Of course they didn’t go around munching on turkey legs like we see at modern Renaissance Faires; turkeys came from the new world and didn’t exist in Europe.

Food was obviously of fairly good quality or we wouldn’t be here today.


The Renaissance Period and Renaissance Cuisine at Its Best
By Victor Dane H Witt

As the Medieval period ends, the rise of the Renaissance Period has altogether brought changes to the lifestyle of the European nations. What was left from the medieval period was embraced by the renaissance but further improved, deliberately enhanced and progresses as new materials were discovered and introduced. There were vast improvements in the areas of politics, renaissance clothing styles, rules of the land, and most especially, in the cuisine artistry.

Regardless of these changes, one thing remained the same during the renaissance period – the choices of food and its extravagance continue to differ across the different social status. The Renaissance Period’s culinary improvement gave way to the dawn of the popularity of Italian cuisines. History of renaissance Italian cuisine was endearingly rich as mixtures of cultural union from different regions manifest in the true taste of Italian recipes.

Much more taste definition was founded as Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas during the 14th century. A variety of vegetables, spices and fruits were introduced, which made the European kitchen hungrier for more new tastes and flavors.

The renaissance cuisines were truly sought after. They were so popular and delicious that these were considered food fit for the gods. These were perfected just as how the Greeks have perfected the renaissance architectural structures.

When new ingredients were brought in by Columbus, European farming was in fact also changed and revolutionized. The demands for new ingredients such as corn and potatoes, coffee, chocolates, beans and teas has opened farmers, traders and peasants to new heights of producing and selling. Some of the new ingredients were treated with apprehension though and a limit was set for its consumption and people were advised with to eat this with caution. Such ingredients were tomatoes and some crop food and spices.

Some new dishes were highly priced that only a select few had the pleasure of tasting it. Dishes which are made of newly found vegetables that included asparagus, carrots and potatoes led to many new food varieties that somehow progressively reformed the standard of taste of the European nations.

In renaissance dining, fruits are essentially an important element in completing a fine meal. Usually served last in forms of marmalades or salads or what we call now as desserts. The term “dessert” was not used during those times as it carries with it a point for debate. “Dessert” was simply called the last meal course. Dessert is usually sweet. This rose into popularity when sugar became more available for European consumers as new crops of sugarcanes were brought in from the Americas. What used to be a very expensive commodity was transformed into an everyday part of renaissance dishes.

Food preparation is not an easy task as new ingredients are continuously introduced. Through time, locales had mastered the creation of new dishes capturing new enticing taste that is adding flavor to the consumers’ soul. The services of master cooks or chefs were greatly sought after to the point where the royalty would gladly spend a fortune for their services.

The modern world of food preparation is now more diverse and culturally mixed. Flavors are carefully enhanced with different techniques and ingredients. Every region, culture and country has their own taste specialties but the renaissance cuisine will forever be present in all our food preparations and preferences. With the rise of globalism, one can find 18/10 flatware set clearance sales easily, decorations and setting make a large portion of the overall experience. So eat up and enjoy the taste of renaissance. Bon appetite!

The Renaissance Period is one of the most amazing times in the world’s history. This time boasts of the rebirth of science, arts and culture. Not only that but their Medieval costume is amazingly classical and elegant.

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Here is a link to a website that has all you want to know about food during the Renaissance, including scores of interesting recipes:

Another interesting site is here.

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