Modern Foods Unavailable in Fourteenth-century Britain

Following on from our camp cooking guide, here is a list of common modern foods which were unavailable in fourteenth-century Britain. This list is by no means comprehensive, but is intended to cover most of the basics.

New World

Many staples of today’s diet originated in the New World, and were therefore unknown in medieval Britain before at least the fifteenth century. Even after exploration of the New World, these foods were often not commonplace or affordable to the average household for many years afterwards. Therefore, when cooking fourteenth century, steer clear of:

Grains:

  • Maize (corn)
  • Quinoa

Fruit and Veg:

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Blueberries
  • Cranberries
  • Pineapples
  • Yams
  • Red, yellow and green peppers
  • Squashes
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Avocado
  • Pumpkin

Beans:

  • French/green beans
  • Lima/sieva/butter beans
  • Runner beans
  • Cache/polyanthus beans

Nuts:

  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashew nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans

Other:

  • Turkey
  • Cocoa
  • Vanilla

Old World but unavailable in Medieval Britain

These were known in the Old World, with coffee especially popular in Arabia, but were not commonplace in medieval Britain until much later.

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli

Not yet bred

  • Sugar peas/mangetout (first bred in the 16th century)
  • Split peas (invention of the 19th century – although these are fine if added to soups harm as they look quite like un-shelled, un-split peas once cooked)

One thought on “Modern Foods Unavailable in Fourteenth-century Britain

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s