Blackfriars Lecture: The Inedible Middle Ages: Food, Performance and Status in Medieval Society
13 May 2023 - 13 May 2023
11:00AM - 1:30PM
Blackfriars Banquet Hall, Blackfriars Restaurant, Newcastle upon Tyne
£35 per person including arrival tea or coffee and a suitably medieval-themed lunch
Professor Andrew Jotischky (Royal Holloway, University of London) will give our 21st Public Lecture on Medieval Food, in Partnership with Blackfriars Restaurant in Newcastle.
Medieval cookbooks, which survive from the 1290s onward in large numbers, often include ingredients that we would today regard as indigestible or downright inedible - from porpoise and beaver to flowers, and even gold. Such recipes were designed as much to show off the skill and artifice of the chef as to suggest practical recipes. Banquets in the late Middle Ages often featured castles or ships made from food and intended as entertainment rather than to be eaten.
At the same time as all this apparent waste, however, extremes of abstinence and fasting on religious grounds were idealised, and stories of saints who survived on hardly any food were considered as good examples to the faithful. In this talk we will explore extremes in the consumption of food, and consider how medieval different people's diet was from our own.
We are delighted to welcome back Andrew Jotischky, Professor of Medieval History at Royal Holloway, University of London, a historian of medieval religion and culture, with particular interests in and the relationship between belief and lived experiences, and how religious institutions in the Middle Ages worked, as well as the eastern Mediterranean and the Crusades.
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