Top 10 Medieval Food For The Poor

If you’re reading this, it’s because you’re trying to find out more about medieval food for the people. Whether it’s by studying from books, watching movies, or researching online, then here is a good place to start!

Food is, without a doubt, essential to all people. Without it, people would be robbed of their health, spiritual well-being, and even their ability to have a family, especially mothers and fathers.

It’s one of the most vital parts of our lives, and it’s hard to imagine that there was a time in which food wasn’t as plentiful as it is now.

Medieval Food For The Poor

During the Middle Ages (also called Medieval), food was not as cultivated or domesticated as it is today. This meant that more work had to be done for people to feed themselves with the same amount of effort and effort they put into clothing and shelter.

Some people were barely able to make enough food for their own families and, sometimes, even for themselves.

Although the Middle Ages was difficult, many developments in culture, medicine, and farming during this time improved the people’s food supply.

What Foods Did The Poor Eat During Medieval Times?

Just as people in the present day, medieval people had to work very hard in order to get what they needed. Even when a certain person did not have their own farm or garden, they could still eat foods that came from the land, such as fruits and vegetables.

The more an area flourished during a time period, generally the better its food supply. Wealthier men and women were able to find food prepared by the upper-class cooks.

These rich people could afford a lot more food than people of the lower class, which makes sense because they did not have to work as hard to get the needed resources.

Consequently, some poor people even sold themselves just so they could eat, according to the documentary “Food on the Table: The Battle Over Real Food.”

Medieval Food For The Poor
Medieval Food For The Poor

Top 10 Medieval Food For The Poor

1. Bread

Bread was one of the most popular medieval food for the poor and is still today. The amount of wheat harvested during a certain period was crucial in determining the quality of bread that could be made.

Since medieval times, there have been many different forms of bread, such as white, whole wheat, or rye, each having its own nutritional value and taste.

2. Mollusks

Mollusks have been part of man’s diet since prehistory. They are a very easy source of protein that can be obtained from the ocean more easily than from land food sources. Some people ate sea snails during this time, but it was considered more for the rich.

3. Dairy

The most important dairy product was milk. Although it wasn’t very tasty initially, it eventually became a staple for many people because it is so nutritious and has a high nutritional value that helps with recovery from diseases and injuries.

If a person lived where there were cows, they could make butter or cheese, but since that wasn’t the case for most poor people, they only got yogurt and other products.

4. Fish

Fish and shellfish were considered “poor man’s food” and were quite affordable even for the poorest medieval people. This was mainly because there weren’t many ways to store them, so they were only available during the fishing season.

Since this type of food wouldn’t last for a long period of time, people had to catch fish quickly and cook them as soon as possible.

5. Wine

The wine was a very important drink in medieval times because people believed it was medicinal; children and adults consumed it according to the documentary “Food on the Table: The Battle Over Real Food.

6. Meat

The meat was not as common among the masses as it was for the rich because of some religious taboos. However, there were still animals that were used for meat, such as cows, chickens, and pigs. But those were for the extremely wealthy people; most of them would buy food from their farmers.

7. Peas

Peas were a basic source of nutrition in medieval times, but they weren’t very popular until beans became more available to people because they are quite similar to peas but easier to grow and less expensive; therefore, they became more popular after a while.

8. Honey

Honey was a common food for poor people because it was cheap and easy to get. They used honey in combination with other foods in order to make them richer such as by mixing it with milk or adding it to tea. Honey was also popular for its medicinal properties.

9. Eggs

Eggs were an important food source for the medieval poor because they were an inexpensive way to get protein; most of the time, it was the only source of protein that people got during this time period.

In order to eat eggs, they had to be cooked because raw eggs were considered dangerous, according to the documentary “Food on the Table: The Battle Over Real Food.”

10. Tea

In poor people’s homes, tea was the main drink that was often brewed. It was made the same way as it is now, but there weren’t any teapots available, so they used other containers to make it. The taste of this drink is also similar to what we have now, except for chamomile because they used it to treat their stomach aches and diarrhea.

Many other food products were popular during the Middle Ages, including cabbages, onions, garlic, etc. Many of these became more important after a while when new farming techniques were introduced, making more food available for the masses.

How Did Poor People In The Past Survive Without Food?

Most of the time, farmers and peasants would produce as much as they could so that they could stay well fed throughout the year. It was essential to have enough food to get through hard times if they couldn’t grow many crops every year.

In medieval times, it was harder for people to get food because there weren’t any refrigeration or freezing techniques available, so it was really important for them to live close to their land in order to be able to harvest it quickly.

For example, the people who lived in the south of France would go to the land and harvest their food very quickly after it had been sown because they could grow wheat very quickly.

People who lived in places with a lot of rainfall like England, Ireland or Europe generally had a hard time because they needed more land to grow food and raise an animal.

Since people relied on their animals, it was important for them to make sure that their livestock never went hungry because this would cause all of them to die. It wasn’t until the 18th century that farmers started to give their animals meals so that the food shortage wouldn’t come so early.

Historical Evidence

According to “Medieval Encyclopaedia,” the population of medieval times was halved during this period, primarily due to famine, war, and disease. In most cases, these people would have died of starvation, but there have been cases where they survived by finding other food sources.

For example, in France during the 14th century, Jacques Cœur managed to survive by eating snails and hay. Another example is Martin Guerre, who managed to survive during a famine by eating birds.

Many poor people survived because they made use of every part of an animal that they slaughtered or hunted; for example, their bones were used for tools, or people would make clothes out of their fur.

In Conclusion

Without modern technology, it was impossible to live during the medieval times because no machines could be used; however, it wasn’t all bad because the knowledge of farming was passed on from generation to generation. Many people survived during this time, but others died in poverty and hunger, which shows that there is no point in judging the past from today’s point of view.

Today, we have a lot of technologies to help us survive because we have refrigeration and storage facilities to store food for a long time. It’s also possible for us to eat food like rice or wheat even when we’re not able to grow it in our own field by using electric pumps.

Although we have more turnips nowadays, it’s still impossible for us to grow wheat in most of the world because we don’t have the knowledge or the machinery to do it. If we want to get rid of hunger, all we need is knowledge.

It’s a common belief that what was done in the past cannot be changed, but history shows that even today, ancient methods are still very useful when we’re going through hard times and food shortages because they can be applied to our lives today.

Publisher at Foods Kitchen
I am Naznin, the recipe creator and blogger behind Foods Kitchen (since 2021). I like to try new recipes, especially when they are delicious, so those are my recipes... Hope you like it! Thank you for your time!
Naznin Aktar
Latest posts by Naznin Aktar (see all)