Monday, November 2, 2015

The Medieval Kitchen Book Review and Giveaway


Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books for teens in lots of weird genres like, fantasy (Blood of Kings trilogy), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). Find Jill on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or on her author website.

Today I'm bringing you a bit of my own research. This book, The Medieval Kitchen by 
Hannele Klemettilä has been an invaluable resource to me as I write dinner scenes in my fantasy novels. I remember the first time I came to a fancy meal in By Darkness Hid and didn't know what these people would be eating! I was lost. The internet back then was not what it is today. So I found a copy of this book, and it is such a handy reference to have sitting on my shelf. Years later, when I was writing King's Folly and Prince Trevn had a private dinner with his brother and two lovely ladies, I pulled this book off the shelf to help me write the menu. Hooray! Date nucato, anyone?

This book starts by talking about the social structure of medieval Europe and how meals varied by class. Then it goes on to discuss the different ways food and people connected: feasts, religion, illnesses, superstitions, etc. After that, there is a separate chapter for each of the following: bread, vegetables, meat, seafood, sauces and spices, dairy, desserts, and mead. And the last fifty or so pages are menus and recipes for medieval meals. This is the section of the book that I love best.

Here's the description from the book's Amazon.com page, to give you an even better idea of what's inside. Also, you can read more about it on Amazon.com here.


We don’t usually think of haute cuisine when we think of the Middle Ages. But while the poor did eat a lot of vegetables, porridge, and bread, the medieval palate was far more diverse than commonly assumed. Meat, including beef, mutton, deer, and rabbit, turned on spits over crackling fires, and the rich showed off their prosperity by serving peacock and wild boar at banquets. Fish was consumed in abundance, especially during religious periods such as Lent, and the air was redolent with exotic spices like cinnamon and pepper that came all the way from the Far East.
In this richly illustrated history, Hannele Klemettilä corrects common misconceptions about the food of the Middle Ages, acquainting the reader not only with the food culture but also the customs and ideologies associated with eating in medieval times. Fish, meat, fruit, and vegetables traveled great distances to appear on dinner tables across Europe, and Klemettillä takes us into the medieval kitchens of Western Europe and Scandinavia to describe the methods and utensils used to prepare and preserve this well-traveled food. The Medieval Kitchen also contains more than sixty original recipes for enticing fare like roasted veal paupiettes with bacon and herbs, rose pudding, and spiced wine.

Evoking the dining rooms and kitchens of Europe some six hundred years ago, The Medieval Kitchen will tempt anyone with a taste for the food, customs, and folklore of times long past.


This is a hardcover book, 230 pages, with color illustrations throughout. It's a wonderful reference book for any fantasy author or for those writing historical fiction that takes place in the medieval era. I highly recommend it.

Someone gave me a copy of this book as a present last year, not knowing that I already owned it. Guess what that means? I'm giving one away today to you guys! Enter on the Rafflecopter form below. (This giveaway is USA only, guys. Sorry. It's too expensive for me to ship it outside the US.)


34 comments:

  1. This sounds like such a cool book to borrow meal ideas from. Entering!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love learning about medieval food! I'm writing a fantasy medieval book and I need tons of info, and I find it all so interesting!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh my goodness. I need this book, somehow. All my characters in fantasy worlds seem to mostly eat rabbit, stew, and chicken. (Though, they're usually eating in inns, so . . .)
    The exception was when I wrote The Way of the Pen, which is set in a sort-of-like-Greece area, and for which I got to research Greek food and oh my pumpernickel. I kind of want to move to Greece now just for the food. (They use eggplant in SO MANY DISHES. And OLIVES. And hummus is probably a thing there as well. :D)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I don't really ever think of food in my novel. This looks like a great book and a wonderful resource!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same! I hope I win this so I can use this for my book

      Delete
  5. I love the idea of having this book as a resource. I liked the authentic feel in Jill's book, created by off-handed reference to meals and their preparation in the midst of dialogue scenes. And I have run across this question as I am writing "What would they be eating? What were the dishes called? How else can I deepen the flavor of this scene?"

    ReplyDelete
  6. This would be a great book for me. I usually make up medieval sounding foods. It's a problem.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sounds like an awesome book!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This sounds super helpful for my WIP!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, this sounds like a staple for my bookshelf. I'll definitely be getting it. Thank you, Mrs Williamson for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've always wondered about this..it seems like a great thing to have! It's so hard not to force yourself to weasel out of these hard scenes. lol. Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hm. Interesting resource! I had trouble in my Camp novel from this year with some foods... They ended up eating oatmeal...

    ReplyDelete
  12. This looks like a good book to have. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Until now I've skipped over every meal in my novel except for one at the beginning, and I ought to include more food! This sounds like a great resource, not only for authentic meals but also for ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  14. It's a fun book to have. But if you can't afford it, simply Google "medieval sample menus" or "medieval recipes" and you'll find a lot of good stuff online these days.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Since I love medieval time periods and world in books, I will probably be writing about one in the future. This book sounds like an awesome reference to have. However, at the moment, I'm just looking for information on 19th century German life (not the history of Napoleon, google!)

    ~K.A.C.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ooh! This book looks really interesting. :D I'm definitely going to check it out even if I don't win the giveaway. :D

    ReplyDelete
  17. The book looks super interesting. I love studying the history of food and I try to integrate that into my books in the sense that I add a lot of different kinds of food in there.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oo, exciting!! I shall definitely be entering the giveaway for this! :D And I'm sure I can use this for a certain scene in the middle of my book that needs a bit of work in this department...

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow.This book looks really cool. I would love to win since I've been thinking about writing something in the medival times or a fantasy world. This would be such a great inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
  21. This is SO cool! Right up my alley. I love writing and reading about food. Something about it makes me hungry, though ;)

    ReplyDelete
  22. This book sounds so cool! I've always been fascinated by the Middle Ages, so some of this I knew already, but FULL MENUS FOR MEDIEVAL MEALS??? That is wicked awesome. I'll definitely have to check this book out, whether or not I win the giveaway.


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbositybookreviews.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. How awesome! I never even thought about meals too much. This would be great to own. :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. I don't tend to write medieval, but, hey, anything can be inspiring. :)

    I'm entering!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm currently writing a moderately high fantasy novel and its sort of renaissance meets medieval. In the next coming pages my characters are going to be having a feast to celebrate the Summer Solstice. Right now all I know they're eating mutton.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Ohhhhhh I want this book. This sounds so perfect. I've experienced a Medieval style dinner at Medieval Times a few times. It was so fun since we ate with out hands.

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brad and I went there once, Victoria! It was fun. :-)

      Delete
  27. I hope it has some mead recipes...

    ReplyDelete
  28. It is time to change your kitchen and meals! :D

    ReplyDelete
  29. I need this book! For the research...and the recipes...

    ReplyDelete

Home