Monastery Kitchens

Abbatia quae vocitatur Bellus Locus Monasteries in the Middle Ages tended to follow similar layouts. Beaulieu Abbey, a Cistercian abbey in Hampshire, England, now in ruins, once supported a large number of people. It started out with 120 cows and 20 bulls, all very conducive to cheese-making. Beaulieu Abbey’s floor plan shows a tiny kitchen … More Monastery Kitchens

At the Tables of the Monks: In the Beginning (Part II)

You’d never know a hermit started it all. St. Benedict of Norcia (ca. 480-547 A.D.), called the Father of Western Monasticism and the Patron of Europe, never intended to form a religious order. He just wanted to get away from it all, “all” in this case being Rome, where his noble Umbrian family sent him … More At the Tables of the Monks: In the Beginning (Part II)

Dame Alice de Bryene’s Household Book: Easter 1413

One of the most spectacular “finds” related to English medieval history, The Household Book of Dame Alice de Bryene (1931 edition) provides a detailed glimpse into the daily life of an English gentry household over the period 1412 – 1413, down to the exact food purchases and the price paid. It tells of widowed Dame … More Dame Alice de Bryene’s Household Book: Easter 1413

Spice of History, or the Long Winding Road and Some Spice Blends for Today

“Variety’s the spice of life, That gives it all its flavor.” ~~William Cowper, English Poet~~ Picture narrow passages, in some exotic locale, thronged with humanity peering at bulging baskets of spices and herbs, heavily laden donkeys swaying along behind them. You’re breathing the smoke-filled air, the smell of the smoke competing with the odor of … More Spice of History, or the Long Winding Road and Some Spice Blends for Today