This one is going to be wholly about food! A while ago me and my boyfriend decided to start making themed dinners and the theme we chose was history. As an archaeologist, he is super into the Middle ages and since we are both into medieval-fantasy stuff and LARPing, we decided to recreate some medieval-ish dishes (most of them ended up being from the 16th – 18th century). The results were unexpectedly tasty and educational – apparently they used mushrooms and nutmeg in everything back then. We’ve done it several times by now and even named our food series, so I present to you: History through the stomach!
#1: Boiled catfish, potatoes, spinach and poached eggs
Our first experiment was probably the worst, but still worked out relatively well. I cannot find all recipes anymore, but if I remember correctly, we made boiled catfish with nutmeg and pepper, with boiled potatoes, 18th century spinach and poached eggs (recipie here, although we made it without gravy), as well as a rather bizarre and strong tasting white wine-raw onion-vinegar-breadcrums-spices sauce. It was quite strange, but more than edible, so we kept at it and have since discovered some unusual, but ultimately good ingredient combinations.
You can find all the meals we’ve tried so far in the photos below, supposedly in the order we made them. I’ve also included the links to the recipes I could remember. Most of them are from the awesome Townsends Youtube channel and their blog, which is fully dedicated to historical cooking and reenactment, while the rest of them were improvised from other sites. We’ve tried to modify the original recipes as little as possible, although some ingredients are of course a bit harder to come by. Most of the meals also include an extra salad side dish, because I cannot live without it. 🙂 To keep it authentic we mostly use raw baby spinach or mixed leaves and herbs with nutmeg.
#2: Pork fillets, sauteed carrots and an onion pie
The second one we’d ever made consisted of some roasted lean pork fillets seasoned with sage, sauteed carrots with leek and mustard seeds, an 18th century onion-potato-apple pie (pie recipe here) and mixed leaves salad with nutmeg. This one quite exceeded expectations, so we decided to make history meals a regular thing.
#3: Meatballs with a potato-carrot-onion mix and mushrooms
The third one was rather ordinary: 18th century meatballs (recipe here) with a fried mix of potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic, with mushrooms and parsley, as well as lettuce.
#4: Root vegetable soup
The third one was a thick 18th century root vegetable soup, which we actually used as the first course before #5. The soup was great and used only cheap ingredients (recipe here).
#5: Beef with mushrooms and carrot pudding
After the soup, we had a nice piece of roasted beef with mushrooms, a 17th century carrot-breadcrums pudding and baby spinach salad with nutmeg. The carrot pudding was a surprisingly good discovery, as it tasted great, was quite easy to make and would fit great with pretty much any kind of meat (recipe here).
#6: Asparagus forced in bread, mushrooms and spinach with poached eggs
Number 6 was the best so far. We reused the 18th century spinach with poached eggs and with gravy this time (recipe here), as well as mushrooms and asparagus forced in bread. Originally the bread was supposed to be a french roll, but since we are only two people we used smaller bread buns. The asparagus recipe came with a delicious egg yolk, nutmeg and cream sauce and the buns were buttered and filled with the creamy sauce, which truly made this a superb dish that we will surely make again (recipe here).
#7: Spanish salmon and onions
The most recent one was a rather normal Spanish inspired dinner from 1750: a salmon with onions and fresh baby spinach salad. It was quite good though, so look for the salmon recipe here.
This is it for now, but I will write part 2 as soon as we eat it – it will be Viking inspired, because I bought a Viking cookbook in Norway. Let me know if you do any kinds of themed dinners in the comments. 🙂