Medieval Meats=Thanksgiving Treats
As you scrape up the leftovers from this year's Thanksgiving dinner, your mind inevitably turns to food. History and weirdness likely trickle into your thoughts as a QB fledgling at some point, too. One question you might ask yourself is, what if next Thanksgiving you honored traditions not decades old but centuries old? So old that they practically make the Pilgrims look like your contemporaries. What if you celebrated Thanksgiving by substituting medieval meats for turkey?
As is always the case in human history, the royalty and nobles had the best choice of meat in the Middle Ages. While most serfs were lucky to eat meat at all, the medieval upper-class regularly enjoyed meat commonly served today, such as beef, pork, and chicken, as well as creatures deemed more decadent or bizarre by modern standards. After all, when's the last time Grandma put a swan, heron, or pheasant on the table? Had you been a lord or lady during the Middle Ages, you wouldn't have batted an eye at black bear, boar, hedgehog, peacock, or squirrel. Veal was the most prized meat at the time.
Sausage of any kind was a must for medieval meals, but stews and pies were also quite popular. MedievalCookery.com lists a range of tongue-slapping recipes that range from roast to liver to meatballs and more. A truly special medieval meal always called for pig, though, so check out the website's recommendations on 'Stuffed Piglet' and 'Cormarye.'
When it comes to marinading your meat the medieval way, your options are not quite as wide as your menu of beasts and fowl. Salt, used largely to preserve meat during a time when refrigeration did not exist, was the most valuable medieval spice. Other big-name spices included pepper, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, saffron, cardamon, coriander, cumin, garlic, mace, anise, caraway, and mustard. Crusaders brought many of these spices back from the Middle East.
Since you probably don't have access to a medieval-era forest, coming by many of these unusual animals will be difficult (spices, much easier). But we also know that Quail Bell(e)s value imagination as much as they do nostalgia. By this time next year, we hope you have papier-mâché lances to hand out to all of your Thanksgiving guests.