[Sca-cooks] Above/Below the Salt was Greetings

Daniel Myers edoard at medievalcookery.com
Wed Mar 19 17:01:28 PDT 2008

On Mar 19, 2008, at 6:25 PM, jenne at fiedlerfamily.net wrote:

> Ok, now I'm curious, as I have read repeatedly, in my research,  
> that more
> elaborate foods were served to the higher ranking eaters, while  
> messes of
> less elaborate foods were served to the waiting people and hangers- 
> on, and
> that one way to show approval of a hanger-on was to send him food from
> your plate. I seem to place this custom in the 14th c. or before.  
> On the
> other hand, other than a note that someone who seemed reliable  
> mentioned
> this at Kalamazoo, I have no concrete citations to it.

Wynkyn de Worde specifies larger quantities of food for those of  
higher rank (e.g. king = one to a mess, earl = two to a mess, all  
others = 4 to a mess), but doesn't say much about the quality (other  
than telling the carver to give the better cuts to his lordship).

I do recall one bit in a French source (Viandier?  Vivendier?) where  
a capon is dressed in the skin of a peacock and served to the highest  
ranking individual, with a note that the peacock should be dressed in  
the skin of the capon and served as a joke to whom ever his lordship  

> I know that separate kitchens for kings and queens as opposed to other
> people in the castle is documented, and separate meals for king vs.  
> queen
> is also documented... that's in various sets of inventory and expense
> rolls.

I don't recall seeing anything from 1500 or before (England and  
France) to support this, though I have heard it was done later.  I  
suspect this may be one of those things (like the practice of eating  
breakfast) that varied widely in terms of time and place.

- Doc

  Qui a la pance pleine il luy semble que
  tous les autres sont saouls.

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