[Sca-cooks] Spices for preservation of meats

Terry Decker t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net
Sun Nov 19 19:51:20 PST 2006

> As far a peasants in England and Spain are concerned medievalists are 
> quick to note that the majority lived off of salt pork, bread, cheese and 
> vegetable products or legumes. They never say what happened to the rest of 
> the pig. I know of no law in either country concerning alms to the poor 
> but the custom existed of giving the poor left over scrapes consisting 
> mostly of left over bread after meals.

There are a couple of studies (admittedly urban due to more accurate 
records) that show an average consumption of two and one half pounds of 
grain per person per day plus a gallon of beer.  Grain appears to have been 
the primary source of calories in the Middle Ages.

One does not need a law when one has the Word of God.  Giving the table 
scraps to the poor was act of charity to the Heavenly credit of the lord of 
the household.

> I know that the above may be stretching it a bit as peasants did have 
> livestock and could attract wild birds by providing them with feed but 
> England's hunting restrictions were a definite cause of the Peasants' 
> Revolution in the 14th century.
> Susan

I would be interested in references to this.  To my knowledge, the Peasants' 
Revolt of 1381 was triggered by the third poll tax (the third in four years 
and unfairly implemented because of improperly kept or fraudulent tax rolls) 
and the Statute of Laborers (a regulation to fix the price of labor in a 
rising market following the Black Death).  The commons also wanted reforms 
of the Church, among them abrogation of their (often) unlimited control of 
the forest and the division of their charters among the commons.


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