[Sca-cooks] A horse for a peppercorn-Explanation of a Food Myth

Daniel Myers dmyers at medievalcookery.com
Mon Sep 13 07:02:44 PDT 2010

To add just another confirming data point, Prof. John H. Munro has
prices for various commodities on his site:

18d/lb. (London, 1438)
20d/lb. (Antwerp, 1438)
12d/lb. (Oxford, 1438)

He also gives the daily wage of an unskilled laborer at the time as
being 8d.  That would mean the average Joe back then could afford an
awful lot of horses.

- Doc

> -------- Original Message --------
> From: David Friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>
> Her site also contains the following claim with regard to 16th c. England:
> "How expensive were spices?  You could buy a horse for one pepper corn."
> I weighed 1/10 of an ounce of peppercorns, then counted--about 
> seventy. It follows that a pound would have over ten thousand. So 
> unless horses got drastically cheaper between the 13th and 16th 
> centuries or pepper drastically more expensive between the 15th and 
> sixteenth, Geraldine's assertion is off by four or five orders of 
> magnitude.

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