[Sca-cooks] Bread baking in December

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Wed Dec 28 20:31:49 PST 2011

As near as I can determine, bread trenchers are an artifact of northern 
Europe from England to Poland, excluding Scandinavia, primarily used between 
the 10th and 14th centuries.  The cost of bread trenchers limits their 
common use to the wealthiest households (Menagier, for example, directs 
their purchase and carving for a special occasion).  Trencher use seems to 
be tied to high noble households in the manor system.  During the 14th 
Century and later, household expenditures on bread declined without any 
apparent decline in household members, suggesting declining use of bread 
trenchers.  Most of the references to bread trenchers in the 15th to 17th 
Centuries I've located are instructions on how to carve trenchers and next 
to nothing on bread trenchers being used.

Wooden and metal trenchers are in use by the 13th Century (and probably 
earlier).  Given the date of the Ouverture de Cuisine and the fact that the 
reference is not specifically for bread trenchers, I would agree that the 
reference is to a wooden or metal plate.


----- Original Message ----- 

Ouverture de Cuisine (published 1604, written perhaps 1557-1585) uses
the word 'trencher' in three recipes, but there is no indication whether
this is actual bread or (my guess) some kind of plate or pan of the same
size and shape.  The contexts are not eating off a trencher, but using
the trencher during food preparation or simply as an indication of size
and shape.


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