Medieval feast ideas

Written by trisha dawe
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Medieval feast ideas
Feasts during the medieval period often consisted of finger foods. (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A medieval feast can combine the entertainment of a party with the old-world feel of the Middle Ages, ideal for thematic units in elementary schools, or as a festive idea for banquets and wedding receptions. Kings, queens, princes and princesses would be honoured to partake in a traditional medieval feast complete with costumes, tableware and food items common to the era.

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Food and Beverages

Pork was the most common of meats served during medieval times but sometimes poultry, fish and beef were included in the feast. The presentation of the food was often announced with trumpet fare and drum beats. Roast a pig and serve sections able to be picked up with your hands as silverware was reserved for the very wealthy. Poultry legs and wings are another main dish option. Fruits such as grapes, plums, cherries and crab apples as well as bits of homemade cheeses complement the main serving. Thick slices of bread were often served with the meal as opposed to rolls or biscuits. Mead, an alcoholic malt beverage, was often served to medieval feast guests as well as home-brewed ale.

Table Decor

Use candlelight as the main source for light as electricity obviously didn't exist in the Middle Ages. If able, set the feast table near a fireplace and use the warmth and light from a roaring fire during the party. Sconces are an applicable lighting option, or use a candlelit chandelier (or a chandelier appearing as candles dimmed to an appropriate light setting). For feasts including children as guests, consider using electronic candles or flameless candles as a safer approach to lighting.

Tableware

Only royalty was granted the use of silver, pewter or gold-plated tableware and some simple silverware, but most guests were left with less or without. Purchase small, inexpensive cutting boards from the dollar or discount store for each guest's meal plate. Most commoners ate with their hands so avoid giving anyone a set of silverware to enjoy their medieval feasts. Wooden goblets were common during the middle ages but may not be able to be found today so in lieu of wooden goblets, encourage each guest to decorate their own glass goblets with paint as a party activity.

Added Medieval Flair

Encourage guests to dress the part in medieval costumes. If the personal budget of each guest does not allow for rented or purchased costumes, consider creating them. Roll poster board into a cone shape and adhere together with quick-drying glue or tape. Attach a piece of thin elastic to each side of the hat to keep it on the guest's head and attach a piece of white tulle to the tip of the cone to replicate a princess hat.

Felt rectangles with a hole in the centre can double as men's costumes adorned with glued-on medieval designs made from fabric cut-outs. Create king's crowns from a sheet of yellow foam. Cut the sheet into halves, lengthwise and cut out crown tip decorations on one edge of each strip. Staple or glue the crown strips together at the ends and fit to each participant's head.

For children's parties, cut out cardboard swords and allow the children to paint designs on them or cover the with white paper and colour them with markers.

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