Fast and Feast: Food in Medieval Society

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Overview

An engagingly written and fully illustrated book on medieval attitudes toward food, its preparation and presentation. Few readers with an interest in food will fail to find this book both informative and entertaining.

Since attitudes toward food were shaped by the religious and social ideas of the period, the medieval perspective is clearly developed for the modern reader and, in turn, sheds light on the character of life in the Middle Ages. The subject is explored from the varied points of view of all concerned: host, guest, cook, and servant.

The author drew her material from many primary sources: devotional literature, sermons, courtesy books, recipe collections, household accounts, chronicles, and romances. Most of the documentary material comes from works written in England during the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries, but there is some reference to those of other periods and other countries.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Although it is neither a detective story nor primarily a humorous work, there are elements of each in this lively and scholarly book on the broader aspects of food in the Middle Ages. . . . If you would like to know how and when people fasted, . . . you can read about it here. You can also learn when to spit and how to share a drinking vessel with your neighbor with some delicacy. What was a banquet like? . . . If you are intrigued by any of this and much more besides, this is the book for you.”
Petits Propos Culinaires

“A fascinating narrative of food and life five centuries ago. . . . This book is highly recommended to dietitians, nutritionists, lovers of food history, and students of medieval life and literature.”
Journal of the American Dietetic Association

“[This book contains] delightful illustrations taken from illuminated manuscripts, and its wealth of information makes it a feast for anyone interested in the history of food.”
Daily Telegraph

“The topic is vividly described and plentifully illustrated.”
Manuscripta

“Although it is neither a detective story nor primarily a humorous work, there are elements of each in this lively and scholarly book on the broader aspects of food in the Middle Ages. . . . If you would like to know how and when people fasted, . . . you can read about it here. You can also learn when to spit and how to share a drinking vessel with your neighbor with some delicacy. What was a banquet like? . . . If you are intrigued by any of this and much more besides, this is the book for you.”
Petits Propos Culinaires

“A fascinating narrative of food and life five centuries ago. . . . This book is highly recommended to dietitians, nutritionists, lovers of food history, and students of medieval life and literature.”
Journal of the American Dietetic Association

“[Henisch’s] familiarity with primary sources is formidable, and we reap the benefit of years of scholarly sleuthing. . . . [A] thorough, well-organized, and well-written study that will be valued not only by the academic, by the general reader as well.”
Library Journal

“[This book contains] delightful illustrations taken from illuminated manuscripts, and its wealth of information makes it a feast for anyone interested in the history of food.”
Daily Telegraph

“[Fast and Feast] will become a necessary reference book for those studying medieval medicine and also for historians of nutrition, food, and social attitudes. . . . Highly recommended.”
Medical History

“[Henisch’s] familiarity with primary sources is formidable, and we reap the benefit of years of scholarly sleuthing. . . . [A] thorough, well-organized, and well-written study that will be valued not only by the academic, by the general reader as well.”
Library Journal

“[Fast and Feast] will become a necessary reference book for those studying medieval medicine and also for historians of nutrition, food, and social attitudes. . . . Highly recommended.”
Medical History

“The topic is vividly described and plentifully illustrated.”
Manuscripta

“The topic is vividly described and plentifully illustrated.”

Manuscripta

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271004242
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1990
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Bridget Ann Henisch is author of Medieval Armchair Travels and Cakes and Characters, and co-author of The Photographic Experience, 1839-1914 (Penn State).

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