A Thyme and Place: Medieval Feasts and Recipes for the Modern Table

A Thyme and Place: Medieval Feasts and Recipes for the Modern Table

by Lisa Graves, Tricia Cohen


$15.29 $16.99 Save 10% Current price is $15.29, Original price is $16.99. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Monday, September 23


Revive your inner period cook and master the art of gode cookery with thirty-five recipes celebrating festivals throughout the year!

Fancy a leap back in time to the kitchens in the Middle Ages, where cauldrons bubbled over hearths, whole oxen were roasted over spits, and common cooking ingredients included verjuice, barley, peafowl, frumenty, and elder flowers? You, too, can learn the art of gode cookery—or, at least, come close to it.

With gorgeous and whimsical hand-drawn illustrations from beginning to end, A Thyme and Place is both a cookbook and a history for foodies and history buffs alike. Cohen and Graves revive old original medieval recipes and reimagine and modify them to suit modern palates and tastes. Each recipe is tied directly to a specific calendar holiday and feast so you can learn to cook:

• Summer harvest wine with elder flower, apples, and pears for St. John’s Day (June 21st)
• Right-as-rain apple cake for St. Swithin’s Day (July 15th)
• Wee Matilda’s big pig fried pork balls with sage for Pig Face Day (September 14th)
• Roasted goose with fig glaze and bannock stuffing for Michaelmas (September 29th)
• Peasant duck ravioli and last of the harvest chutney for Martinmas (November 11th)
• And many more!

Accompanied by juicy fun facts and tidbits, these recipes will revive your inner period cook and allow you to impress your guests with obscure medieval knowledge. Keep the old culinary traditions of the Middle Ages alive, whip up some bellytimber, and fill the dinner table with food and friends at your next house banquet.

Skyhorse Publishing, along with our Good Books and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of cookbooks, including books on juicing, grilling, baking, frying, home brewing and winemaking, slow cookers, and cast iron cooking. We’ve been successful with books on gluten-free cooking, vegetarian and vegan cooking, paleo, raw foods, and more. Our list includes French cooking, Swedish cooking, Austrian and German cooking, Cajun cooking, as well as books on jerky, canning and preserving, peanut butter, meatballs, oil and vinegar, bone broth, and more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781510702530
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication date: 06/07/2016
Pages: 152
Product dimensions: 8.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Tricia Cohen grew up in a house with two kitchens, surrounded by family, food, and love. In her adult life, she continues to share her love for food with the community as a hostess, gourmet home cook, and sous chef. She lives in North Truro, Massachusetts.

Lisa Graves is the author and illustrator of the series Women in History, with three books to her name, as well as the illustrator of The Tudor Tutor (Skyhorse Publishing). She is the creator of Historywitch.com, a site dedicated to illustrations of history’s most fascinating characters. She lives in Medway, Massachusetts.

Read an Excerpt


Basic Recipes

Pump Up the Jam, with Bacon!

We used this on a savory pancake (page 48), but it can also be put out on a charcuterie with cheeses and meats along with your morning eggs, or just take a spoon to the jar.


1½ lbs thick cut bacon cut into 1-inch pieces (we like applewood but any good quality bacon will do)
2 large sweet onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 Mission figs, chopped (optional)
½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup honey
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp black pepper
6 Tbsp Drambuie (or bourbon — though we liked the sweet notes of Drambuie)
1/8 tsp salt


* Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat and add the bacon. Cover and cook for approximately 25 minutes. Check on the bacon with some frequency, giving it a stir each time.

* Once the bacon begins to crisp, remove the cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn the heat off once the bacon is fully crisp. Remove using a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel–lined plate. Let the fat in the Dutch oven cool for a few minutes and then — hear us out — save the stuff in a container for future cooking.

* Leave all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the Dutch oven. Turn the heat back on (again, medium) and add the onions and garlic, scraping up any delicious bacon bits from the bottom of the pan, and cook until soft. Once it is soft, add the figs if you so choose (highly recommended).

* Drop the heat to medium low and add the brown sugar, cider vinegar, honey, ginger, pepper, and Drambuie. Cook for 10 minutes, just enough time for the mixture to start to get jammy.

* Adjust the heat to medium for 5 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the jam from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Lower heat back down to medium low and add the bacon. Cook for 20 minutes, covered. Stir occasionally. Remove lid and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the salt.

* Remove from heat and let it cool slightly. Add the mixture to the food processor and chop to desired texture. We like it finely chopped as it looks more refined. Well, as refined as bacon jam can be.

Perfect Pasta

This recipe comes from Gloria Fortunato at the Wild Rosemary Bistro in Pittsburgh. Gloria is not only a fantastic chef but also a dear friend. While we were making pasta, Gloria made it clear to us that we should never be worried that the pasta dough would not come out right — you can always adjust as you go. Be confident, and it will turn out the way you want it to. Thanks, Gloria!


3 cups pasta flour or "OO" flour
1 tsp salt
4 large eggs
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil Warm water


* Using a food processor with the metal blade, add the flour into the container along with the salt. Cover and turn the machine on, adding one egg at a time followed by the olive oil. We find it helpful to crack the eggs before starting the process so that you can capture any loose shells.

* If the dough does not appear to be coming together, make adjustments. If too dry, add some warm water. If too wet, add a sprinkle of flour. At this point, you can also add some fresh herbs like flat-leaf parsley.

* Once the dough comes together into a ball-like shape, turn the machine off and remove the dough onto a floured surface. Make a nice round ball, cut into 3 pieces, wrap in plastic wrap (tightly, don't let any air get to your masterpiece), and place in the refrigerator.

* Once chilled, use a pasta machine or, if you are ambitious, hand roll to the desired pasta shape. If using a machine, you may have to run the dough through several times to achieve the right consistency.

Sandland Savory Piecrust

This recipe comes from Tricia's mother, Kathy. She has used this recipe for decades. This is not a delicate crust and is perfect for heavier recipes. Foolproof and easy to create — our favorite! This recipe will yield four rounds of dough. If you are making a pie with a lid, you will only be using two rounds of dough.


1 lb lard
1 tsp salt
1 cup boiling water
2 tsp baking powder
6 cups all-purpose flour


* Place lard in a large bowl, slightly softened. Add the salt to the top of the lard, followed by the boiling water. Mix until the lard is broken up.

* Next, add the dry ingredients over the lard and, using your hands, gently incorporate all the ingredients until it forms the dough. Break the dough into 4 pieces, firmly wrap with plastic wrap, and place into refrigerator until cooled, but not cold.

* If you are making this in advance and the dough is cold, remove from the refrigerator until it starts to soften. Roll out dough on a floured surface.

Parsley Oil

This is a great way to use fresh herbs or even to preserve your herbs at the end of the summer. You can use this cooking process with any herb, but you may want to consider using different oils or a combination of oils (for example, walnut and olive oil).


2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley, stems off (as best as you can before you go crazy)
1 cup olive oil Salt


* Bring about 2 cups of salted water to a boil. Add the fresh parsley for 15–20 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, immediately remove the blanched herbs and place them in a bowl of ice water. This will stop the cooking process. Once the parsley has cooled completely, remove the herb from the water and wring out the water using paper towels.

* Add the parsley and oil to a food processor for about 30 seconds or so. Drain the oil through a fine sieve and now you have beautifully colored and flavored oil.

* Store the oil in a refrigerator for 2 weeks. We chose to pour it into a silicone ice tray; ours was in the shape of hearts. Freeze the oil and then pop them out of the tray into a freezer bag. If they are not coming out easily from the tray, just heat slightly with hot water at the bottom of the mold. This is a perfect way to add oil to salads, pasta, or really anything else.

Girdle Crackers

Using stones to cook bread goes back to the beginning of time. The Scottish made bread cooked on a bannock stone. This treasured family stone was passed down from generation to generation. The English and Irish used a piece of sandstone, called a girdle, to make bread from the fifth to fifteenth century. The "bread" was a staple food for many who hailed from the British Empire. We used a pan — but please don't call it pan bread.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp lard, plus extra for the pan (we do not recommend using vegetable shortening)
2 Tbsp mead (or another sweet white wine)
2 large eggs Herbs (to season; optional)


* Step one, and most important: remove any rings from your fingers. You will thank us later. In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt. Using your hands, mix the lard into the flour and salt until the combination resembles sand.

* Beat the mead and eggs together in a separate bowl. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients. Add a bit extra mead or cold water if the mixture is dry. This is the time you can add your herbs, if you so choose. We recommend finely cutting up a mixture of sage, thyme, and rosemary.

* Mix the ingredients well and then roll out the dough on a floured surface until thin. Using a cutter (a biscuit cutter works wonderfully), cut the dough into circles. Heat a large, heavy frying pan with lard. Add the crackers to the pan, working in batches. If the pan is warm enough, you will only need to turn them once. This happens quickly, especially if the rounds are thin, so stay alert.

* Remove from pan and add a generous amount of sea salt or serve plain. This is best served warm and bite-sized.


Medieval Holidays & Feasts

Celebrate medieval holidays throughout the year! Each feast includes information on the original food served in medieval times, why and when the feast was observed, and a modern-day recipe using readily available ingredients that recognize and celebrate the essence of the original feast (and, don't worry, we did not cook a hog's head or a peacock!).

Twelfth Night

January 5th or 6th

Celebration of the coming of Epiphany. The last holiday before everyone went back to work. Hoorah!

The History

New Year, New Pudding

This festival celebrates the coming of Epiphany (the celebration of God the Son as a human being, Jesus Christ). It also concludes the twelve days of Christmas.

In medieval times, Twelfth Night meant the end of an entire festival season that began with All Hallows' Eve in October. It was the final day of indulging in holiday food and drink before the villagers had to go back to work (and back to their diets of less-than-indulgent food).

King of the Bean, Queen of the Pea

One of the many traditions observed on this night was to eat a cake with a bean and a pea hidden inside (ahem ... choking hazard). Those who found the bean and pea would be declared the king and queen of the feast, and their "reign" would end at midnight.

In France, the Twelfth Night cake was called tortell, an O-shaped pastry stuffed with marzipan and topped with glazed fruit. In Spain, this cake was called roscón de reyes.

Revelers often drank wassail on Christmas and Twelfth Night. Wassail is similar to mulled cider, but is more or less a mulled beer. Drinking large quantities ensured a good apple harvest for the coming year (and quite possibly a ferocious hangover).

Cromwell: Pudding and Party Killer

Also a popular dish on this day was fig or plum pudding. This dish dates back to the mid 1600s. It was banned, along with Yule logs, caroling, and nativity scenes by none other than Oliver Cromwell (grrrr) who thought all the celebrations were too pagan. Oh, Oliver.

Good Queen's Wassail

Mulled cider for a noble New Year. You will need a cheesecloth.


1 bottle Riesling or another mildly sweet white wine
2 cups honey
1 Tbsp each ground ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, white pepper, clove,
nutmeg, and caraway seeds
2 tsp white pepper Apple cider


* Bring the wine and honey to a boil. Skim the scum (bubbles) off of the top as it boils. This very necessary process is to clarify the honey.

* Remove from heat, stir in the spices, and store covered in the refrigerator for 12–24 hours.

* Strain the mixture through cheesecloth but don't try to capture the entire residue, as you want the residual spices to blend with the wine mixture for the next month in the refrigerator. Once it is set for one month (or longer), take the mixture out of the refrigerator and let it sit for an hour. The honey and spices will be at the bottom in a solid mass. Warming it up a bit will allow you to mix all those great flavors together in a few good shakes.

* Strain the mixture, twice, through cheesecloth, and set aside. Warm a container of apple cider on the stove top. Take out a small punch bowl and add the wassail mix. Fill with warm apple cider and stir. We also suggest adding some bourbon to really get your Twelfth Night party going. Garnish with orange slices and cinnamon sticks.

Twelfth Night: Or King and Queen

by Robert Herrick (1591–1674)

Now, now the mirth comes With the cake full of plums, Where bean's the king of the sport here; Beside we must know, The pea also Must revel, as queen, in the court here.

Begin then to choose, This night as ye use, Who shall for the present delight here, Be a king by the lot, And who shall not Be Twelfth-day queen for the night here.

Which known, let us make Joy-sops with the cake; And let not a man then be seen here, Who unurg'd will not drink To the base from the brink A health to the king and queen here.

Next crown a bowl full With gentle lamb's wool: Add sugar, nutmeg, and ginger, With store of ale too; And thus ye must do To make the wassail a swinger.

Give then to the king And queen wassailing: And though with ale ye be whet here, Yet part from hence As free from offence As when ye innocent met here.

Plough Monday

Monday after January 6th

Celebrated all day. Get your pudding on, don't get punked, and give them a penny already.

The History

Back to Work!

Plough Monday was celebrated throughout the United Kingdom on the Monday after January 6th, or the first Monday after the Twelfth Night of Epiphany. This day marked the return to agricultural work after Christmas. During the holidays, work was scarce, so this feast was held in hope that jobs and harvests would be plentiful in the coming months.

Plough Pranks

Farmers would take their ploughs to the church to be blessed the day before (Plough Sunday). On the following day, they walked through the villages with decorated ploughs to raise money and chanted "Penny for the plough boys!" This was a happy day; there was singing, dancing, musicians, a person dressed as the "Bessy," and another as the "Fool."

Costumes were to add to the merriment, but they also doubled as a disguise so that there was no embarrassment when visiting the homes of residents (usually the homes of the wealthier landowners) who did not wish to contribute. Those who did not throw money in the plough were often the victims of a prank or two later that night (plough tracks across their lawn). One could guess that the pranks were on par with how much drinking was involved.

References to Plough Monday date back to the late thirteenth century when "plough candles" were lit in various churches, but most of the observances declined in the nineteenth century.

Back to the food: a very specific meal was always served on Plough Monday — plough pudding. This savory meat pie consisted of rendered suet, pork sausage, bacon, sage, and onions encased in a pastry crust. While most of the ingredients are readily available in today's markets, our modern-day palates require some refining. The word "pudding" comes from the French word boudin, which means "small sausage" (insert inappropriate jokes here). During medieval times, "pudding" was a term used for meats and other ingredients that were encased in a pastry or dough and then baked, steamed, or boiled.

Don't worry, we have not developed anything with rendered suet. We've used breakfast sausage, apples, and sage for our pudding to give it a bit more depth. Making a traditional English pudding requires different techniques and a change of mindset for those of us living in the United States, where "pudding" is strictly a dessert!

Plough Pudding

Enough to share, but you may not want to.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
6 Tbsp vegetable shortening (plus extra for greasing the basin)
½ cup quartered apples
1 lb sweet pork sausage, bulk (not in the casing)
½ tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
3 slices thickly cut bacon, chopped (we used applewood for that extra flavor)
3 breakfast sausage links, quartered
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 Tbsp brown sugar, tightly packed Cold water


* Generously grease the pudding basin with extra shortening and set aside.

For the crust:

* Measure the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl, and stir to combine. Add the shortening and rub together until mixture resembles coarse sand. Use your hands! Slowly, start to add water until the dough comes together. We used half a cup of water.

* Using your dough-covered hands, plop the dough onto a flour-covered surface. Knead in the flour and make a dough ball. Cut into three equal parts. Wrap each separately in plastic wrap and tuck in the refrigerator. Make sure the plastic wrap tightly covers all parts of the dough to prevent air from getting in. This is a savory dough, which means it will be heavy and will look "imperfect."

* Remove two of the sections from the refrigerator after it has been chilled, a half hour or so, enough time for you to clean your hands and the mess you just made. Combine the two sections and roll out on a lightly floured surface until ?-inch thick and somewhat round, but again this does not need to be perfect; it just has to be big enough to line the basin. Hold the flattened dough in your hands and carefully hold it over the basin. Drop the center of the dough in first and follow with the sides to get out any air bubbles, until your basin is properly lined. Press the dough down in the center followed by the sides. Trim any dough that is not even with the top of the basin. Use the trimmed dough to fill in any tears or gaps.


Excerpted from "A Thyme and Place"
by .
Copyright © 2016 Tricia Cohen and Lisa Graves.
Excerpted by permission of Skyhorse Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Pump Up the Jam, with Bacon!,
Perfect Pasta,
Sandland Savory Piecrust,
Parsley Oil,
Girdle Crackers,
Twelfth Night,
Good Queen's Wassail,
Plough Monday,
Plough Pudding,
St. Brigid's Day and Candlemas,
Brigid's Savory Bread Pudding,
St. Valentine's Day,
Virile Chickpeas,
"No Blackbirds" Cherry Bread Pudding,
"Drunk on Love" Veal with Cherries,
April Fool's Day,
Fool's Paradise Onion Soup,
Shrove Tuesday,
Pagan Pancakes,
"Silence of the Lambs" Stew,
Onion and Cheese Tarts,
Welsh Rarebit,
Rogation Days,
Sauce Madame, for the Fun Queen,
Medieval Wedding,
I Do, I Do, I Do Scallops with Pea Puree,
May Day,
"Spring Has Sprung" Cheesecake,
St. George's Day,
Dragon Lamb Wellington,
The Bard's Chicken Pie with Bacon Lattice,
Cooper's Hill Cheese Roll,
Chase That Cheese and Egg Soup,
St. John's Eve/Midsummer's Eve,
Summer Wine for around the Bonfire,
Shrimp & Lobster in Vinegar,
St. Swithin's Day,
"Right as Rain" Apple Pastries,
Lammas Day,
Bread Winner,
Pig Face Day,
Wee Matilda's Big Pig Out,
The Installation of Archbishop Neville's Feast,
"Swimming against the Tide" Salmon Pie with Parsnip Mash,
Kingmaker's Chicken,
Give Them the Bird,
Saintly Fall Fritters,
September 29th Blackberry Butter and Lemon Scones,
All Hallow's Eve,
Squash Your Demons with Honey and Almonds,
The Crone's Scone; a Deconstructed Pork Pie,
Peasant Duck Ravioli,
Cinnamon Beef Roast Wrapped in Heaven,
Last of the Harvest Chutney,
St. Martin's Sickness Prevention,
St. Andrew's Day,
Atholl Brose Whip on Tipsy Oatcakes,
Pies of Paris,
Short Rib Lasagne,
Loaf around the Veal Pie,
"Christmas Is Coming" Pork Rolls,

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

A Thyme and Place: Medieval Feasts and Recipes for the Modern Table 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Viety More than 1 year ago
If you love to try new recipes and are a history buff, this cookbook is perfect! Love the illustrations and food history. Fabulous cookbook, I'm looking forward to trying the Summer Wine paired with the Shrimp & Lobster in Vinegar... (Page 82-83)