Some of the most iconic Christmas dishes were developed in the Middle Ages.
The traditional Christmas feast sure has changed over the centuries. Today, most families prepare a single meal to be enjoyed on Christmas Day, but in the medieval period the celebrations could last the whole Christmas season. The feasts of yore were joyous occasions that would often draw in much of the community to share in the bounty.
As the rich and poor of medieval times had access to vastly different foodstuffs, there were a wide variety of Christmas dishes. Some of these dishes are still enjoyed today, while others would be met with upturned noses if placed on a modern dining table. Despite falling out of fashion, however, they were still enjoyed by the faithful for hundreds of years.
Let’s take a look at just a few of the traditional Christmas dishes from the medieval era.
1. The boar’s head
One of the most popular of the medieval Christmas fixings was a roasted boar’s head, displayed on a platter. While the boar’s head was not always consumed, a Christmas feast would not be seen as complete without one present. A report from Ranker notes that the boar’s head came from the Germanic tradition and seeped into Anglo-Saxon culture from there. The dish was so popular that carols about presenting a cooked boar’s head were sung during the season.
2. Mince pies
Designed in a rectangular shape to reference the manger, mince pies were a popular Christmas meal. Historic-UK notes that cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg were often added to symbolize the three gifts presented by the Magi. Mince pies were assembled with various types of meat, spices, and fruits, and it was considered good luck to eat at least one on each of the 12 Days of Christmas.