Period Food for the Seriously Cooking-Impaired

by Mathilda Harper, mka Mathilda Navias


You can't boil water without burning it. So how on God's green earth are you going to get hold of even vaguely period food the next time you’re asked by your shire/barony/household to bring snacks or contribute to a potluck supper? Despair not; all of the following can be purchased or prepared and brought without shame or apologies:

·        Cold sliced meat. That's right – lunchmeat! (within reason; avoid bologna and other highly processed ones. But roast beef, ham, and salami types are all period.)

·        A gallon of cider

·        Cheese (real cheese, not processed or American); preferably in a wheel or block, or cut into cubes (not slices). Some grocery stores are now carrying “fresh cheese,” a soft, crumbly cheese ind of like ricotta that can be eaten on crackers or bread.

·        Bread or rolls, if they're reminiscent of home-made (no Wonderfluff). Bring real butter, too.

·        Marzipan (known in period as "marchpane"): one of the most widely eaten desserts throughout our period. This is almond paste formed into candies. Look for it at gourmet stores or ask at the grocery store. It usually comes boxed like chocolates, and is often molded into fruit shapes and colored with food coloring—all of which is very period.

·        Scottish shortbread

·        Nuts: whole almonds, walnuts

·        Fruit: seasonal fruit; grapes. Dried fruit: figs, raisins, currants.


Bon appetit! (that's French for "what's for supper?" – or something like that.)