Medifast Recipes

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Medieval cuisine
So far, I love all of the foods I've tried. I owe my confidence to my weight loss and I owe my weight loss to Nutrisystem. It was hard at first but am getting use to it. Give it a try guys and I expect your girlfriend will be just as happy as mine is. Swans and peafowl were domesticated to some extent, but were only eaten by the social elite, and more praised for their fine appearance as stunning entertainment dishes, entremets , than for their meat. So far, my favorite is the mushroom risotto, the chicken with dumplings, and the chili with beans, the flame broiled beef patty, the barbecue sauce pork wrap, the chocolate chocolate chip pudding, the chocolate crunch bar, the chocolate chip cookie, the creamy tomato sauce, the blueberry pancakes and the blueberry muffins. My mom suggested a coliflower garlic mash, like mashed patatos and it was great.

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They also have Italian and Ranch sprays. This is also my favorite salad dressing. Aloha from Michael and Lorelei on Maui!!!! Michael has just lost an amazing 54lbs. But check back often on the site because we will have more videos and blogs coming up…All of our posts over the last year can be found on facebook on Lorelei Williams.. I have been on Medifast for 8 weeks and have lost 21 lbs. I was getting Hungary for good old fashioned hamburger casserole. I made my family the draditional pasta casserole and here is what I did for me.

It was great and took care of my craving. Add all ingredient together in medium fry pan. Cook until broccoli is tender. Add 1pkg tofu pasta. Cook until heated through. Dark chocolate shake is good with a teaspoon of instant decaf coffee, ice cubes and water blended in a small blender.

Crusty Chicken I rolled the new Medifast chese pizza bites in the bag before I opened it. I used 4 oz of chicken that I dipped in one beaten egg. Then I dipped the chicken in the pizza crumbs. I sprayed the pan with Pam and cooked for 3 minutes per side. I threw away the extra egg, but put the few crumbs left on top while cooking. I ate this with a serving of canned green beans as a contrast to the spicy chicken.

I have only been on medifast 11 days and am very happy with m loss of 11 pds. I will be checking hee often for ideas. I have been on MF for a month and love it. Anyone has a similiar experience or thoughts on how to make it better? This is a great site. I need some kind of recipe for turkey burgers, of course without the bun. I just have to say thank you to everyone here.

But this website made me feel so much better. I hear and hope it gets easier with time! But now I have some great ideas on what to do with the oatmeal and tons of other stuff! I am almost done with my second week of Medifast and I have to say, so far so good!

I am happy I found this website with so many great ways to make the food more satisfying!! I found the chocolate chip pancakes to be pretty bad…. I add a few walnuts to my pancakes and just a tiny drizzle of honey obviously try not to do that too often but it does make it taste better … YUMMM!

I too hated the chocolate chip pancakes but the walnuts made them taste much better… Just a small amount though becuase of the increase in calories and fat. Thanks for all the good ideas as I am just starting out and am having a difficult time enjoying the taste of many of the meals, as is. Any suggestions for when I have that chip craving? Lisa, have you tried Kale chips? Wash the Kale, pull the leaves from the stem and tear into bite-size pieces. Dry with paper towels and put on baking pan in single layer.

Spray with Butter Pam and sprinkle with Mrs. Dash or spice of your choice. Bake at degrees for 15 minutes. This gets a crunchy texture and Kale is sooo good for you. I love it that we r all in this together.

I am only on day 6 but I have lost 13 lbs and I love all the recipies and support on this site. Thanks for the ideas everyone and keep em conning! Im sure I will have some to share eventually too. My hubby and I started 1 week ago, and of course he has lost 8 lbs and I have lost 3 lbs.

One of our combined favs are Southwest eggs made as omelet with the Vegetarian sloppy joe as filler. We split it our course, and have a tsp of salsa on top. I am seeking out other combos such as this so please post what else you all are doing! Brand new to this Medifast thing—safely made it to Day 5 without cheating.

My tips, so far, for any newbies are: Literally gagged them down with 20oz of water!! What is up with those things? Love the recipes on here…feel like this is pretty easy! Sarah 84 days until Spring Break! I dip the honey mustard pretzels in various mustards. My favorite is a deli style horseradish mustard.

Hi Everyone, I have been on Medifast for a week now and I lost 7 lbs! It was hard at first but am getting use to it. I am glad to be able to have ideas on how to use the Medifast packets to make something different to eat. Good luck to everyone who is on Medifast! The smell is also horrendous. Any recipe ideas would be greatly appreciated!!! I add the following ingredients to the eggs: Makes all the difference in the world!

Best advice I can give is to cook on the stove in a small frying pan MUCH better that when you cook in the microwave. Added some onion powder which also helped. Mix eggs with water and let them soak for a while.

Take out the veggies and cook the eggs; then add the veggies back in. Some salsa helps, too. I add a half serving of egg beaters, try the southwestern. You can also add chopped red pepper and onion to just medifast serving.

Always do scrambled, never microwave, use Pam and scramble in fry pan. Hi, I know this is a bit late, but I use Mrs. Add it before you put it in the microwave.

This is my 5th day on MF. I did the eggs according to directions, added 1 tbsp. Drop this bag into a pot of boiling water and boil for 15 minutes.

You can use the salsa on top of the cooked omelet. If you are craving for a pasta, there is a shirataki noodle that is 20 calories, no-oodle noodle and miracle noodle with no calories. That can be your free food. You can also use the tomato soup for a sauce, diced some tomatoes and blend it and add ground meat. I am soooo excited to get started on this program. Since I am going to be in my first week, can I use these variations right away or do I need to wait until my body starts adjusting?

I know my TSFL coach told me to try to stick to the program very strictly to see the desired results. Thanks in advance for any help or advice! Just finished week 3 and have lost 10 lbs. I am a bit of a food snob, so this has been difficult.

I am not a fan of the oatmeal or soups, at all…. I did accidentally find that the cappucino is better cold than hot. I filled my shaker with water to make a shake and acidentally added a cappucino instead of a shake mix. Its a little quirky and foamy after shaking at first…. When I fixed it hot, half of it foamed and overflowed and the fiber was very noticable and gave it a sludgy consistency. Any suggestions for the oatmeal or soups?

The consistency of the oatmeal was awful and the taste not much better. I like chicken and veg stir fry or a big veg omlette for lean and green. I use the egg beaters and it is a big serving of eggs. The chicken and veggie omlette filled up a regular dinner plate. Many fast food places have a grilled chx salad with mixed greens, cucumber and a few tomatoes.

Just watch out for added bacon and cheese and be sure to use you own dressing or read the dressing labels before using it…the majority are not good for you. I also have made a home-ade chili with ground turkey or chicken, low salt canned diced tomato, onion, green chilis or bell pepper, a little water and a bit of taco seasoning or add your own seasoning.

Would also be good with frozen veg meat substitute crumbles…just be sure to check labels for other carb filler additives and carb counts. Spice up this savory soup with a smoky blend of cumin and cayenne for a flavorful and inexpensive healthy meal.

Two pans and 20 minutes later, a serving of this tasty low-sodium dish fulfills 20 percent of your daily iron requirement. You likely have most of the ingredients on hand, saving you gas money from a grocery trip. Grab prewashed packaged spinach to make meal prep even faster. Even though the package says it's washed, be sure to rinse the spinach in a colander before using.

Turn a classic pork chop into a tangy, tropical meal. Orange marmalade creates a mouthwatering and easy! Grilled pineapple slices on the side lend their bold sweetness to this new grill-season favorite. Try our healthy vegetarian version of your favorite stroganoff for a new low-cal take on the classic.

Our light cream sauce goes well with flat, long pastas, so try swapping fettuccine or tagliatelle for the pappardelle. Just choose whatever's on sale to stick with the cheap-meal theme. Just as rich—and twice as nutritious—as traditional lasagna, this veggie-packed version has only calories per serving. We swapped veggies for red meat but kept all the cheeses you love for a healthy meal idea. Make healthy veggies delicious with the addition of butter, herbs, and cheese.

There's also lean chicken and heart-healthy walnuts for a hearty and healthy budget meal. Soups often make cheap meal ideas!

Preparing a delicious and healthy meal is a breeze with our quick shrimp bisque recipe. In just 25 minutes, you can create a savory seafood dinner full of warm, succulent shrimp. When you need a cheap quick meal, it's time for a stir-fry.

The prechopped packaged frozen vegetables save time in the kitchen and keep you on budget without losing any of the nutrition. Lighten the meal even more by opting for low-cal bottled plum sauce and low-sodium soy sauce. Win over your dinner crowd with this scrumptious chicken noodle casserole.

For a crispy topper, simply combine pieces of fresh bread, chopped onion, and celery instead of the usual high-cal fried onion mix. All the cozy, bubbly comfort makes for one of our favorite healthy recipes for dinner.

With just four ingredients and minimal prep, you'll be able to quickly pull together a hearty, beefy Sunday stew. It's low in fat and has only calories per serving. Enjoy a dine-out experience at home with our favorite Italian pasta dish, complete with succulent shrimp and spinach tossed in a zesty lemon-garlic sauce.

The easy-to-find ingredients help keep this a healthy cheap meal. Yes, you can enjoy meat while making inexpensive healthy dinners. Give classic French dip sandwiches a makeover with green peppers, onions, and lean meat.

For a healthy boost, we recommend using reduced-sodium beef broth instead of the original. Mac and cheese probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of healthy dinner ideas, but when you use whole grain pasta, broccoli, carrots, and reduced-fat cheese, it becomes a nutritious and cheap recipe. Sprinkled with zesty lemon juice and coated in fresh herbs and savory seasonings, our sophisticated salmon dinner is a real catch.

Plus, salmon is low in fat, high in protein, and full of great flavor. You don't have to wait for Thanksgiving to get your fix of holiday turkey.

Meats were more expensive than plant foods. Though rich in protein , the calorie -to-weight ratio of meat was less than that of plant food. Meat could be up to four times as expensive as bread. Fish was up to 16 times as costly, and was expensive even for coastal populations. This meant that fasts could mean an especially meager diet for those who could not afford alternatives to meat and animal products like milk and eggs. It was only after the Black Death had eradicated up to half of the European population that meat became more common even for poorer people.

The drastic reduction in many populated areas resulted in a labor shortage, meaning that wages dramatically increased. It also left vast areas of farmland untended, making them available for pasture and putting more meat on the market. Although less prestigious than other animal meats, and often seen as merely an alternative to meat on fast days, seafood was the mainstay of many coastal populations.

Also included were the beaver , due to its scaly tail and considerable time spent in water, and barnacle geese , due to the belief that they developed underwater in the form of barnacles. The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II examined barnacles and noted no evidence of any bird-like embryo in them, and the secretary of Leo of Rozmital wrote a very skeptical account of his reaction to being served barnacle goose at a fish-day dinner in Especially important was the fishing and trade in herring and cod in the Atlantic and the Baltic Sea.

The herring was of unprecedented significance to the economy of much of Northern Europe, and it was one of the most common commodities traded by the Hanseatic League , a powerful north German alliance of trading guilds. Kippers made from herring caught in the North Sea could be found in markets as far away as Constantinople.

Stockfish , cod that was split down the middle, fixed to a pole and dried, was very common, though preparation could be time-consuming, and meant beating the dried fish with a mallet before soaking it in water.

A wide range of mollusks including oysters , mussels and scallops were eaten by coastal and river-dwelling populations, and freshwater crayfish were seen as a desirable alternative to meat during fish days.

Compared to meat, fish was much more expensive for inland populations, especially in Central Europe, and therefore not an option for most. Freshwater fish such as pike , carp , bream , perch , lamprey and trout were common. While in modern times, water is often drunk with a meal, in the Middle Ages, however, concerns over purity, medical recommendations and its low prestige value made it less favored, and alcoholic beverages were preferred.

They were seen as more nutritious and beneficial to digestion than water, with the invaluable bonus of being less prone to putrefaction due to the alcohol content. Wine was consumed on a daily basis in most of France and all over the Western Mediterranean wherever grapes were cultivated. Further north it remained the preferred drink of the bourgeoisie and the nobility who could afford it, and far less common among peasants and workers.

The drink of commoners in the northern parts of the continent was primarily beer or ale. Juices , as well as wines, of a multitude of fruits and berries had been known at least since Roman antiquity and were still consumed in the Middle Ages: Medieval drinks that have survived to this day include prunellé from wild plums modern-day slivovitz , mulberry gin and blackberry wine. Many variants of mead have been found in medieval recipes, with or without alcoholic content.

However, the honey -based drink became less common as a table beverage towards the end of the period and was eventually relegated to medicinal use.

This is partially true since mead bore great symbolic value at important occasions. When agreeing on treaties and other important affairs of state, mead was often presented as a ceremonial gift. It was also common at weddings and baptismal parties, though in limited quantity due to its high price. In medieval Poland , mead had a status equivalent to that of imported luxuries, such as spices and wines. Plain milk was not consumed by adults except the poor or sick, being reserved for the very young or elderly, and then usually as buttermilk or whey.

Fresh milk was overall less common than other dairy products because of the lack of technology to keep it from spoiling. However, neither of these non-alcoholic social drinks were consumed in Europe before the late 16th and early 17th century. Wine was commonly drunk and was also regarded as the most prestigious and healthy choice.

According to Galen 's dietetics it was considered hot and dry but these qualities were moderated when wine was watered down. Unlike water or beer, which were considered cold and moist, consumption of wine in moderation especially red wine was, among other things, believed to aid digestion, generate good blood and brighten the mood. The first pressing was made into the finest and most expensive wines which were reserved for the upper classes.

The second and third pressings were subsequently of lower quality and alcohol content. Common folk usually had to settle for a cheap white or rosé from a second or even third pressing, meaning that it could be consumed in quite generous amounts without leading to heavy intoxication. For the poorest or the most pious , watered-down vinegar similar to Ancient Roman posca would often be the only available choice. The aging of high quality red wine required specialized knowledge as well as expensive storage and equipment, and resulted in an even more expensive end product.

Judging from the advice given in many medieval documents on how to salvage wine that bore signs of going bad, preservation must have been a widespread problem. Even if vinegar was a common ingredient, there was only so much of it that could be used.

In the 14th century cookbook Le Viandier there are several methods for salvaging spoiling wine; making sure that the wine barrels are always topped up or adding a mixture of dried and boiled white grape seeds with the ash of dried and burnt lees of white wine were both effective bactericides , even if the chemical processes were not understood at the time.

Wine was believed to act as a kind of vaporizer and conduit of other foodstuffs to every part of the body, and the addition of fragrant and exotic spices would make it even more wholesome. Spiced wines were usually made by mixing an ordinary red wine with an assortment of spices such as ginger , cardamom , pepper , grains of paradise , nutmeg , cloves and sugar.

These would be contained in small bags which were either steeped in wine or had liquid poured over them to produce hypocras and claré. By the 14th century, bagged spice mixes could be bought ready-made from spice merchants.

While wine was the most common table beverage in much of Europe, this was not the case in the northern regions where grapes were not cultivated. Those who could afford it drank imported wine, but even for nobility in these areas it was common to drink beer or ale , particularly towards the end of the Middle Ages.

In England , the Low Countries , northern Germany , Poland and Scandinavia , beer was consumed on a daily basis by people of all social classes and age groups. For most medieval Europeans, it was a humble brew compared with common southern drinks and cooking ingredients, such as wine, lemons and olive oil.

Even comparatively exotic products like camel 's milk and gazelle meat generally received more positive attention in medical texts.

Beer was just an acceptable alternative and was assigned various negative qualities. In , the Sienese physician Aldobrandino described beer in the following way:. But from whichever it is made, whether from oats, barley or wheat, it harms the head and the stomach, it causes bad breath and ruins the teeth , it fills the stomach with bad fumes, and as a result anyone who drinks it along with wine becomes drunk quickly; but it does have the property of facilitating urination and makes one's flesh white and smooth.

The intoxicating effect of beer was believed to last longer than that of wine, but it was also admitted that it did not create the "false thirst" associated with wine. Though less prominent than in the north, beer was consumed in northern France and the Italian mainland. Perhaps as a consequence of the Norman conquest and the travelling of nobles between France and England, one French variant described in the 14th century cookbook Le Menagier de Paris was called godale most likely a direct borrowing from the English "good ale" and was made from barley and spelt , but without hops.

In England there were also the variants poset ale , made from hot milk and cold ale, and brakot or braggot , a spiced ale prepared much like hypocras. That hops could be used for flavoring beer had been known at least since Carolingian times, but was adopted gradually due to difficulties in establishing the appropriate proportions. Before the widespread use of hops, gruit , a mix of various herbs , had been used.

Gruit had the same preserving properties as hops, though less reliable depending on what herbs were in it, and the end result was much more variable. Another flavoring method was to increase the alcohol content, but this was more expensive and lent the beer the undesired characteristic of being a quick and heavy intoxicant.

Hops may have been widely used in England in the tenth century; they were grown in Austria by and in Finland by , and possibly much earlier. Before hops became popular as an ingredient, it was difficult to preserve this beverage for any time, and so, it was mostly consumed fresh. Quantities of beer consumed by medieval residents of Europe, as recorded in contemporary literature, far exceed intakes in the modern world.

For example, sailors in 16th century England and Denmark received a ration of 1 imperial gallon 4. Polish peasants consumed up to 3 litres 0. In the Early Middle Ages beer was primarily brewed in monasteries , and on a smaller scale in individual households.

By the High Middle Ages breweries in the fledgling medieval towns of northern Germany began to take over production. Though most of the breweries were small family businesses that employed at most eight to ten people, regular production allowed for investment in better equipment and increased experimentation with new recipes and brewing techniques. These operations later spread to the Netherlands in the 14th century, then to Flanders and Brabant , and reached England by the 15th century.

Hopped beer became very popular in the last decades of the Late Middle Ages. When perfected as an ingredient, hops could make beer keep for six months or more, and facilitated extensive exports. In turn, ale or beer was classified into "strong" and "small", the latter less intoxicating, regarded as a drink of temperate people, and suitable for consumption by children.

As late as , John Locke stated that the only drink he considered suitable for children of all ages was small beer, while criticizing the apparently common practice among Englishmen of the time to give their children wine and strong alcohol. By modern standards, the brewing process was relatively inefficient, but capable of producing quite strong alcohol when that was desired. One recent attempt to recreate medieval English "strong ale" using recipes and techniques of the era albeit with the use of modern yeast strains yielded a strongly alcoholic brew with original gravity of 1.

The ancient Greeks and Romans knew of the technique of distillation , but it was not practiced on a major scale in Europe until some time around the 12th century, when Arabic innovations in the field combined with water-cooled glass alembics were introduced.

Distillation was believed by medieval scholars to produce the essence of the liquid being purified, and the term aqua vitae "water of life" was used as a generic term for all kinds of distillates.

Alcoholic distillates were also occasionally used to create dazzling, fire-breathing entremets a type of entertainment dish after a course by soaking a piece of cotton in spirits. It would then be placed in the mouth of the stuffed, cooked and occasionally redressed animals, and lit just before presenting the creation. Aqua vitae in its alcoholic forms was highly praised by medieval physicians.

In Arnaldus of Villanova wrote that "[i]t prolongs good health, dissipates superfluous humours, reanimates the heart and maintains youth. By the 13th century, Hausbrand literally "home-burnt" from gebrannter wein, brandwein ; "burnt [distilled] wine" was commonplace, marking the origin of brandy. Towards the end of the Late Middle Ages, the consumption of spirits became so ingrained even among the general population that restrictions on sales and production began to appear in the late 15th century.

In the city of Nuremberg issued restrictions on the selling of aquavit on Sundays and official holidays. Spices were among the most luxurious products available in the Middle Ages, the most common being black pepper , cinnamon and the cheaper alternative cassia , cumin , nutmeg , ginger and cloves.

They all had to be imported from plantations in Asia and Africa , which made them extremely expensive, and gave them social cachet such that pepper for example was hoarded, traded and conspicuously donated in the manner of gold bullion. The value of these goods was the equivalent of a yearly supply of grain for 1. Sugar , unlike today, was considered to be a type of spice due to its high cost and humoral qualities.

Even when a dish was dominated by a single flavor it was usually combined with another to produce a compound taste, for example parsley and cloves or pepper and ginger. Common herbs such as sage , mustard , and parsley were grown and used in cooking all over Europe, as were caraway , mint , dill and fennel. Many of these plants grew throughout all of Europe or were cultivated in gardens, and were a cheaper alternative to exotic spices.

Mustard was particularly popular with meat products and was described by Hildegard of Bingen — as poor man's food. While locally grown herbs were less prestigious than spices, they were still used in upper-class food, but were then usually less prominent or included merely as coloring. Anise was used to flavor fish and chicken dishes, and its seeds were served as sugar-coated comfits. Surviving medieval recipes frequently call for flavoring with a number of sour, tart liquids.

Wine, verjuice the juice of unripe grapes or fruits vinegar and the juices of various fruits, especially those with tart flavors, were almost universal and a hallmark of late medieval cooking. In combination with sweeteners and spices, it produced a distinctive "pungeant, fruity" flavor. Equally common, and used to complement the tanginess of these ingredients, were sweet almonds. They were used in a variety of ways: This last type of non-dairy milk product is probably the single most common ingredient in late medieval cooking and blended the aroma of spices and sour liquids with a mild taste and creamy texture.

Salt was ubiquitous and indispensable in medieval cooking. Salting and drying was the most common form of food preservation and meant that fish and meat in particular were often heavily salted.

Many medieval recipes specifically warn against oversalting and there were recommendations for soaking certain products in water to get rid of excess salt. The richer the host, and the more prestigious the guest, the more elaborate would be the container in which it was served and the higher the quality and price of the salt.

Wealthy guests were seated " above the salt ", while others sat "below the salt", where salt cellars were made of pewter, precious metals or other fine materials, often intricately decorated. The rank of a diner also decided how finely ground and white the salt was. Salt for cooking, preservation or for use by common people was coarser; sea salt, or "bay salt", in particular, had more impurities, and was described in colors ranging from black to green. Expensive salt, on the other hand, looked like the standard commercial salt common today.

The term " dessert " comes from the Old French desservir , "to clear a table", literally "to un-serve", and originated during the Middle Ages. It would typically consist of dragées and mulled wine accompanied by aged cheese , and by the Late Middle Ages could also include fresh fruit covered in sugar, honey or syrup and boiled-down fruit pastes. Sugar , from its first appearance in Europe, was viewed as much as a drug as a sweetener; its long-lived medieval reputation as an exotic luxury encouraged its appearance in elite contexts accompanying meats and other dishes that to modern taste are more naturally savoury.

There was a wide variety of fritters , crêpes with sugar, sweet custards and darioles , almond milk and eggs in a pastry shell that could also include fruit and sometimes even bone marrow or fish. Marzipan in many forms was well known in Italy and southern France by the s and is assumed to be of Arab origin.

The English chefs also had a penchant for using flower petals such as roses , violets , and elder flowers. An early form of quiche can be found in Forme of Cury , a 14th-century recipe collection, as a Torte de Bry with a cheese and egg yolk filling. The ever-present candied ginger, coriander , aniseed and other spices were referred to as épices de chambre "parlor spices" and were taken as digestibles at the end of a meal to "close" the stomach.

Just like Montpellier , Sicily was once famous for its comfits , nougat candy torrone , or turrón in Spanish and almond clusters confetti. From the south, the Arabs also brought the art of ice cream making that produced sorbet and several examples of sweet cakes and pastries; cassata alla Siciliana from Arabic qas'ah , the term for the terra cotta bowl with which it was shaped , made from marzipan, sponge cake and sweetened ricotta and cannoli alla Siciliana , originally cappelli di turchi "Turkish hats" , fried, chilled pastry tubes with a sweet cheese filling.

Research into medieval foodways was, until around , a much neglected field of study. Misconceptions and outright errors were common among historians, and are still present in as a part of the popular view of the Middle Ages as a backward, primitive and barbaric era.

Medieval cookery was described as revolting due to the often unfamiliar combination of flavors, the perceived lack of vegetables and a liberal use of spices.

The preservation techniques available at the time, although crude by today's standards, were perfectly adequate.

The astronomical cost and high prestige of spices, and thereby the reputation of the host, would have been effectively undone if wasted on cheap and poorly handled foods. The common method of grinding and mashing ingredients into pastes and the many potages and sauces has been used as an argument that most adults within the medieval nobility lost their teeth at an early age, and hence were forced to eat nothing but porridge, soup and ground-up meat.

The image of nobles gumming their way through multi-course meals of nothing but mush has lived side by side with the contradictory apparition of the "mob of uncouth louts disguised as noble lords who, when not actually hurling huge joints of greasy meat at one another across the banquet hall, are engaged in tearing at them with a perfectly healthy complement of incisors, canines, bicuspids and molars". The numerous descriptions of banquets from the later Middle Ages concentrated on the pageantry of the event rather than the minutiae of the food, which was not the same for most banqueters as those choice mets served at the high table.

Banquet dishes were apart from mainstream of cuisine, and have been described as "the outcome of grand banquets serving political ambition rather than gastronomy ; today as yesterday" by historian Maguelonne Toussant-Samat.

Cookbooks , or more specifically, recipe collections, compiled in the Middle Ages are among the most important historical sources for medieval cuisine. The first cookbooks began to appear towards the end of the 13th century. The Liber de coquina , perhaps originating near Naples , and the Tractatus de modo preparandi have found a modern editor in Marianne Mulon, and a cookbook from Assisi found at Châlons-sur-Marne has been edited by Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat.

Few in a kitchen, at those times, would have been able to read, and working texts have a low survival rate. The recipes were often brief and did not give precise quantities. Cooking times and temperatures were seldom specified since accurate portable clocks were not available and since all cooking was done with fire.

At best, cooking times could be specified as the time it took to say a certain number of prayers or how long it took to walk around a certain field.

Professional cooks were taught their trade through apprenticeship and practical training, working their way up in the highly defined kitchen hierarchy. A medieval cook employed in a large household would most likely have been able to plan and produce a meal without the help of recipes or written instruction. Due to the generally good condition of surviving manuscripts it has been proposed by food historian Terence Scully that they were records of household practices intended for the wealthy and literate master of a household, such as the Ménagier de Paris from the late 14th century.

Over 70 collections of medieval recipes survive today, written in several major European languages. The repertory of housekeeping instructions laid down by manuscripts like the Ménagier de Paris also include many details of overseeing correct preparations in the kitchen.

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