15th Century Food

Ahhh. Food. One of my favorite subjects! If you saw me you wouldn’t be surprised. I am blessed with a well-rounded personality. When I am reenacting history I try to live every aspect of the times as if I was there. That includes food. Some things haven’t changed much since the 15th century, other things have. One of the staple foods of northern European peoples was pottage. Pottage was a soup or stew made with some form of meat (rabbit, fish, pork, chicken,etc.) thickened with oatmeal, cabbage, peas, onions and other vegetables known as “pot herbs”. Salads were not commonly consumed and the veggies like onions, cabbage, lettuce, carrots and others were seen as fit only for filling out the pot. Garlic, basil, and other herbs could be added for flavor in addition to salt. Below is a favorite ham pottage recipe of mine. Try it and I hope you enjoy!

Recipe: Ham Pottage


  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of ham, cut into bite size chunks
  • 1 medium cabbage, ripped into big chunks
  • 4 medium rutabagas, diced
  • 4 -5 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups of dry oatmeal
  • basil, salt, pepper, garlic, and thyme to taste
  • 3.5 quarts water with ham base added

In a large pot (at least 6 qt.) cook the ham in the water and base to directions or at least one hour over med-high heat. Lower to medium heat and add onion, carrots, rutabagas and spices. Cook for at least 30 minutes before adding cabbage and oatmeal. Continue cooking over medium low heat for at least 30 more minutes. The longer it cooks, the better it tastes. Serve hot with thick slabs of wheat, rye, or oatmeal bread. Serves at least 5 hungry adults.

0 thoughts on “15th Century Food

  1. A wonderful recipe! I will have to try it.
    The pottage dishes were especially used by those lower in society because it was less expensive and could feed many people easily. Am I correct? But do you have any recipies of the favorite cuisine of the noble classes?

  2. You are partially correct, but it seems that pottage was eaten by high and low alike. Those higher up on the social scale, having more money and resources, could afford better quality and quantity of ingredients in their pottage. It seemed to be a fairly universal dish, at least in western Europe, and was made with an endless variety of ingredients. There doesn’t seem to be a “standard” pottage recipe. As far as the victuals of the wealthy, yes indeed there are many recipes out there. I’ll be posting some of those in the near future. Some of the dishes of the rich, particularly for feasts, were incredible in their preparation and presentation.

  3. When i first think of the recipe, it sounds not that great.
    But back in the Tudor time it would have been a great dish! 🙂
    I will try this and see if I like it.
    I can tell all my friends I ate food from the Tudor period.

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