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.