An Anglo-Saxon Menu

International Recipes


I know what you are thinking: large chunks of roasted meat, oozing grease, and eaten with your bare hands. Not quite. Actually, the Anglo-Saxon recipes I got to cook were all pretty sophisticated and rather good. So much that you have to wonder whether English food reached its peak before the Norman conquest (stay tuned, we'll try English food from other periods in future months).

All the recipes I cooked came from the British Museum Cookbook; as far as I know this is the only source of Anglo-Saxon recipes in existence. The recipes are not original, none have survived, rather they were created by food writer and historian Michelle Berriedale-Johnson. She looked at what ingredients were available in East Anglia at the time, and what cooking methods were known to and used by the Anglo-Saxons, and created the type of recipes that they might have eaten. She took some liberties, of course, and many of the raw ingredients have changed dramatically in the last few centuries - but even if the recipes are not authentic, it was fun making them.

The menu I served is below. I started with bread and butter, both of which would have been available during Anglo-Saxon times, even if the bread would have tasted quite different. For drinks, I served juices and herbal teas, which were also available at the time. You can also serve ale, milk, mead (if you can find it) and even wine - the Anglo-Saxons imported it. I changed the names of some of the recipes to indicate the ingredients I actually used.

The menu I served consisted of:

  • Bread & butter
  • Griddled Trout with Herbs
  • Quail & Bacon Stew with Walnuts
  • Berry, Honey & Hazelnut Crumble
  • Pear & Apple Juice, herbal tea.

    Anglo-Saxon Food Links