A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents
How to Cook Medieval


"Cooking oils were, then as now, quite common. They were of two sorts, animal and vegetable. Animal fats, particularly pork fat, rendered into oil or grease, were a staple as both ingredient and cooking medium. Normally these fats are simply called grease. Generally speaking, though, any mention of oil in a recipe is almost certainly a reference to olive oil, throughout the Middle Ages a customary alternative to animal oils and particularly on lean days. If the term oil is qualified, most usually the oil comes from some sort of nut, mostly walnut, sometimes hazel or filbert. Almond oil is certainly used as such, but it would likely be termed an 'almond milk' that has not been diluted with water or a meat broth, as was most usually done. Almond oil was rarely used as a frying medium, though very often foods are boiled in it or in almond milk."

Terence Scully, The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages, p. 83.

Oils List

Almond Oil

Animal Fat - beef, pork, poultry, etc.

Butter - used in northern France, England, & Flanders for cooking in some dishes instead of oil.

Filbert Oil

Olive Oil - used as the primary cooking oil in Italy, France, and the Hispanic Peninsula.

Poppy Oil - used as the primary cooking oil in Germany, Flanders, & other northern countries, where olive oil was scarce.

Walnut Oil

Cooking Methods for Oils

Foods are cooked, boiled, or fried in hot oil. For an example see: Bryndons, Frytour of Erbes, Chyches, Oyle soppes, etc.

Oil or fat is added to the food before cooking. In the case of adding fat to meat, this is often referred to as larding. For an example see the Medieval recipe for: Conyng; also see Mushroom Pasty.

Raw foods (especially vegetables) are tossed in oil, sometimes along with vinegar. For an example see: Salat.

Cooked foods are tossed in or garnished with oil. For an example see: Sprouts.

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A Boke of Gode CookeryHow to Cook Medieval
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