Weird and Gross Foods That People Actually Ate During the Middle Ages

Ah, the Middle Ages—a time of knights, castles, and some seriously strange food! As you can imagine, our culinary tastes have changed dramatically over time. And that’s painfully obvious if you take a look at what people used to eat back in time. To give you an idea of what we’re talking about, let’s embark on a culinary journey back in time and explore the weird and gross foods that people actually indulged in during this fascinating period of history.

Cockentrice

Picture this: a creature that’s part pig, part chicken, and entirely bizarre. That’s the cockentrice, a culinary concoction straight out of a medieval fever dream. It’s like someone took a pig and a chicken, did some culinary Frankenstein magic, and voila—dinner is served! Or to be precise — that’s exactly what it was. Cockentrice is basically the combination of a pig’s upper body sewn onto the bottom half of a capon or turkey. In some cases, the front end (head and torso) of the poultry is sewn to the rump of the pig to not waste the other half. Imagine sitting down to a feast and being greeted by this monstrous dish as the centerpiece. I would lose my appetite immediately.

You can find a really fun photo of this here!

Garum

Forget about truffles and caviar—medieval foodies had their own version of luxury, and it came in the form of garum. This unique fish sauce was the condiment of choice for adding a punch of flavor to dishes. How was it made? By fermenting fish guts in brine for months until they reach peak pungency. Sound appetizing? Maybe not to us, but medieval taste buds couldn’t get enough of this savory sensation. And then we wonder why the life expectancy of people back then was so short. I would probably die just from the smell of this thing.

Roasted Swan

When it comes to showing off your wealth and status, nothing says “I’m fancy” quite like a roasted swan. These majestic birds were not only admired for their beauty but also prized for their meat. Nowadays, I can’t imagine that anyone would be willing to eat swan meat. However, back then this was the feast of the rich and powerful. An innocent swan would be plucked, roasted whole, and served as the pièce de résistance at a lavish medieval banquet. It’s a feast fit for a king—or at least, a king’s table.

Black Pudding

weird-foods-black-pudding-main

Let’s talk about black pudding—also known as blood sausage or blood pudding. Now, before you wrinkle your nose in disgust, hear us out. This hearty delicacy was a staple in medieval kitchens, made from—you guessed it—animal blood, fat, and grains. Sure, it may not sound appetizing, but when seasoned with spices and herbs and cooked to crispy perfection, it was a savory sensation that kept medieval bellies full and happy. Was it also a great way to spread parasites and other diseases? Probably. But luckily, people back then were completely oblivious, and they strongly believed that disease resulted from sins of the soul.

Kanita is a wanderlust-fueled traveler with an inclination for unraveling the mysteries of history, the paranormal, and the bizarre world of medicine. As a true crime buff, Kanita's nights are often spent delving into the depths of chilling mysteries. Yet, it's not just the paranormal that captivates her—her background in medicine fuels a fascination with the weird and wonderful world of medical oddities, from twisted historical practices to the myths and legends that shroud the field. From exploring haunted locales to uncovering the strange and morbid tales of medical history, Kanita is your guide to the unconventional, the unexplained, and the downright eerie.

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