100 books like Culinary Recipes of Medieval England

By Constance Hieatt (translator),

Here are 100 books that Culinary Recipes of Medieval England fans have personally recommended if you like Culinary Recipes of Medieval England. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination

Andrew Jotischky Author Of A Hermit's Cookbook: Monks, Food and Fasting in the Middle Ages

From my list on food and drink in the Middle Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in medieval food and cookery combines two of my great passions in life, but I first started to become seriously interested in the combination when researching religious dietary ideas and practices. I am fascinated by the symbolic role played by food and drink in religious life, and by fasting and self-denial as part of a religious tradition, but also in the ways in which medieval communities feasted and how tastes in food and drink developed through trade and cultural exchange. I teach an undergraduate course on Feast, Fast, and Famine in the Middle Ages because questions about production, consumption, and sustainability are crucially important for us all.  

Andrew's book list on food and drink in the Middle Ages

Andrew Jotischky Why did Andrew love this book?

This is one of the books I wish I had written! Although it is a scholarly book based on the author’s research, it reads like a compellingly told story. It’s full of imaginative and vivid detail. Paul Freedman asks why there was such a high demand for spices in medieval Europe, examines the practicalities of trade and travel that enabled Europeans to acquire them, the ways they used them as commodities and the cultural meanings of taste and what changes in taste tell us about societal development. 

By Paul Freedman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Out of the East as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How medieval Europe's infatuation with expensive, fragrant, and exotic spices led to an era of colonial expansion and the discovery of new worlds

The demand for spices in medieval Europe was extravagant and was reflected in the pursuit of fashion, the formation of taste, and the growth of luxury trade. It inspired geographical and commercial exploration ,as traders pursued such common spices as pepper and cinnamon and rarer aromatic products, including ambergris and musk. Ultimately, the spice quest led to imperial missions that were to change world history.

This engaging book explores the demand for spices: why were they so…


Book cover of The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages

Andrew Jotischky Author Of A Hermit's Cookbook: Monks, Food and Fasting in the Middle Ages

From my list on food and drink in the Middle Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in medieval food and cookery combines two of my great passions in life, but I first started to become seriously interested in the combination when researching religious dietary ideas and practices. I am fascinated by the symbolic role played by food and drink in religious life, and by fasting and self-denial as part of a religious tradition, but also in the ways in which medieval communities feasted and how tastes in food and drink developed through trade and cultural exchange. I teach an undergraduate course on Feast, Fast, and Famine in the Middle Ages because questions about production, consumption, and sustainability are crucially important for us all.  

Andrew's book list on food and drink in the Middle Ages

Andrew Jotischky Why did Andrew love this book?

This is the best overall book on cooking, kitchens, and recipes in the Middle Ages. It is a compendium on everything to do with cookery as a practical art and the theory behind medieval ideas of health and nutrition. Scully argues convincingly that medieval cooks and cookery were more sophisticated and technical than we might think. The book is highly readable as well as being authoritative and comprehensive, and uses extensive passages from the writings of medieval cookery authors. 

By Terence Scully,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The master cook who worked in the noble kitchens of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries had to be both practical and knowledgeable. His apprenticeship acquainted him with a range of culinary skills and a wide repertoireof seasonal dishes, but he was also required to understand the inherent qualities of the foodstuffs he handled, as determined by contemporary medical theories, and to know the lean-day strictures of the Church. Research in original manuscript sources makes this a fascinating and authoritative study where little hard fact had previously existed.


Book cover of The Cookbook that Changed the World: The Origins of Modern Cuisine

Andrew Jotischky Author Of A Hermit's Cookbook: Monks, Food and Fasting in the Middle Ages

From my list on food and drink in the Middle Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in medieval food and cookery combines two of my great passions in life, but I first started to become seriously interested in the combination when researching religious dietary ideas and practices. I am fascinated by the symbolic role played by food and drink in religious life, and by fasting and self-denial as part of a religious tradition, but also in the ways in which medieval communities feasted and how tastes in food and drink developed through trade and cultural exchange. I teach an undergraduate course on Feast, Fast, and Famine in the Middle Ages because questions about production, consumption, and sustainability are crucially important for us all.  

Andrew's book list on food and drink in the Middle Ages

Andrew Jotischky Why did Andrew love this book?

This book is about the early modern cooking revolution. Basing her investigation on a ground-breaking recipe book from 1651, Peterson examines the fundamental shift in European food tastes from the medieval preference for fragrant, heavily spiced dishes that combined sweet and savoury to the salt-acid followed by sweet that forms the basis of modern European cookery. This book was not written for an academic audience, so although it is well-informed it is not a demanding read for non-experts. The book contains a few recipes that are worth trying, and as a whole it’s a colourful and compelling story.

By T. Sarah Peterson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cookbook that Changed the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1651 in Paris, the unknown cook, Francois Pierre de la Varenne published "Le Cuisinier Francois", and changed the course of culinary history. This book aims to reconstruct the seventeenth-century revolution in French cooking that explains why we eat as we do. It reveals how Varenne turned out to be the father of modern cuisine.


Book cover of Tastes of Byzantium: The Cuisine of a Legendary Empire

Andrew Jotischky Author Of A Hermit's Cookbook: Monks, Food and Fasting in the Middle Ages

From my list on food and drink in the Middle Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in medieval food and cookery combines two of my great passions in life, but I first started to become seriously interested in the combination when researching religious dietary ideas and practices. I am fascinated by the symbolic role played by food and drink in religious life, and by fasting and self-denial as part of a religious tradition, but also in the ways in which medieval communities feasted and how tastes in food and drink developed through trade and cultural exchange. I teach an undergraduate course on Feast, Fast, and Famine in the Middle Ages because questions about production, consumption, and sustainability are crucially important for us all.  

Andrew's book list on food and drink in the Middle Ages

Andrew Jotischky Why did Andrew love this book?

Food and drink in the Byzantine Empire is not a well-researched topic, and Andrew Dalby has been a pioneer in bringing to life a lost culinary culture. In remarkable detail, he shows what was eaten at the imperial court, in ordinary homes, and in monasteries, and how it was cooked. Dalby describes the sights and smells of Constantinople and its marketplaces, uses travellers' tales and other original sources to paint a comprehensive picture of the recipes and customs of the empire, and their relationship to health and the seasons, love, and medicine. 

By Andrew Dalby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tastes of Byzantium as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For centuries, the food and culinary delights of the Byzantine empire - centred on Constantinople - have captivated the west, although it appeared that very little information had been passed down to us. Tastes of Byzantium now reveals in astonishing detail, for the first time, what was eaten in the court of the Eastern Roman Empire - and how it was cooked. Fusing the spices of the Romans with the seafood and simple local food of the Aegean and Greek world, the cuisine of the Byzantines was unique and a precursor to much of the food of modern Turkey and…


Book cover of A Guide to Western Historical Scripts from Antiquity to 1600

Hope Carolle Author Of The Veil Between Worlds

From my list on surviving and thriving in Medieval England.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved books where the main character goes from his/her own ordinary existence into another world, with inspiration from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, who was a tutor in English Literature. Since I love history, there’s nothing more fun for me than historical time travel, and I wonder how difficult it might be for a modern woman or man, well-versed in the history and literature of the time, to navigate the customs, etiquette, language, clothing, and politics in 1344. 

Hope's book list on surviving and thriving in Medieval England

Hope Carolle Why did Hope love this book?

If you’re going to visit the Middle Ages, it’s hugely important to understand the scripts of the time. You might be able to pick out a word or two, but most of it looks as difficult to read as hieroglyphics.

This is a useful book outlining the development of different scripts, tools, material, illustrations, and production of these rare books. In my book, Ellie Hartford is a professor of English Literature before 1525, and one of her skill sets was paleography, which identifies the source of the script and aids in understanding its origins. This is nerdy stuff, but fun! 

By Michelle P. Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Guide to Western Historical Scripts from Antiquity to 1600 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For readers who wish to trace the evolution of scripts in the West from antiquity to the early modern period, and who want to read the work of their scribes, this volume provides a wide-ranging collection of materials supported by 55 full-page illustrations from manuscripts. Brown provides a synopsis of each of the major phases of development, a bibliography at the beginning of each section, and comments on regional and chronological diffusion where appropriate. Each plate is accompanied by a facing page of commentary giving a brief description of the manuscript and its script, followed by a transcription of the…


Book cover of Women in the Medieval English Countryside: Gender and Household in Brigstock before the Plague

Justine Firnhaber-Baker Author Of The Jacquerie of 1358: A French Peasants' Revolt

From my list on medieval peasants.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am professor of medieval history at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. As a PhD student, I was electrified by the historian E. P. Thompson’s call to rescue the masses ‘from the enormous condescension of posterity’, but it’s often only when peasants revolt, as they did outside Paris in 1358, that we get much evidence about the masses in the Middle Ages. I loved writing The Jacquerie of 1358 because it allowed me to get very close to the men (and a few women) who risked everything to make their society a more just and equal one. It was a privilege, and a pleasure, to tell their story.

Justine's book list on medieval peasants

Justine Firnhaber-Baker Why did Justine love this book?

It’s a real frustration of mine that so much historical writing pays little or no attention to women, even though they made up half the population.

However ‘important’ whatever the men were doing was, they couldn’t have done it without women. There’s more written on elite medieval women—queens, noblewomen, abbesses, etc.—than there used to be, but peasant women remain mostly neglected.

I like Bennett’s book not only because she pays attention to village women but also because it doesn’t sugarcoat the story. Peasant women could do many things in medieval England, like owning property, going to court, and running businesses, but their options were sharply curtailed by male domination.

As Bennett puts it, "Insofar as these women had choices about their lives, the choices were always poor ones." 

By Judith M. Bennett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women in the Medieval English Countryside as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this book, Judith Bennett addresses the gap in our knowledge of medieval country women by examining how their lives differed from those of rural men. Drawing on her study of an English manor in the early-fourteenth century, she finds that rural women were severely restricted in their public roles and rights primarily because of their household status as dependents of their husbands, rather than because of a notion of female inferiority. Adolescent women and
widows, by virtue of their unmarried status, enjoyed greater legal and public freedom than did their married counterparts.


Book cover of Gentry Culture in Late Medieval England

ffiona Perigrinor Author Of Life in a Medieval Gentry Household: Alice de Bryene of Acton Hall, Suffolk, C.1360-1435

From my list on medieval life and widows who prefer independence to remarriage.

Why am I passionate about this?

I didn’t enjoy my first degree in Modern History and Political Science and it took twenty-five years and another MA in Women’s History, Gender, and Society, before my enthusiasm was rekindled. I’ve always believed it’s important to know where we come from, as well as the history of our country, and I don’t just mean wars, laws, and politics – but the lives of ordinary people, men, women, and children, because finally, we discover that our hopes, aspirations, and challenges are not so very different to the people who lived 500 years ago. I’m also passionate about the reality of women’s lived experience in all periods of history.

ffiona's book list on medieval life and widows who prefer independence to remarriage

ffiona Perigrinor Why did ffiona love this book?

I found this study of gentry culture, with essays on political influence, education, social networks, religious activities, and the display of ‘gentility,’ a useful guide to a social class that was evolving in the period of my research. It also helped me understand why Dame Alice was so successful in running her own household and did not remarry – she was secure in the knowledge that she could exercise power and influence as an independent woman. Many of the other books I read about medieval households focused on the aristocracy, their sumptuous lifestyles, lavish entertainment, ostentatious festivities, opulent recreations, and itinerant households, but were not relevant to the subject of my book about a sedentary fifty-year-old widowed gentlewoman running her estates and giving hospitality to her neighbours and agricultural workers.

By Raluca Radulescu (editor), Alison Truelove (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gentry Culture in Late Medieval England as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Essays in this fascinating and important collection examine the lifestyles and attitudes of the gentry in late medieval England. They consider the emergence of the gentry as a group distinct from the nobility, and explore the various available routes to gentility. Through surveys of the gentry's military background, administrative and political roles, social behaviour, and education, the reader is provided with an overview of how the group's culture evolved, and how it was disseminated. Studies of the gentry's literacy, creation and use of literature, cultural networks, religious activities and their experiences of music and the visual arts more directly address…


Book cover of Shakespeare's Kings: The Great Plays and the History of England in the Middle Ages: 1337-1485

Stephen Kinzer Author Of The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War

From my list on to understand Shakespeare and his times.

Why am I passionate about this?

My book is about political intrigue, violence, war, heroes and villains, libels and dreams, secret plots to overthrow governments, and murders most foul. It unfolds during a tense era of cultural upheaval and radical social change. A lifetime immersed in the works of Shakespeare helped prepare me to write it. I spent more than 20 years working for the New York Times, most of it as a foreign correspondent. My foreign postings placed me at the center of historic events and, at times, in the line of fire.

Stephen's book list on to understand Shakespeare and his times

Stephen Kinzer Why did Stephen love this book?

Shakespeare’s magnificent history plays have been described as “a feast of Henrys and Richards.” Who were those kings in real life? This book tells their true stories, and compares those stories to what Shakespeare wrote about them. Turns out he stuck pretty close to history!

By John Julius Norwich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shakespeare's Kings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Synopsis coming soon.......


Book cover of Furta Sacra: Thefts of Relics in the Central Middle Ages

John Tolan Author Of Faces of Muhammad: Western Perceptions of the Prophet of Islam from the Middle Ages to Today

From my list on making you realize you don’t know what religion is.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the 1980s, I was living in Spain, teaching high school. On weekends and vacations, I traveled throughout the country, fascinated with the remnants of its flourishing medieval civilization, where Jews, Christians, and Muslims mingled. When I later became a historian, I focused on the rich history of Jewish-Christian-Muslim contact in Spain and throughout the Mediterranean. I also wanted to understand conflict and prejudice, particularly the historical roots of antisemitism and islamophobia in Europe. I have increasingly realized that classical religious texts need to be reread and contextualized and that we need to rethink our ideas about religion and religious conflict.

John's book list on making you realize you don’t know what religion is

John Tolan Why did John love this book?

In the US, when we think about Christianity, we tend not to think much about saints and when we do, they are at best a sort of role model for piety, an antiquated cast of characters in the history of religion. But to early Christians, saints were powerful patrons. The earliest saints were the martyrs put to death by the pagan Roman state: thrown to the lions, massacred by gladiators, executed at the orders of Roman officials. These saints’ bodies and tombs became objects of veneration, purported to produce miracles. In the middle ages, as Christianity became the dominant force in Europe, everyone wanted to benefit from the proximity to these holy men and women. But if you lived in Northern Europe, you didn’t have access to the hundreds of saintly bodies buried in Spain, Italy, or Provence. What to do? Buy them or steal them! In this fascinating book,…

By Patrick J. Geary,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Furta Sacra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To obtain sacred relics, medieval monks plundered tombs, avaricious merchants raided churches, and relic-mongers scoured the Roman catacombs. In a revised edition of Furta Sacra, Patrick Geary considers the social and cultural context for these acts, asking how the relics were perceived and why the thefts met with the approval of medieval Christians.


Book cover of Christian Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas

Richard E. Rubenstein Author Of Aristotle's Children: How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Middle Ages

From my list on religion, love, and science in the Middle Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of conflict resolution at George Mason University and have been working for years trying to understand the causes of and methods of resolving religious conflicts. I studied the Middle Ages thinking that I’d find a story about Catholic fundamentalists persecuting innovative thinkers like Copernicus and Galileo. Instead, I found a story about religious leaders such as Pope Innocent III, Peter Abelard, and Thomas Aquinas borrowing ideas from the Greeks, Muslims, and Jews, revolutionizing Catholic thought, and opening the door to modern ideas about the power of reason and the need for compassion. What a trip!            

Richard's book list on religion, love, and science in the Middle Ages

Richard E. Rubenstein Why did Richard love this book?

Etienne Gilson was the leading intellectual historian of the medieval Church in France, and this is the clearest, most lucid exposition of St. Thomas Aquinas’s thinking that I have read. Perhaps because the Roman Catholic Church has often used Aquinas’s thinking to justify conservative positions, we often forget that he was a world-class genius who radicalized religious and ethical thought in the Middle Ages, and whose work helped inspire later movements of reform like the Vatican II Council. Gilson’s sympathetic treatment of Aquinas restored this understanding of his thinking and helped produce the modern neo-Thomist movement. It is worth reading – and it is readable!

By Etienne Gilson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Christian Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this final edition of his classic study of St. Thomas Aquinas, Etienne Gilson presents the sweeping range and organic unity of Thomistic philosophical thought. The philosophical thinking of Aquinas is the result of reason being challenged to relate to many theological conceptions of the Christian tradition. Gilson carefully reviews how Aquinas grapples with the relation itself of faith and reason and continuing through the existence and nature of God and His creation, the world and its creatures, especially human beings with their power of intellect, will, and moral life. He concludes this study by discussing the life of people…


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