Renaissance food was very reflective of the era itself. The dishes that were prepared during this era were prepared to please both the eye and stomach. Some of the many food that the people of the renaissance cooked were: soups, roasts, salads, cheese, pastas, pastries, and many side dishes. This shows that during the renaissance era the people cared about food very much.
The history behind the early renaissance food is largely related to the leftovers of the Middle Ages. However, there was a transition when the Americas were discovered in 1492 by Christopher Columbus. Soon new foods were migrated into the Renaissance kitchens. Some of the crops that were new to the Renaissance people were the potato and corn. These foods revolutionized Renaissance farming.
During the Renaissance era, feast were popular for special occasions; such as weddings, or around the holidays. Some of the foods that were often part of these feast were soups, roasts, salads, cheese, pastas, pastries, and side dishes. These feasts often included several courses and many desserts.
The soups were often very rich and were often several were served at the same time. The soups were cooked to please both the stomach and the eye. To do so they often made the soups with many colors, sweetened it with sugar, and sprinkles it with pomegranate seeds and aromatic herbs. They soups of this time were thought of to be “sweets”. One of the descriptions given by Taillevent, head cook of Charles VII, described a soup that mainly consisted of bread, sugar, white wine, yolk of egg, and rosewater. This shows that the soups of this time period were often very sweet.
An important part of the Renaissance meal were the roasts. The most common type of roast was the sirloin of beef. The way in which they cooked the roast were to first boil the meats and then the roasts was cooked with orange juices and rosewater, and covered with sugar and many spices. The roast was then cooked. The roast of this time were very complex in the sense that there was many ingredients that were put into the recipe to ensure a good tasting roast.
The people of this time period accepted the custom of serving the salads after the roast. However, the salads were never brought to the table in its natural state. The salads were similar to the salads of today in the sense that it consisted of raw herbs and had some sort of dressing. However, the salads of this time also included several other mixtures, such as: cooked vegetables, and the crests, livers, or brains of poultry. Near the salads in the order of the courses in a dinner were often eggs prepared in various ways.
Another aspect of a Renaissance feast and diet would include cheese. These cheese came from many places in France. They also ate cheese from Europe.
The Renaissance in a sense is Italian in the first place. Therefore it would not be Renaissance food without a variety of pastas. Some of these pastas included: semolina, vermicelli, and macaroni. They were called Italian food because they originated from Italy in France. The pastas were first introduced the Renaissance after the expedition of Charles VIII into Italy, and the conquest of Naples.
Pastries were another aspect of the Renaissance food. They were often a sweet and savory pastry. These included different sorts of tarts and meat pies. Ancient pastries received the name of tarte, from the Latin tortsa, a large hunch of bread. This name, however, was afterwards exclusively used for hot pies.
Side-dishes were also part of the food in the Renaissance period. They mainly consisted of: a variety of pastas, covered pastry, Bourconnaise pastry, double-faced pastry, pear pastry, and apple pastry, and white pastry with elder flowers, rice, roses or chestnuts.
During this era many seasonings were used to season the food,. Some of these seasonings include: rejoice, herbs, and flowers. When the rejoice was mixed with vinegar it formed the basis for many of the sauces. The spices were often added to add flavor to the dishes.
Overall to the people of the Renaissance cared about food greatly and created great feast. They created works of art that were carefully prepared to please both the eyes and the stomach.