Some suggestions for the “I can’t cook!” crowd. Note, not perfectly period, but “peri-oid”! Close enough to keep the atmosphere, but not all that documentable. There’s even a gallery of “inspiration photos” at the bottom!

Medieval Foods to buy, ready-to-go or just heat

Meats/Main dishes

  • Turkey (pre-cooked from deli, ask for thick-sliced)
  • Ham (ditto)
  • Roast beef (ditto)
  • Pickled Herring in wine or sour cream
  • Cheese Pastry (if you have a good bakery)
  • Roasted chickens (deli-roasted, please don’t do fried chicken)
  • Rotisserie chicken
  • pre-cooked ham
  • smoked fish
  • sausages and mustard
  • canned ham
  • summer sausage, pepperoni, canadian bacon , salami and other cured meats
  • Soup from a box or can. Beef and Barley type or blended squash soups are actually really close to period recipes. Avoid ones with lots of potato and tomato in them.
  • canned stew (Any commercial stew that does not include tomatoes)


  • Salad mix with oil and vinegar dressing
  • buy them cut up in a party tray from the supermarket and plate.
  • Any salad that has no cream dressing or pasta in it.


  • Antipasti/ nibbles of all sorts are welcome, and easy to find at deli bars. Try olives, pickles of all kinds, cold veggies (carrots etc)
  • cheeses (cheddar/mozz/brie/gouda/feta are all good choices)
  • olives
  • nuts
  • hard boiled eggs
  • hummus and vegetables
  • pickled mushrooms
  • pickled vegetables (check the New World / Old World lists)
  • pâté
  • hummus

Sweets & Desserts

  • candied ginger
  • shortbread cookies
  • yogurt with honey
  • marzipan / almond paste
  • Fruit Tarts
  • candied nuts
  • baklava
  • candied orange peels
  • quince paste (sold as “membrillo”)
  • fruit and nut “cake” (Spanish “Pan de Orejon”)
  • butter wafer cookies (Trader Joe’s has these)
  • tiny fruit tarts

Fruits (fresh or dried)

  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Peaches
  • Apricots
  • Any of the above in syrup
  • Tomatoes (yes, really, although very late period)
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Fruits in season from plums to berries to apples
  • Dried currants
  • dates
  • figs – fresh, dried or as jam


  • lemon/lime/orange water
  • mint water
  • Coffee (sortof, “Turkish” coffee….very, very strong, and small cups)
  • chamomile tea
  • borage tea
  • sage tea
  • rose tea with lemon
  • wines (water them….)
  • mead (of course)
  • beer (go for unfiltered and craft beers, not Bud)
  • cordials

Breads – Look for round loaves, buns, rolls (but not dinner rolls) baguettes, sourdoughs, or pita bread! Go nuts!

…and butter – Plain, or into 1 pound stir – honey (½ cup) Herb (stir in1 tbsp dry) Garlic (2 tsp or for garlic lovers 2 tbsp), Italian (1 pkt salad dressing mix) or just go nuts

Hot deli foods

  • Rotisserie chicken!
  • Anything fried in a breaded crust for photos, only. With the crust on they look just like fried dumplings or something.

Medieval Foods to buy, assemble, or easy cooking

  • Frumenty – 1/2 cup wheat berries, 1 cup broth, almond milk or juice, 20 minutes in the microwave.
  • Pasta (cheese ravioli, egg noodles, etc.) with butter and cheese
  • pre-cooked meatballs (especially with a simple medieval sauce like any of the ones based on vinegar, spices, and bread crumbs)
  • Rice-a-roni good sub for pilaf.
  • Cornish Game Hens and up to 7 pound chickens (easy to oven roast, cook in bag or in a covered pan with one cup of water, one onion, one stick butter and salt 20 minutes per pound. Start breast down and turn right-side-up after 2/3 of the cooking time.)
  • Frozen boneless skinless chicken parts (arrange in a pan with a lid, sprinkle with salt & dill, add 1 cup water. Bake at 350, 20 minutes per pound.
  • Baked garlic – Slice off top of bulb. Cut open each pocket. Pour 1 tsp olive oil over. Bake at 350 until soft. Serve with bread and a small knife to pry out and spread.
  • Buy a bag of pre-peeled 3-color carrots (organic section) You can either boil them until done and serve topped with butter, or roast in a covered casserole in the oven, ditto.
  • Bean Salad with Artichokes or Mushrooms (1 can each, mix, stand overnight)
  • A couple of packages of dried fruit, a box of raisins, and a few cups of brandy or apricot liqueur makes a hell of a dessert… (mix let stand overnight)
  • Sweet potatoes/yams (cook like baked potatoes, drizzle with butter)
  • pilaf (the golden saffron rice dish)
  • Cream Herb Soups (cream of chicken, chicken bouillon or cream of leek soup). Add a little wine, mix into cooked barley, cracked wheat, rice.
  • Rice – Minute rice, follow the directions and then add 1 TBSP fresh herbs and 1 TBSP butter per cup.
  • Sausage Pie – Purchased crust, 1 pound breakfast sausage (chopped up) fried with one chopped onion. Pour into crust, bake until crust is done.
  • Filled Loaves (or heads of cabbage)
    • canned stew heated with sour cream stirred in
    • spiced ground beef and rice mix
    • sauced vegetables
  • Filled Pockets – refrigerator biscuits or frozen bread dough with just about anything melty (cheese) or dry (Sausage)
  • Filled Cake – Fruitcake (drained fruit in a box mix)
  • Flat Bread: Using thawed frozen dough, make a pizza crust. Instead of tomato sauce, pour olive oil all over, sprinkle with Italian herbs, and bake per directions Or, sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, caraway, or dill.
  • Pease porridge – 2 to 3 cans of Campbell’s split pea soup- garnish with carrots or bits of bacon or ham.
  • “Quick Cookies” Use refrigerator cookies – particularly sugar cookies
  • Quick Sauces: Choose a good package mix (such as Knorr’s) and dilute with cream, halt-and-half, or wine (depending on use) and mix. It’s a good way to really dress up plain chicken or vegetables. Also, dilute a basic sauce with clam nectar or bouillon and top buttered noodles. Pasta is period but go for the egg noodles or the more exotic shapes rather than spaghetti or elbow macaroni.
  • Stew from a can. Avoid potatoes and tomatoes.
  • Roast meats of all kinds – heat in a crock-pot in the afternoon and it will be warm and yummy by feast time. For that matter, any sort of pot roast type thing would be most welcome too!
  • If bringing cold roast, think of what you might want with it- horseradish, mustard etc- that would make it even tastier.
  • Side dishes are easy to make on site if you have a rice cooker. Make a nice pot of rice or barley (pearly barley works well in a rice cooker!). If you want to be fancy, put a bouillon cube or a packet of onion soup mix in with your water and mix it up before adding to the cooker. Or add some cut onion, or a small tin of beans.
  • Vegetables can be served steamed (truly easy if you have a steamer/rice cooker type thing)
  • Savoury Pies and Quiche type pies are easy to make or buy, and will give the vegetarians some protein too. They can be served hot or cold depending on the facilities
  • Desserts could be a sweet pie (fruit or other), or even cheesecake (yes, it is period, though the period ones were usually in a regular crust. Cookies are fun too, shortbreads and gingerbreads are good.

Crock-pot-ables (ask Anja for recipes or see our cookbooks)

  • Beans
  • Baked Onions and Onion Rice/Barley
  • Lentils
  • Bashed Neeps (any combination of mashed non-green vegetables, but most particularly carrots and turnips (see if you can find white or purple carrots, they’re more period and add a lot to the dish)
  • Potroasts – add a cup of red wine to a roast with a ¼’d onion, a peeled chopped turnip and some carrots and a handful of barley. Salt to taste.
  • Any porridge/pottage

Inspiration photos!

divider black grey greek key
moving writing pen motif

In ministerio autem Somnium! Anja, graeca doctrina servus to House Capuchin
Page Created & published 2/7/22 (C)M. Bartlett
Last updated 2/7/22