Mustard was much used by the Romans and later was very popular with the Anglo Saxons. It grew locally and so was cheap. It could be used to makes sauces for meat and fish as well as dressings for salads. It helped to preserve other foods as well as having healthy properties of its own.
The sauces were generally made from a mixture of ground mustard seeds, vinegar, wine and often honey, with spices or other flavourings added according to what people liked.
They could then be stored for several weeks. Mustard’s ‘hotness’ gets less after it is mixed and kept for a few days, which may account for the strength of the sauces often made – which would be much too hot for most of us today.
The guy who runs The Medieval Vegan writes: Lent is a great opportunity for the The Medieval Vegan since it was a time of fasting and so the foods eaten are a lot closer to what I’ve been cooking. Of course the medieval Christian would still count fish (and sometimes any meat that they made to look like fish) but even so there are a number of recipes that are truly vegan.
A recipe from the Elizabethian Era found on CookIt
Meat stews formed part of the diet of many households. This rich, meaty version reflects an upper class dish, both due to the quantity of meat and the inclusion of mace. Note the French title, reflecting the Norman influence over England. Poorer households would not use any imported spices and would bulk out a small amount of meat with plenty of vegetables and grains.
Some people suggest the dish’s original name ‘Hericot de Mouton’ comes from the word halicoter, to cut up. On the other hand, some versions of this dish use a type of turnips called haricot. Lamb will not need parboiling but mutton would require parboiling to tenderise the meat.
Anje who runs Kitchen History writes: This recipe comes from a book called Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, which was published in 1888. This book contains recipes which were copied from manuscripts in the British Museum, so even though the recipes come from a book published in the late nineteenth century, they are still written in Middle English. This recipe for “Rys” is taken from the manuscript Harleian MS. 279. I’ve seen dates ranging from circa 1420 to 1439, so I just went with the earliest one.