How to set the table in the Middles Ages. Guest wash their hands before setting to a table, always covered with a white cloth. The table is dressed upon a board and trestles, a custom adapted to the itinerant life ot the courts and in the indifferent use of the rooms in the house...The "longiere" (strip ot table-linen) both long and narrow, by the side ot the table enables to wipe one's hands and mouth. The guests eat wtiht their fingers, but only with the first three fingers of the right hand. Servants offer ewers, basins and serviettes. Only the richer possess their knife, their spoon and their gobelet. The bowl to eat soup or the board or trencher for the meats are often shared between two guests. Gold or silver plates are extremely rare as well as glasses. The service is strict to the rules, under the supervision of the butler. The pantler who has set the table and fixed the nef, prepares the bread-trenchers and brings the salt. The cup-bearer is in charge of the wine that he blends with water. The fruiterer serves dry plums and nuts. On the occasion of banquet, the head table is isolated by a canopy. The activity of the servants is runby the butler. At the buffet, next to the lord, the "mouth officers"must be ready to satisfy the least request of his. Musicians play during the meal and sound every take-over.
Times of the meals. In the Middle Ages, people have two meals a day. Our present lunch is called "Dinner". They have it between 10 and 11 a.m while supper is had according to the case between 4 and 7 p.m. The peasants may a lunch (our present breakfast) at dawn delaying the time of dinner. The times depend upon the works in the fields.
The kitchen is both the center of a peasant's house and the fire-place. Set in the main room, open onto the ground,it is used to provide heat and light : furthermore, it is a place where to prepare the meals. In lords of prince's houses, the kitchen is separated from the room where people eat: it lies either beneath or, more frequently in buildings separated from the rest of the dwelling. Amoung the basic equipement ot the kitchen can be found caldrons, pots and pans and the iron pan corresponding to the three types of cooking: cooking, booling, braising and frying. Grills and grids appear only in urban sites and castles.
Links : medieval banquet in the castle of Cherveux