Anglo-Saxon Food and Drink: Production, Processing, Distribution and Consumption

by Ann Hagen

Hardcover, 2006



Call number




Anglo-Saxon Books (2006), Hardcover, 544 pages


Oxbow says: This synthesis of primary and secondary sources, both literary and archaeological, on the subject of Anglo-Saxon food and drink, brings together a vast amount of data and authoritative discussion on a broad range of subjects. Ann Hagen stears away from drawing heavily on recipes as a means of revealing the types of foods, food choices and preferences in this period, to focus on the growing and harvesting of domestic and wild foods, preserving, food preparation and eating. Cereals, vegetables, herbs, fruit and nuts, cattle, sheep, goats and pigs, poultry and eggs, wild animals and birds, honey, fish and molluscs, are just some of the food types discussed. Within each section Ann Hagen delves deeper to consider such subjects as the methods of harvesting and processing food, hunting and animal husbandry, attitudes towards particular types of food, accessibility to foods, diet, food shortages, diseases and what foods were considered everyday and which were reserved for special occasions. Food as payment for rents or services rendered, markets, measures, fasting and feasting, are also discussed in detail. Moving on to drink, Ann Hagen examines the types of drinks available, the context in which they were consumed - domestic, religious and in the alehouse - and the prevalence of drunkenness. In her conclusion, she draws together the evidence to reveal changes in food production and preferences from the early 5th to 11th century, drawing largely on sources from Anglo-Saxon England and the Celtic West of Britain. The role of women, the importance of bread, the social status of feasting, nutrition and changes in diet, and table manners, are just some of the many subjects covered. An excellent study and great value for money.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member LibrarianFu
This is a wonderful source for information on what is known about available food sources and cooking methods of the Anglo-Saxons before the Norman invasion. There are no or just a couple of extant recipes from this culture and period. There are leechcraft books for medicines, but for food we are
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left with working with what could have been. I believe An Ordinance of Pottage is a reasonable echo of the recipes that were used.
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Physical description

544 p.; 10.9 inches


1898281416 / 9781898281412
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