Fall of the Western Roman Empire under blows of barbarous tribes has marked itself the end of classical antiquity. There has come the Middle Ages era. In the countries of Europe the feudal system has begun to develop. In social conditions, in the way of life of people there were huge changes. In the early Middle Ages the village dominates over the city, and the main figure - the producer of material benefits - there is peasant. Conditions of his life were hard. The low technological level defined low labor productivity. Trade has been developed extremely poorly - the peasant provided himself only with products of subsistence economy. Periodically epidemics, hunger raged. The rural toiler suffered from infinite feudal intestine wars and from cruel operation. Quite primitively there lived also feudal lords.
The medieval food did not differ in variety. Meat of fir-tree is rare (during holidays), sugar was a little known. In food of peasants and handicraftsmen there were constantly not enough proteins, fats. But, as the modern researcher notices, "inhabitants of the medieval cities and villages compensated insufficient nutritiousness of food by quantity: sense of fulness was associated with weight in stomach, people gorged on, only when the stomach was overflowed. Especially consumed much bread" (from 1 to 1,7 kilogram daily). "Besides, ate a lot of porridge, beans (in garlick sauce) and occasionally cheese and fish (fresh and salty), the share of vegetables and fruit in diet was small too. Because of small consumption of meat, fresh vegetables and fruit in food there were almost no vitamins A, D, E, K and especially With: not accidentally the hermits eating wild-growing fruits differed in longevity".
The plentiful food was washed down with large amount of water. From products pork was the easiest acquired, other products promoted indigestion. From here such widespread type of the fat man with the blown-up stomach (reflected both in literature, and in painting), by sight portly, and actually suffering from unhealthy completeness.
Wealthy people ate more plentifully, and, above all - is more various. In houses of the nobility ate pork, zaychatina, goose, capons, fish, paste. For dessert served fruit, spices, nuts, wine or beer.
At long table guests took seats on rank. For most bigwigs laid special high table to which from two parties put two more (it reminded letter P), and feasting took seats only from the outer side, inside the space remained free - for actions of servants.
Dishes gave in the closed vessels to keep food of hot and to secure against dirt. The liquid food of fir-tree from bowls (one bowl intended for two), meat was given everyone on thick chunk of bread. As plate served the bread chunk soaked with sauce, - it was given then to beggars or threw to dogs. Fir-trees usually twice a day. The medieval saying said: angels need food of times a day, people - twice, animals - three times.
Contemporaries so draw, for example, life of the English baron. He lived in the lock, with the center in the middle from which the smoke brought down through hole in roof. Instead of tables wooden goats, and on them - boards put. Had supper on such improvised table. After dinner with wine party tables cleaned and all slept right there on floor vpovalka.
In those days the food of the commoner differed from royal only in quantity. So, chronicles have recorded that the lunch of the king and queen of England in the 13th century consisted of two pounds of smoked fat and two liters of beer. If arranged feast, then on huge spits fried carcasses of rams, bulls and right there ate them.
In the early Middle Ages the way of life of people in very strong degree depended on environment. The geographical factor defined many specific features of life of that time. The Arab and Byzantine historians and travelers noted, for example, that Slavs lead healthy lifestyle, being engaged in hunting, fishery, agriculture. The Byzantine historian of the 7th century of our era Mauritius the Strategist wrote that he did not see such strong and hardy, easily taking out heat and cold, thirst and hunger of people anywhere as Slavs.
The woods full of game, the river, full fishes, gave the chance to our far ancestors to survive in severe conditions and to become tempered. The Arab traveler of the 10th century Ibn-Fadlan considered that Slavs the invincible soldiers who are easily transferring difficult mnogoverstny campaigns, being content with simple food.
Chronicles tell that in 986 to the Kiev prince Vladimir Jews, Mohammedans have come and everyone offered the religion, belief. But the prince has rejected all their offers, and one of the reasons as if was the fact that their religions demanded restrictions in food (for example, Islam forbade to eat pork).
In the Middle Ages the Russian princes conducted quite closed life. The subsistence economy prospered - ate what was given the earth, fishery, hunting. Wild-hive beekeeping (beekeeping) - primordially Russian trade. Peasants prepared gifts of the wood: mushrooms, berries, honey, and also sowed grain cereals. Parted cattle, generally large. The big place in food belonged then to vegetables - cabbage, turnip, radish, beet, and also wild-growing plants: to wild cabbage, nettle, orach, coniferous needles and bark of trees.
When in the 20-30th years of the 17th century severe famine has fallen upon Russia, one landowner has forced the serfs to collect orach, nettle, bark of trees and to add them to bread, and it has rescued them from death.