According to recent laboratory studies of antique pots from medieval Oslo, ordinary shoemakers ate casseroles with imported spices and washed them down with red wine.
Ordinary citizens ate well in the Middle Ages. This was shown by a new analysis of ancient pots. They were excavated in Oslo's shoemaking quarter, where the city's shoemakers lived and practiced their craft. They were subsequently analyzed for food debris in a modern laboratory in Lyon, France.
The finds surprised archaeologists. They found traces of red wine, fish and root vegetables in the pots of shoemakers in different periods of the Middle Ages. The variety of food was amazing. It was believed that these segments of the population ate mainly porridge. Trade flourished in coastal cities such as Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim, the researchers said. Citizens had the means to purchase a wide range of goods to choose from. Various types of meat, fresh fish, vegetables, wine and imported spices could be bought.
According to archaeologists, it was surprising that ordinary northerners could afford such a meal. It was believed that spices to enhance the taste could only be purchased by the wealthy segments of the population. They were expensive for a long time. But in the end, prices for cloves, peppers, ginger, cardamom, and cumin went down, so ordinary people could afford it.
Food researcher Annehen Bar Bugge of the Consumer Research Institute believes that people should be proud of their food traditions. The ancients treated food with respect, and modern man still has a lot to learn from them.