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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

HORAS DE LA COMIDA MEDIEVAL - MEALTIMES IN MEDIEVAL SPAIN

The Great Banquet Hall
Photo from: j.h. puyat
horas de la comida medieval, medieval mealtimes. They were rigidly observed. The day was divided into two parts 6 am to 6 pm and 6 pm to 6 am. The former was fractioned into three parts: 6-9 (9 being the third hour [tercia] etc.), 9-12 (the sixth hour [sexta]) and 12-3 (the nona or ninth hour) and 3-6 (the prima first hour of the night. In Spain ,they ate at the third hour (tercia), i.e. 12 noon, snacked at the 9th hour, 3 pm (nona) and ate supper at 6 pm, the first nocturnal hour (prima). It was inexcusable to have zaherar or supper for the second time, for it was “something of gluttons and wasteful people.” After the 6 pm supper to 6 am food was prohibited. The same applied in England except that Edward IV’s English court drank wine and spices prior to going to bed.

La cocina
Photo from. Juan Pedro Barbadillo
Breakfast was eaten by weak members of society such as children, women and the sick and by field workers. It consisted of bread and wine. It was not consumed until after early morning mass was heard. It was not a formal meal was lunch and dinner.

The latter could consist of three to four courses during which several dishes were presented. Eaters did not eat all presented but took bits from different plates as they wished. They were generally seated in the banquet hall if wealth or at the kitchen table if poor. The 3 pm snack was light. It could consist of cheese, cold cuts and fruit. It ws informal. Normally, food was left on a sideboard in the hall of the wealth and in the kitchen of the poor for eaters to nibble.


Wine was more common than beer in Spain. Also in northern Spain cider was popular. It could be fermented or non-alcoholic.

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