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Morning: Make Elizabethan Pottage

The Dauntesey family had the monetary means to afford a diet that regularly included meat dishes and sugar confections. In contrast, the meals of ordinary Elizabethans were primarily centered around bread and pottage.

While the wealthy ate finely ground white wheat flour bread, ordinary citizens ate a cheaper (and healthier) brown bread. If money and supplies were tight, bread could be made from split peas and pea flower, bran or oats. This “horsebread” was a cheap staple bread that had been widely eaten in Medieval England.

For the majority of Elizabethan citizens, their main meal would traditionally consist of “white meats” (cheese, milk and whey) and bread and pottage. Pottage is a type of vegetable stew or porridge made up of ingredients on hand. The main components were vegetables like carrots, cabbage, turnips and rutabagas, and a variety of grains in a milk or broth “stew”. Meat, bacon jelly or eggs could be added. Herbs were used to give flavor. Pottage was a healthy and hearty recipe that filled the belly and was cheap to provide.

Follow the recipe below to make your own pottage!

Suggested Ingredients:

1 ¾ c. chopped vegetables

A “knob” of butter (2-3 tablespoons)

¼ c. oats

Chopped garden herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme)

1 pint of vegetable broth or stock


1. Melt butter in a saucepan (or cauldron!) and fry the vegetables to soften them.

2. Add the chopped herbs and oats and stir gently.

3. Carefully pour in the stock. Cover with a lid and cook slowly, stirring from time to time.

4. Once the oats have thickened the sauce and the vegetables are softened, the pottage is ready.

Fun Questions:

1. What word means “people of high social importance”?

2. Why do you think peasants rarely had access to meat?

3. How do you know when the pottage is ready?

4. Why do you think the ingredients section is entitled “Suggested Ingredients”?

Taken from





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