I found this fascinating, and I’m going to be following all the links and looking for other blogs by the same writer.
Those round things in the lower left are the hearthcakes. This supposed peasant woman is admonishing King Alfred for burning them, though they don’t look burnt to me. And why is she making peasant hearthcakes if she’s rich enough to own that fancy carved wooden thing behind her?
In the last post on everyday Anglo-Saxon bread, I talked about making bread on a bakestone or griddle on the fire. It is worth emphasizing again: for as much as eight hundred years, from the fifth century up to the thirteenth or fourteenth (and for centuries more in some areas of Britain), this would have been the familiar, everyday bread known to everyone in the kingdom. More affluent people ate leavened bread instead — or in addition. But everyone would have regarded this basic flat bread as familiar, completely normal bread. You did not need an oven to make it, and you…
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