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Pancakes with cheese, 'pirogi' and bread - Jadwiga and Władysław Jagiełło's cuisine

Jadwiga and Władysław Jagiełło took their meals separately - the king preferred eating solely in a male group, while the queen often entertained guests at the table.

Władysław Jagiełło did not employ a table master, which may suggest that the King's meals were not eaten with a special ceremonial. Jadwiga was often accompanied not only by her female courtiers or burgher wifes, but also by guests staying at the Wawel castle, clergy, or foreign deputies. Januszek-Sieradzka notices that the Queen's menu contained more luxury products; it was also lighter and more diverse.

The Queen ate a lot of pork and cabbage, as well as poultry - goose, chickens, capons (there is no mention of ducks or turkeys). She also had her favourites - black grouse or quail. Game was eaten quite rarely and usually it was hares or small birds. The fish was eaten cooked, baked, salted (mainly herring), smoked and dried (cod, salmon). Sometimes fish was imported from Hungary. In 1395, the royal books note the import from Kraków to Kosice of hawsons ("husones"), sturgeon-like fish, which could be found in the Danube and the Tisza. Dąbrowski believes that it was imported because of the roe.

A lot of groats, peas, poppy seeds, butter, milk, oil or bacon was consummed at the royal court. Royal kitchens also served red and white cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnips, carrots, onions, parsley, lentils, beetroot, parsnip, radish, horseradish, garlic, leeks, fennel, mustard, cucumbers, wild strawberries, young peas, nuts, mushrooms, apples, pears, cherries, plums and peaches. Already during Jadwiga's reign, rice, almonds or hazelnuts (the oil from which was pressed in Krakow) were imported as well as raisins, figs, saffron and spices or olive oil.

Both cucumbers and cabbage were pickled. The novelty was "pirogi" (dumplings) with stuffing made of cottage cheese, which were enjoyed by Jagiełło and those who were staying at the Ruthenian court; Jadwiga did not like them. The royal couple also ate crumpets: the King preferred cheese crumpets, and apple and plum version was the Queen's favourite. Royalties also ate cheesecakes on white cake and "konfekta" (confectionery).

The royal couple observed the periods of fasting quite strictly. Jagiełło - like his father - did not drink any alcohol. At that time neither Christmas (only breakfast was eaten on Christmas eve) nor Easter were a celebration.  What was celebrated (and with particular revelry in 1394) was Shrovetide, ending the carnival period. Barrels of wine were imported, confectionery was purchased, and pantries were filled. The accountant running the royal books noted that "one ham was especially good, because it was cured".

According to the historian Jan Długosz, Jagiełło "pushed away apples because of their fragrance, which made him sick, but in secret he ate good, sweet pears". In the king's treasury records, however, we find information that apples found the way to his table, often accompanied by hazelnuts. Jagiełło allegedly preferred wholemeal bread with wheat bran. One of the dishes prepared especially for the king was geese offal, which was probably stewed.

It seems that tripe was one of Jadwiga's favorite dishes. We also know that she paid a lot of attention to the quality of bread. When bread of poor quality was served to her in Nowe Miasto Korczyn, she refused to eat it, and in a hurry the hosts rode to buy bread in Opatowiec, 10 kilometres away. Jadwiga was also an admirer of white bread and donuts and wheat crostoli. She also liked jam, made especially for her at the Łobzów estate.

Despite the information appearing in some sources that lemons were served at the Wawel castle already in the times of Jagiełło, according to Januszek-Sieradz there are no sources on this subject, but "the monarch certainly had the opportunity to learn the taste of these exotic delicacies, because the city authorities of Lviv bought lemons for the monarch's visit to the city".

Sources:

Agnieszka Januszek-Sieradzka "Luxurious goods at the royal table in late medieval Poland", Studia Mediaevalia Bohemica 1/2009

Helena Kręt "Everyday life of Jadwiga and Jagiełło"

Jan Dąbrowski "Krakow and Hungary in the Middle Ages", Rocznik Krakowski, vol. XIII

"Jan Długosz's Poland", edited by H. Samsonowicz, transl. by J. Mruk, Warsaw 1984

Antonina Jelicz "In Medieval Krakow"

 

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News author: Magdalena Wójcik
News Publisher: Culinary Krakow
Published: 2018-12-20
Last update: 2018-12-24
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