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Spits, Spices, and Sustenance

6hoh Vertumnus Vegetable Man
A painting depicting Vertumnus, the Roman god of plant life and vegetables, created by Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1590).





The typical diet of sixteenth-century common folk consisted mainly of roasted meats, bread, and dairy with the occasional cooked fruit [1]. This was far blander than the fare enjoyed by nobility at the time, who would eat spiced meats and purees with cooked vegetables. In the cuisine of the nobility, sugar was often used as a seasoning for more savory dishes. Diet at the time was strongly influence by Galenic medicine, as it was the most common means of adjusting humoral balance.


[1] Paul S. Lloyd, "Dietary Advice and Fruit-Eating in Late Tudor and Early Stuart England," Journal Of The History Of Medicine And Allied Sciences vol. 67 no. 4 (2012), 553, https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_the_history_of_medicine_and_allied_sciences/v067/67.4.lloyd.html, (acessed November 7, 2017).