I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 9.
Medieval Feast and Field Trip Ideas
This is the culminating activity we did after a 4 (or 5) week hands-on unit on the Medieval Period. We held a festive feast complete with entertainment and much merriment. Also included are the field trips we took during our unit. My lessons are geared toward 4th-5th grade level children and their siblings. These are lessons we created to do with a weekly homeschool co-op. We meet each week for 2 1/2 hours and have 33 children between the ages of 1-13. Use these fun lessons with your class, family, homeschool co-op, after school program, or camp!
Please DO NOT copy this elsewhere without giving proper credit: http://iijuan12.hubpages.com/hub/medieval-feast .
Choose between an evening meal with food and decorations prepared ahead of time or choose the option of doing this as a class/co-op lesson with the children decorating, cooking, and eating the feast all within a two hour period.
Decorating for Your Medieval Banquet
Decorating can be pretty simple or as elaborate as you'd like. We placed our tables in a U-shape and used white tablecloths. We decorated the tables with cut greens and candles.
If you have pewter-colored plates (or even aluminum), use them. We provided "goblets," knives, plates, and napkins for each setting. Yes, we ate with our hands. If you want to be more authentic, use "trenchers" (dishes made from bread) instead of plates.
If desired, at each table place a few small spice dishes with dried sweet basil, cinnamon sugar, and ground mustard to use to flavor the meat. At the king and queen's table you can put salt in a decorative container so that you can mention how important people sit “above the salt.”
If desired you can also prepare an aquamanile (container for hand-washing). Put warm water with sweet herbs or flowers in it and have ready a bowl to catch the dirty water and several towels for hand drying.
Menu: Multi-Course Meal
You'll want a multi-course meal with entertainment interspersed between courses. We had a six course meal that included the presentation of the boar's head, breads, soup (herb & barley soup), appetizers (cheese platter, fruit platter, & boiled eggs), meats (boar's head meatloaf, "wild boar"/ham and roasted chicken) and side dishes ("salat"/salad, cooked greens, & "makerouns"/macaroni and cheese), & desserts (marzipan, fruit tarts, and baked pears). Before the dessert, we served "Frog Leg Pie" which was really a baked pie crust set atop a pie plate filled with candies. The kids were so surprised when they cut into the pie! We also served wassail as our beverage.
If you'd liked to find more recipes and menu ideas try these websites:
Gode Cookery contains original medieval recipes followed by modernized versions.
Medieval Feast Menu provides a menu and recipes for medieval salad, macaroni and cheese, baked pears, baked chick peas, and peas & onions. They also bought rotisserie chickens for their meal.
UK History Archive provides an assortment of great recipes.
Wild Boar's Head
What's a Medieval Feast without a Wild Boar's Head? We also made a wild boar's head out of meatloaf. We used potatoes for the ears, tusk, and snout. We painted it with a soy sauce & ketchup glaze. We used black olives for the eyes and out an apple in its mouth. It actually looked better before we tried to transfer it onto a platter. If you attempt to make this, SERVE IT FROM THE BAKING PAN! Don't try to move it. We learned the hard way and had to piece it back together again. Simply use lettuce leaves and grapes to hide the ugly baking pan. Making this was unique and memorable, though I think I'd prefer to make this version out of a sliced ham next time.
Order of Events
1) Trumpet Entry: When everyone has arrived, have everyone leave the room and then enter family by family. Have someone play the trumpet (use a toy trumpet if needed) and announce each family as they enter.
2) Finally the herald will announce, "All stand please for their royal highnesses." The King & Queen of the ceremony (i.e. the person who planned this medieval study or whomever else you would prefer to take on that role) will enter.
3) Welcome: The king or queen will welcome everyone, saying something like, "Welcome one and all. May God richly bless this sacred occasion with both merriment & peace. You may be seated."
4) Toasts: A child can make a toast saying something like, "Let the festivities begin. It’s time to raise your glass of Wassail, but take heed not to drink until our toasts have been complete" and then, "A toast to your health. May success, prosperity, and the blessings of our Heavenly Father be with you all! Wassail! (Everyone repeats) Once more, please! Wassail! (Everyone repeats)"
5) Manners & Customs: Let various children read some of the manners and customs of those days saying something like:
Child 1: Good ladies and fine gentlemen, it has been told that at one such banquet as this there was a pie described as 9 feet in diameter weighting 165 pounds, containing 2 bushels of flour, 29 pounds of butter, 4 geese, 2 rabbits, 4 wild ducks, 6 snipes, 4 partridges, 2 neat's tongue, 2 curlews, 6 pigeons, and 7 blackbirds. We have no such pie to offer you today, but we do have many delightful surprises tonight.
But, before you eat, instructions in table manners we must repeat:
Child 2: Guests must have clean nails or they will disgust their table companions.
Child 3: Guests must avoid quarreling and making grimaces with other guests.
Child 4: Guests must not tell unseemly tales at the table, or dip their thumbs in their drinks.
Child 5: They must not rest their elbows or legs upon the table.
Child 6: Guests must not wipe their greasy fingers on their beards.
Child 7: Guests must not leave bones on the table, always hide them under the chairs.
Child 8: Guests must not sneeze, cough or wheeze at the table, and if one is sick, be it fatal or non, one must not touch the common food, but must ask a healthy person in the distribution of the food.
Child 9: And remember to eat quietly while the performers are entertaining us. So now good folks, since the instructions in table manners have been made clear, let us eat, drink, and be merry. Bring on the boar's head!
(This script came from Jessica from the Konos Homeschool Curriculum Yahoo Group.)
6) Present the wild boar's head to the King & Queen of the ceremony and have them announce that the dinner will begin.
7) Intersperse meal courses with entertainment. Each family is in charge of providing some form of entertainment. We had jesters who told jokes, royal knights who performed martial arts, a minstrel who played his violin, a bard who read a poem and told riddles, a jester who juggled, acrobats, a dancing bears act (2 younger children who danced around their teddy bears), a knight fighting a dragon (a child wearing a dragon costume), and a jester who fumbled around with juggling.
8) Trumpet signals the end of the banquet.
***SERVICE STAFF TIP: Recruit and/or hire teenagers (older siblings & their friends, youth group members, and/or children looking for volunteer service hours) to serve the foods between courses. It is worth it to be able to simply enjoy the meal and not have to do all the serving!***
1. Pray. Read & discuss Psalm 36:7-9.
2. Read "Medieval Feast" by Aliki.
(*Start boiling a pot of water.*)
3. Have children set up & decorate the "banquet hall."
-Use 3 tables to make a U shape. Place the chairs on the outside of the U.
-Cover the tables with white tablecloths.
-Place cut greenery from a tree or bush on the tables.
-If you have them, place flameless/electric candles on the tables.
-Use tape or hang up on the walls the "tapestries" the children made during the lesson on Medieval Art.
-Place 1-2 medium-sized mixing bowls on each table and place a dish that is larger than the bowl under the bowl. Fill the bowls with water. Place flower petals and/or fresh herbs in the water. Place a kitchen towel or a cloth napkin next to each water bowl. These will be used as "aquamaniles" to wash hands during the meal.
-Place a pita bread round at each place setting. These will be the "trenchers" that will be used as plates.
YOU WILL NEED: 1 tablecloth per table (preferably a white tablecloth), cut greenery from trees or bushes, the "tapestries" the children made during the lesson on Medieval Art, tape, 1-2 medium-sized mixing bowls per table, 1 large plate to go under each bowl, 1 kitchen towel or cloth napkin per bowl, flower petals and/or fresh herbs, flameless/electric candles (optional) , & 1 pita bread round per child (and adult if they are eating)
4. Prepare the meal:
a. Wassail: Let children pour 1 bottle (64 oz.) of apple juice or apple cider, 1/4 t. nutmeg, 1/2 t. ginger, & 1-7 sticks cinnamon into a pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer. While children work on cucumbers, a teacher/parent should pour wassail into cups. (Recipe is from Konos Curriculum.)
YOU WILL NEED: 1 bottle (64 oz.) of apple juice or apple cider, 1/4 t. nutmeg, 1/2 t. ginger , 1-7 sticks of cinnamon, 1 styrofoam cup per person, & a pot for simmering wassail
b. Apricot Pasta:
Ingredients: 8 oz. spaghetti broken into small pieces, 1 Tbsp. salt, 1/2 Tbs. oil, 1 c. dried, diced apricots, 1/2 c. orange juice, 8 T. butter, 2 Tbsp. honey, 3/4 t. cinnamon, 1 t. ground almonds
Directions: Ahead of time, bring water to a boil. Add the salt, oil, & pasta. Boil 8 minutes or until done. Drain. Meanwhile, in a separate pan allow children to add the apricots, orange juice, honey, butter, cinnamon and almonds. Heat together for 5 minutes or until butter melts. Pour apricot butter over pasta. Place pasta on a platter. Decorate with fresh herbs if desired.
(Recipe is from Konos Curriculum.)
YOU WILL NEED: 1 platter, 1 t. ground almonds, 1 stick of butter, 1 Tbsp. salt, 2 Tbsp. dried or fresh basil, Italian seasoning, or parsley, 8 oz. spaghetti, 1/2 Tbs. oil, 1 c. dried, diced apricots, 1/2 c. orange juice, 2 Tbsp. honey, pot for boiling spaghetti, colander, skillet, measuring spoons
c. Cucumbers: Allow children to slice 2 cucumbers. (If children are very young, you can partially slice the cucumber and then let them finish cutting each slice.) Combine 2 t. sugar and 1 t. cinnamon. Sprinkle over cucumbers. Arrange cucumbers decoratively on a platter.
(Recipe is from Konos Curriculum.)
YOU WILL NEED: 1 small cutting board per child, 1 small knife per child, 2 cucumbers, 1 Tbsp. cinnamon sugar, & 1 platter
d. "Baked" Pears: Explain that canned pears have been cored, peeled, and baked. Have children lay the pears decoratively on a platter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar made from 2 t. sugar & 1 t. cinnamon.
YOU WILL NEED: 4 cans of pears (and a can opener if needed), 1 Tbsp. cinnamon sugar, & 1 platter
e. Rotisserie Chicken: Decorate a cooked rotisserie chicken either with clean feathers or sprigs or rosemary to look like feathers.
YOU WILL NEED: Rotisserie chicken (purchased from a store), rosemary sprigs or clean feathers, & serving utensils
f. Frog Leg Pie: This should be prepared ahead of time without the children knowing what it is. Just tell the children it is a frog leg pie but do not let them touch it. In order to make it, fill a pie plate with candy. Place a baked pie crust on top. Tell the children this is a frog leg pie.
YOU WILL NEED: Frog Leg Pie prepared as directed above
g. Place wassail at each seat at the table.
a. Trumpet Entry: Have someone play a toy trumpet and announce each child as they enter.
YOU WILL NEED: a toy trumpet
b. The herald will announce, "All stand please for their royal highnesses." The King & Queen of the ceremony will enter.
c. Welcome: The king or queen will welcome everyone, saying something like, "Welcome one and all. May God richly bless this sacred occasion with both merriment & peace. You may be seated."
d. Toasts: A child can make a toast saying something like, "Let the festivities begin. It's time to raise your glass of Wassail, but take heed not to drink until our toasts have been complete" and then, "A toast to your health. May success, prosperity, and the blessings of our Heavenly Father be with you all! Wassail! (Everyone repeats) Once more, please! Wassail! (Everyone repeats)"
e. Feast & Entertainment: Intersperse courses with entertainment.
-Each family is in charge of entertaining the group during one of the courses. Ideas include a "minstrel" playing a toy instrument, "acrobats" doing tumbling, "minstrel" singing, showing off sword fighting skills, dancing, "bard" telling the story of Robin Hood, "jester" trying to juggle or tell a joke, a master showing off the skills of his trained dancing "bears" (teddy bears), etc.
-Order of courses:
Frog Leg Pie
f. Trumpet to signal end of feast. Clean up.
While studying the Medieval Period, we visited a college library's special collections display that included a number of scripts from the medieval period. We got to see and feel parchment containing medieval music, see a page from the Gutenberg Bible, see a Doomsday Book, see numerous Bibles from the Middle Ages, and more. While vacationing in another state, we visited the Museum of Fine Arts that included a number of art pieces from this time period. We also of course attended our local Medieval Fair.
Bake medieval meals, create a medieval village, design stained glass window cookies, hold a jousting tournament, and more during this fun 4 or 5 week hands-on unit study of the medieval period!
- Medieval Life Lesson - This is part 1 of a 4 (or 5) part hands-on unit on the Medieval Period. Cook & eat a Medieval meal, play Medieval games, create Medieval crowns, and more!
- Castles Lesson - This is part 2 of a 4 (or 5) part hands-on unit on the Medieval Period. Build model castles, weapons, and more!
- Medieval Art Lesson - This is part 3 of a 4 (or 5) part hands-on unit on the Medieval Period. Mix together and paint with egg yolk paint, design and eat stained glass window cookies, create colorful tapestries, and more!
- Cathedral Lesson - This is an optional lesson in this unit focusing on Cathedral design and architecture. Decorate stained-glass cookies, design a dome using blocks, sketch each type of cathedral, sing about the true foundation of cathedrals, and more in this fun lesson on cathedrals!
- Knights & Ladies Lesson - This is part 4 of a 4 (or 5) part hands-on unit on the Medieval Period. Create a Coat of Arms and swords, hold a jousting tournament, act out a knighting ceremony, and more!
- Medieval Feast and Field Trip Ideas - This is the culminating activity we did after a 4 (or 5) week hands-on unit on the Medieval Period. We held a festive medieval feast complete with entertainment and much merriment. Also included are the field trips we took during our unit.
Kid's Medieval Feast
A Tudor Feast at Christmas
Heston Blumenthal on Medieval Food
Would you like to teach this way every day?
I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful Christian curriculum and was created by moms with active children! You can even watch free on-line videos as Jessica, one of the co-authors of Konos, walks you through a unit. (Look for the Explanation Videos tab.)
If you're new to homeschooling or in need of some fresh guidance, I highly recommend Konos' HomeSchoolMentor.com program! Watch videos on-line of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!
Comments, Questions, or Ideas? - Please leave a note to let me know you dropped by. I LOVE getting feedback from you!
Shannon (author) from Florida on February 26, 2013:
@tfsherman lm: Thank you!
tfsherman lm on February 26, 2013:
I'll have to remember this for a library summer program. It would tie in so well with Narnia and so many of my favorite books.
Shannon (author) from Florida on June 21, 2012:
@Sylvestermouse: Thank you! The boar's head was definitely quite an experience to make!
Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on June 21, 2012:
These are, of course, excellent suggestions! I do wish I had this several years back when I planned a Medieval feast. I must admit, the most difficult thing for me was the boar's head :) I ended up delegating that task. lol
Shannon (author) from Florida on June 18, 2012:
@Kailua-KonaGirl: Thank you so much for the sweet comments! It was an especially enjoyable event!
KonaGirl from New York on June 18, 2012:
This is a fabulous lens. The lessons were well thought out and planned. You made the costumes and meals look so authentic and it appears as though you made their home school learning experience one that they won't soon forget. The photography of the event are wonderful and that Boar's Head meatloaf was quite innovative. *Squid Angel Blessed* and added to "My Squid Angel Blessings for 2012" in the "Education Â» Home School Lessons" neighborhood. Well done.
anonymous on February 20, 2012:
What a splendid Medieval Festival page. I can tell that you are very interested in the topic, and made this an experience in itself. I love the presentation, and the decorating ideas are fun!