Did you know that during the Middle Ages, plates and forks hadn’t been invented yet?! While spoons, knives and bowls were common, many people ate with their fingers on ‘plates’ made of stale bread called trenchers. Once the meal was over, the leftover trenchers were given to the poor. To the best of our ability, we recreated serving a traditional medieval beef stew on homemade trenchers, opting to forgo donating our leftovers to the poor.
For this recipe, we used the book Pleyn Delit as inspiration. We made some modifications to the recipe like omitting wine and replacing currants with raisins. We also opted to use a multigrain pancake recipe to make the bread rather than buy various flours that would have been available in the middle ages like wheat, rye and barley. While the pancake mix included baking powder, we chose to add yeast to the dough so it would rise and taste like fresh baked bread. If you have a sourdough starter, that would be a more authentic choice.
Once the beef stew was done, I scooped a couple spoonfuls onto the bread trenchers. I served the trenchers on wooden trays to resemble how meals would be served. One wooden tray is a cherry breakfast board by Camden Rose ($24.95) and the other is olive wood and can be found at T.J.Maxx ($5.99).
This recipe was such a hit! The kids loved it and devoured their meal. The only thing they didn’t care for were the raisins which I’ll omit the next time we try this recipe.