friday feast: 13th century vittles

 Medieval Feast set in the Great Hall, Warwick Castle (photo by mharrsch).

Welcome, Lords and Ladies! 

There’s nothing like a little boar’s head on a platter to make me yearn for England. I always think about our Elizabethan banquet wedding reception in London, where a feisty wench passed around the boar’s head paté.

You probably know how much I love all things British.

 Warwick Castle photo by Andrew®.

That’s why I was quite excited when I came across Linda Ashman’s Come to the Castle! (Roaring Brook, 2009), a hilarious account of a Medieval banquet held in a 13th century castle. It mentions boar, as well as lots of other tantalizing dishes which brought back delicious memories of my visit to Warwick Castle (a great Medieval castle built by William the Conquerer). Ah yes — who doesn’t love rhapsodizing about, “Peacocks, pike and pigeons, capon, venison and boar,/Mutton, eel and mackerel, sturgeon, porpoise, pig and more!”

 Recommended for grades 2-4 (40 pages).

The book has already been thoroughly reviewed by Sylvia Vardel of Poetry for Children and Abby (the) Librarian, among others, so I thought I’d just share two of my favorite poems from it today. In Come to the Castle, the Earl of Daftwood, who has every creature comfort known to man, gets bored one day and decides to host an elaborate banquet and jousting tournament. Easy for him to say, since everyone else has to do all the work. Through lively poems, we hear the distinctive voices of each of the castle inhabitants, gaining insight into their lives, attitudes, and concerns. From steward to squire, herald to gong farmer, lady to knight — the sights, smells, and flavors of 13th century England come to uproarious life.

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