I enjoy using the Nutrisystem web site. I am so determined and my mind is in the right place to really do this, this time.. Keep up the great work! We are sad to hear about the way you were treated when calling. To sneak off to enjoy private company was considered a haughty and inefficient egotism in a world where people depended very much on each other. Planning on finishing up the second month and then on the 3rd month working in more home cooked meals and tracking to stay at the same calorie level.
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They try to rip you off when quit their auto delivery program. Very very unpleasant people to deal with. They shipped me stuff 3 days after I had already cancelled and had a confirmation number stating I cancelled.
They refused to turn the shipment around or to take it back and are trying to create some kind of lie that I created a 2nd account in November and they only cancelled one account. The only thing I did in November was update my credit card expiration date which I regret. If I guaranteed no more shipments are coming to my name or my address that should be the end of the story, not with them! I am fighting them through my credit card company but please be aware of whatever traps they have in store for any of you.
Hi Troy — Sorry to hear that that was your experience. It was actually a customer service rep who told me I could switch from the meal delivery to just the Turbo Shakes after my first month on the program to lock in the auto-delivery savings without having to commit to another month of food. In any case, I hope you are able to get things resolved! I started the program today, January 1st. My resolution is to feel better about myself, but do it in a healthy way that had structure.
How much and when I should be eating vegetables, and ideas on what to eat if you have to attend a social function or business based meeting that involves food. Thanks for posting a well written, and information overview of this program. I have three questions and maybe one is a question for a NS counselor… 1.
Or can tomatoes, cukes, etc. Also, plain or with some sort of dressing? How many turbo shakes can you have per week… and when can they be consumed? Thanks in advance …. Hi Tami — Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I always add extra veggies to my greens and have found the only thing you really need to watch out for is the salad dressing. But for me, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. I usually have my TurboShake midday — around 2: That said, I would definitely suggest using the Nutrisystem counseling service for full clarification, though — especially for questions 2 and 3.
Best of luck if you decide to try the full program! I wanted to say that this article is nicely written and included almost all the vital info I needed.
Thanks for the review. I second your recommendation for Nutrisystem. Their service helped me significantly a few years ago. Hoping for the same results! Hi Maria — thanks for commenting! Hope it goes well again if you decide to give it another try. Have you found that Nutrisystem is a good way for keeping the weight off over the long term? How long do you really have to be on Nutrisystem before you starting seeing results?
Just finished month 1 and lost about 9 pounds! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He was always trying new weight loss products. I will forward this page to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing! I just read this well written post.
I have a handicapped daughter who has gained so much weight. We have tried everything with very little success. After taking to her doctors we decided to give NS a try. She started the program on February 16, She is loving the food and the program. She has already dropped three pounds. Her beginning weight was So she has a long way to go.
But the support and your post will definitely help her obtain her goals for healthier lifestyle. We will keep you informed on her progress. Thank you so much. Hi Shirley — What an inspirational story — really hoping she has success! Thanks for keeping us posted, and wishing your daughter all the best. I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!
I have been on Nutrisystem for about 5 weeks now. I lost 15 pounds the first month and have been following it to a T. The food tastes fine and it is very easy to just grab something pop it in the microwave if necessary and go.
I have been using My Fitness Pal to track my food and am eating about calories a day. The first week was really tough and I had a hard time, but I stuck to it. Now I m satisfied and use to it. Planning on finishing up the second month and then on the 3rd month working in more home cooked meals and tracking to stay at the same calorie level.
Then will switch over to the auto ship of Turbo shakes for my 4th month. I have about 40 pounds to lose and feel like I am making some good headway with the Nutrisystem plan. Good job on the review, very well written. Wow, nice job Carolyn! Thanks for sharing your story, and best of luck with the rest of your diet. I was very happy to find this website. Just wanted to thank for your time for this wonderful read, and inspirational review!! Hi Kelly — sorry to hear that!
Have you tried connecting with the Nutrisystem counseling service? We had to take Nutrisystem program for 8 weeks because we got it at a discount thru our insurance company. My goal was to loose 30 lbs. At the end of the 8 weeks I had lost only 3 lbs. We did not care for the cardboard like food and did not get anywhere close to our goals. This program obviously works for lots of folks, but not for us.
We did go to the Naturally Slim program and in 8 weeks I lost Naturally Slim is based on not what you eat but when and how you eat and you eat your own real food and got real results.
We will stay with our new habits learned with Naturally Slim and will not have any good words from our Nutrisystem experience. Hi John — thanks for sharing your experience. Thanks so much for sharing your story.
It was encouraging and helpful. I am only on my second day of Lean 13 and after comparing the Turbo Shakes with the protein powder I was using before, I noticed that mine was lower in calories, fat, sugar, and carbs and higher in protein by quite a lot.
Thanks again for your review! Hi Peggy — I think you should be fine using your own protein shake. Just to be safe you may want to talk to a Nutrisystem counselor, and they can let you know for sure.
The biggest issue would probably be the calorie count of your shake vs. Best of luck with your two weeks. I made some raspberry coffee and chilled it. Thought that might be a nice tip for someone else.
Just finished day 1 of the Turbo Takeoff… I was down 2 lbs this morning!!! Yay… only 58 more lbs to go!!! I am so determined and my mind is in the right place to really do this, this time.. I am very excited for the results.. I know i will be on the program for a few months but, I really feel like I need the structure of this program right now. I have been feeling a lot of emotions from having gone through breast cancer and several surgeries the last 3 years… I just kinda let myself go… but, I am so ready for this change!!!
Thanks for sharing, Lynn! Best of luck with reaching your goals! Very thorough review…thanks for making the decision easier! I just signed up for my first order. Went with the Core, and really hoping to least a good 20 pounds. Just finished month 1. Does this stuff really work? Thanks for the comment, Heather…It definitely works when you follow the program correctly.
Best of luck if you decide to try it! First, take the time to put the food on a plate like you would normally eat. Focus on the journey.
Take the time to praise yourself for the positive change. I started on Nutrisystem exactly 2 months ago with a week lapse. I only wish I had started months before. Question first great info as I really need something kind of no Brainerd and ready. How long in your experience would you say orders take to turn around? I am currently out of town but want to have the product arrive day if or day after returning so I can hit the ground running.
Thanks ahead for any info. I'm happy to say that losing weight has never been easier. The Nutrisystem plan is very easy to follow and simple to understand. I get to eat three meals a day plus a snack and a dessert. As soon as I start to feel hungry I get to eat again. With Nutrisystem I get access to the Nutrisystem website tools too. The website is wonderful. I can log on and talk to other people from all over the world who are trying to lose weight.
The other people on the website inspire me to want to lose more weight and become even healthier. The people on the website inspire to me to stick with the plan until I reach my goal. It's a great support group. The Nutrisystem website also provides me with access to a counselor who is available 24 hours a day to chat with if I have any questions.
It's working for me and I know it will work for you too. Now if I can only get my wife on it. I need more support! I have been using Nutrisystems plan for about two months now. I thought for sure when I started the plan that I would probably have at least one thing to complain about it; however, I was wrong. Nutrisystem truly is a great plan. Any problems that you may read about online are obvioulsy one off items and not a consistent trend.
The basic plan is extremely easy to follow. It comes with specific instructions on how to follow it. It also comes with some great dieting tools. The best part of the plan is that it comes with healthy foods that are already prepared for me to eat. Food wise, I love the vegetable beef soup; it is one of my favorite things to eat for lunch. I love to eat the chili with beans for dinner. So far, I love all of the foods I've tried. I haven't found one that wasn't edible. Even the desserts and snacks taste darn good.
And unlike other diets, with Nutrisystem I don't crave junk food because I get a treat everyday in the meal plan: I have needed to lose weight for quite awhile and am just glad that I'm finally doing something about it. I am very satisfied with the basic plan. Like most guys I know, I love to eat! I was always afraid of going on a hard core diet plan because I did not want to give up great tasting foods. With the Nutrisystem plan I have not had to give up any of my usual great tasting foods.
Hats off to Nutrisystem for figuring out how to get great tasting food in a small package that is so easy to prepare - just stick it in the microwave and you're eating in 5 minutes. So far, my favorite is the mushroom risotto, the chicken with dumplings, and the chili with beans, the flame broiled beef patty, the barbecue sauce pork wrap, the chocolate chocolate chip pudding, the chocolate crunch bar, the chocolate chip cookie, the creamy tomato sauce, the blueberry pancakes and the blueberry muffins.
I could go on and on about the rest of Nutrisystems dishes but I'm making myself hungry ;- I enjoy eating all of Nutrisystems foods.
I do not think I have found a food that I did not like yet. Do not be afraid of having to give up eating great food because you're still goign to get great food with Nutrisystem. Nutrisystem is a great diet plan for anyone - especially men.
I get to eat great food that is already prepared for me everyday. All I have to do is follow the basic directions for following the plan and eat the Nutrisystem foods. The best part about the Nutrisystem plan is that I lost seven pounds since I started it a month ago.
Nutrisystem also supplies its members with a member website. The website helps individuals on the plan stay motivated. The website is a place where anyone who is on the plan can go for support. I enjoy logging onto the website and seeing the progress that I have made.
I also enjoy reading inspiring stories from others on the Nutrisystem plan that have lost weight. Luckily though, Nutrisystem offers many different foods to choose from. Nutrisystem is also adding new food items to the menu all of the time. Always good to keep the variety up. The Nutrisystem plans foods are also healthy. Nutrisystem has empowered me to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle. As an added bonus, I now do allthe cooking for my girlfriend, which has really helped our love life.
After all, who can't throw an extra dish int he microwave for 5 minutes? Give it a try guys and I expect your girlfriend will be just as happy as mine is. I have lost 20 pounds in three months and haven't been exercising at all. Just like their marketing says, the plan really does allow you to eat healthy while losing weight. The foods are very easy to clean up when I am finished also. Just throw the microwave safe container in the trash.
What more could you ask for? I take my frozen lunch with me to work and I can get more work done while losing weight! The plan is also very simple to follow, just follow their instructions. Don't deviate by eating snickers bars, okay?! Stay away from those evil vending machines too! If you drink coffee, stop using creamer as I discovered I was drinking an extra calories a day in coffee creamer!
The Nutrisystem plan is great for men who do not know how to cook and want to lose weight, feel healthier and eat healthier. Since starting the diet, I've lost 20 pounds and have started feeling good about my body again, which has helped my love life significantly. My girlfriend can't keep her hands off of my new slimmer waist ;- She is so proud of me and she thinks I look great.
Who would have thought I could eat healthy food that I do not have to prepare that I actually like? I am a married man who needed to lose weight. My wife told me I should try Nutrisystem because I could lose weight while eating good tasting food.
She also thought the plan sounded good because she would not have to cook special foods for me while I was dieting. I must say I am impressed with the Nutrisystem plan. Nutrisystem says they deliver a simple program with great tasting foods to help you lose weight. Nutrisystem is not lying when they say this. Nutrisystems foods are delectable.
I have never eaten healthy foods that tasted so good in all my life. There are foods like buffalo wing pretzels, pulled pork wraps, cinnamon buns, pancakes and many other great tasting foods. The foods are not drab and boring like with Medifast which I tried last year.
The foods are flavorful and delightful. I feel great and I am beginning to look great. My wife is enjoying the smaller me and I am enjoying the attention. Nutrisystem is a simple way to lose weight. Fingers crossed I can keep it off when I go off of Nutrisystem.
Nutrisystem is diet plan that allows a person to lose weight without having to think too much about it. I haven't tried any of the other plans, but I can tell you this, the basic plan is super easy to follow.
It comes with diet tools that are easy to use and awesome tasting foods albiet frozen. As they say in the support forum, it's all about taking it one day at a time and doing your best to stick with the meal plans and not deviate, which is hard to do if you have co-workers that want to eat out for lunch all the time.
The plan has helped me look better and feel great about myself. Losing weight has given me confidence that I had been lacking for awhile. I now feel confident at work and am ready for a career change.
I have more confidence to ask women out on dates too. Well, at least online anyway. I owe my confidence to my weight loss and I owe my weight loss to Nutrisystem. If you're thinking about joining Nutrisystem, see if you can get your hands on one of their chocolate puddings. It's hard to believe that something that tastes this good can help you lose wieght. Hey, just wanted to let you know that I read all the reviews and decided to give Nutrisystem a chance. Turns out that its true The plan is extremely easy to follow and I have found it to be cheaper than buying food at the grocery store.
I mainly shop at Whole Foods aka Whole Paycheck though. The plan comes with easy to understand instructions on how to lose weight. It also comes with access to a very useful website, daily menu planner and diary that are helpful for losing weight and keeping it off.
IMHO, the best part of Nutrisystem is the food. I have really enjoyed the plentiful food options available on the basic plan. Lots of variety and deserts. The breakfasts are my favorite part of the meal plan; they keep me going until lunch time. The lunches are also very good. The dinners, snacks and desserts are also phenom. Great deal for the money! Meat, and animal products such as milk, cheese, butter and eggs, were not allowed, only fish. The fast was intended to mortify the body and invigorate the soul, and also to remind the faster of Christ 's sacrifice for humanity.
The intention was not to portray certain foods as unclean, but rather to teach a spiritual lesson in self-restraint through abstention. During particularly severe fast days, the number of daily meals was also reduced to one. Even if most people respected these restrictions and usually made penance when they violated them, there were also numerous ways of circumventing them, a conflict of ideals and practice summarized by writer Bridget Ann Henisch:.
It is the nature of man to build the most complicated cage of rules and regulations in which to trap himself, and then, with equal ingenuity and zest, to bend his brain to the problem of wriggling triumphantly out again. Lent was a challenge; the game was to ferret out the loopholes. While animal products were to be avoided during times of penance, pragmatic compromises often prevailed. The definition of "fish" was often extended to marine and semi-aquatic animals such as whales , barnacle geese , puffins and even beavers.
The choice of ingredients may have been limited, but that did not mean that meals were smaller. Neither were there any restrictions against moderate drinking or eating sweets. Banquets held on fish days could be splendid, and were popular occasions for serving illusion food that imitated meat, cheese and eggs in various ingenious ways; fish could be moulded to look like venison and fake eggs could be made by stuffing empty egg shells with fish roe and almond milk and cooking them in coals.
While Byzantine church officials took a hard-line approach, and discouraged any culinary refinement for the clergy, their Western counterparts were far more lenient. During Lent, kings and schoolboys, commoners and nobility, all complained about being deprived of meat for the long, hard weeks of solemn contemplation of their sins.
At Lent, owners of livestock were even warned to keep an eye out for hungry dogs frustrated by a "hard siege by Lent and fish bones". The trend from the 13th century onward was toward a more legalistic interpretation of fasting.
Nobles were careful not to eat meat on fast days, but still dined in style; fish replaced meat, often as imitation hams and bacon; almond milk replaced animal milk as an expensive non-dairy alternative; faux eggs made from almond milk were cooked in blown-out eggshells, flavoured and coloured with exclusive spices.
In some cases the lavishness of noble tables was outdone by Benedictine monasteries, which served as many as sixteen courses during certain feast days. Exceptions from fasting were frequently made for very broadly defined groups. Since the sick were exempt from fasting, there often evolved the notion that fasting restrictions only applied to the main dining area, and many Benedictine friars would simply eat their fast day meals in what was called the misericord at those times rather than the refectory.
Medieval society was highly stratified. In a time when famine was commonplace and social hierarchies were often brutally enforced, food was an important marker of social status in a way that has no equivalent today in most developed countries. According to the ideological norm, society consisted of the three estates of the realm: The relationship between the classes was strictly hierarchical, with the nobility and clergy claiming worldly and spiritual overlordship over commoners.
Within the nobility and clergy there were also a number of ranks ranging from kings and popes to dukes , bishops and their subordinates, such as priests.
One was expected to remain in one's social class and to respect the authority of the ruling classes. Political power was displayed not just by rule, but also by displaying wealth.
Nobles dined on fresh game seasoned with exotic spices, and displayed refined table manners; rough laborers could make do with coarse barley bread, salt pork and beans and were not expected to display etiquette.
Even dietary recommendations were different: The digestive system of a lord was held to be more discriminating than that of his rustic subordinates and demanded finer foods.
In the late Middle Ages, the increasing wealth of middle class merchants and traders meant that commoners began emulating the aristocracy, and threatened to break down some of the symbolic barriers between the nobility and the lower classes.
The response came in two forms: Medical science of the Middle Ages had a considerable influence on what was considered healthy and nutritious among the upper classes.
One's lifestyle—including diet, exercise, appropriate social behavior, and approved medical remedies—was the way to good health, and all types of food were assigned certain properties that affected a person's health. All foodstuffs were also classified on scales ranging from hot to cold and moist to dry, according to the four bodily humours theory proposed by Galen that dominated Western medical science from late Antiquity until the 17th century.
Medieval scholars considered human digestion to be a process similar to cooking. The processing of food in the stomach was seen as a continuation of the preparation initiated by the cook. In order for the food to be properly "cooked" and for the nutrients to be properly absorbed, it was important that the stomach be filled in an appropriate manner.
Easily digestible foods would be consumed first, followed by gradually heavier dishes. If this regimen were not respected it was believed that heavy foods would sink to the bottom of the stomach, thus blocking the digestion duct, so that food would digest very slowly and cause putrefaction of the body and draw bad humours into the stomach.
It was also of vital importance that food of differing properties not be mixed. Before a meal, the stomach would preferably be "opened" with an apéritif from Latin aperire , "to open" that was preferably of a hot and dry nature: As the stomach had been opened, it should then be "closed" at the end of the meal with the help of a digestive, most commonly a dragée , which during the Middle Ages consisted of lumps of spiced sugar, or hypocras , a wine flavoured with fragrant spices, along with aged cheese.
A meal would ideally begin with easily digestible fruit, such as apples. It would then be followed by vegetables such as lettuce , cabbage , purslane , herbs, moist fruits, light meats, such as chicken or goat kid , with potages and broths. After that came the "heavy" meats, such as pork and beef , as well as vegetables and nuts, including pears and chestnuts, both considered difficult to digest. It was popular, and recommended by medical expertise, to finish the meal with aged cheese and various digestives.
The most ideal food was that which most closely matched the humour of human beings, i. Food should preferably also be finely chopped, ground, pounded and strained to achieve a true mixture of all the ingredients.
White wine was believed to be cooler than red and the same distinction was applied to red and white vinegar. Milk was moderately warm and moist, but the milk of different animals was often believed to differ. Egg yolks were considered to be warm and moist while the whites were cold and moist. Skilled cooks were expected to conform to the regimen of humoral medicine. Even if this limited the combinations of food they could prepare, there was still ample room for artistic variation by the chef.
The caloric content and structure of medieval diet varied over time, from region to region, and between classes. However, for most people, the diet tended to be high-carbohydrate, with most of the budget spent on, and the majority of calories provided by, cereals and alcohol such as beer. Even though meat was highly valued by all, lower classes often could not afford it, nor were they allowed by the church to consume it every day. In one early 15th-century English aristocratic household for which detailed records are available that of the Earl of Warwick , gentle members of the household received a staggering 3.
In the household of Henry Stafford in , gentle members received 2. In monasteries, the basic structure of the diet was laid down by the Rule of Saint Benedict in the 7th century and tightened by Pope Benedict XII in , but as mentioned above monks were adept at "working around" these rules. This was circumvented in part by declaring that offal , and various processed foods such as bacon , were not meat.
Secondly, Benedictine monasteries contained a room called the misericord , where the Rule of Saint Benedict did not apply, and where a large number of monks ate. Each monk would be regularly sent either to the misericord or to the refectory. When Pope Benedict XII ruled that at least half of all monks should be required to eat in the refectory on any given day, monks responded by excluding the sick and those invited to the abbot's table from the reckoning.
The overall caloric intake is subject to some debate. As a consequence of these excesses, obesity was common among upper classes.
The regional specialties that are a feature of early modern and contemporary cuisine were not in evidence in the sparser documentation that survives. Instead, medieval cuisine can be differentiated by the cereals and the oils that shaped dietary norms and crossed ethnic and, later, national boundaries. Geographical variation in eating was primarily the result of differences in climate, political administration, and local customs that varied across the continent.
Though sweeping generalizations should be avoided, more or less distinct areas where certain foodstuffs dominated can be discerned. In the British Isles , northern France , the Low Countries , the northern German-speaking areas, Scandinavia and the Baltic , the climate was generally too harsh for the cultivation of grapes and olives. In the south, wine was the common drink for both rich and poor alike though the commoner usually had to settle for cheap second pressing wine while beer was the commoner's drink in the north and wine an expensive import.
Citrus fruits though not the kinds most common today and pomegranates were common around the Mediterranean. Dried figs and dates were available in the north, but were used rather sparingly in cooking. Olive oil was a ubiquitous ingredient in Mediterranean cultures, but remained an expensive import in the north where oils of poppy , walnut, hazel and filbert were the most affordable alternatives.
Butter and lard , especially after the terrible mortality during the Black Death made them less scarce, were used in considerable quantities in the northern and northwestern regions, especially in the Low Countries. Almost universal in middle and upper class cooking all over Europe was the almond , which was in the ubiquitous and highly versatile almond milk , which was used as a substitute in dishes that otherwise required eggs or milk, though the bitter variety of almonds came along much later.
In Europe there were typically two meals a day: The two-meal system remained consistent throughout the late Middle Ages.
Smaller intermediate meals were common, but became a matter of social status, as those who did not have to perform manual labor could go without them. For practical reasons, breakfast was still eaten by working men, and was tolerated for young children, women, the elderly and the sick.
Because the church preached against gluttony and other weaknesses of the flesh, men tended to be ashamed of the weak practicality of breakfast. Lavish dinner banquets and late-night reresopers from Occitan rèire-sopar , "late supper" with considerable amounts of alcoholic beverage were considered immoral. The latter were especially associated with gambling, crude language, drunkenness, and lewd behavior. As with almost every part of life at the time, a medieval meal was generally a communal affair.
The entire household, including servants, would ideally dine together. To sneak off to enjoy private company was considered a haughty and inefficient egotism in a world where people depended very much on each other.
When possible, rich hosts retired with their consorts to private chambers where the meal could be enjoyed in greater exclusivity and privacy. Being invited to a lord's chambers was a great privilege and could be used as a way to reward friends and allies and to awe subordinates. It allowed lords to distance themselves further from the household and to enjoy more luxurious treats while serving inferior food to the rest of the household that still dined in the great hall.
At major occasions and banquets, however, the host and hostess generally dined in the great hall with the other diners. However, it can be assumed there were no such extravagant luxuries as multiple courses , luxurious spices or hand-washing in scented water in everyday meals.
Things were different for the wealthy. Before the meal and between courses, shallow basins and linen towels were offered to guests so they could wash their hands, as cleanliness was emphasized. Social codes made it difficult for women to uphold the ideal of immaculate neatness and delicacy while enjoying a meal, so the wife of the host often dined in private with her entourage or ate very little at such feasts. She could then join dinner only after the potentially messy business of eating was done.
Overall, fine dining was a predominantly male affair, and it was uncommon for anyone but the most honored of guests to bring his wife or her ladies-in-waiting. The hierarchical nature of society was reinforced by etiquette where the lower ranked were expected to help the higher, the younger to assist the elder, and men to spare women the risk of sullying dress and reputation by having to handle food in an unwomanly fashion.
Shared drinking cups were common even at lavish banquets for all but those who sat at the high table , as was the standard etiquette of breaking bread and carving meat for one's fellow diners. Food was mostly served on plates or in stew pots, and diners would take their share from the dishes and place it on trenchers of stale bread, wood or pewter with the help of spoons or bare hands. In lower-class households it was common to eat food straight off the table.
Knives were used at the table, but most people were expected to bring their own, and only highly favored guests would be given a personal knife.
A knife was usually shared with at least one other dinner guest, unless one was of very high rank or well-acquainted with the host.
Forks for eating were not in widespread usage in Europe until the early modern period , and early on were limited to Italy. Even there it was not until the 14th century that the fork became common among Italians of all social classes. The change in attitudes can be illustrated by the reactions to the table manners of the Byzantine princess Theodora Doukaina in the late 11th century.
She was the wife of Domenico Selvo , the Doge of Venice , and caused considerable dismay among upstanding Venetians.
The foreign consort's insistence on having her food cut up by her eunuch servants and then eating the pieces with a golden fork shocked and upset the diners so much that there was a claim that Peter Damian , Cardinal Bishop of Ostia , later interpreted her refined foreign manners as pride and referred to her as " All types of cooking involved the direct use of fire. Kitchen stoves did not appear until the 18th century, and cooks had to know how to cook directly over an open fire.
Ovens were used, but they were expensive to construct and only existed in fairly large households and bakeries. It was common for a community to have shared ownership of an oven to ensure that the bread baking essential to everyone was made communal rather than private.
There were also portable ovens designed to be filled with food and then buried in hot coals, and even larger ones on wheels that were used to sell pies in the streets of medieval towns. But for most people, almost all cooking was done in simple stewpots, since this was the most efficient use of firewood and did not waste precious cooking juices, making potages and stews the most common dishes.
This was considered less of a problem in a time of back-breaking toil, famine, and a greater acceptance—even desirability—of plumpness; only the poor or sick, and devout ascetics , were thin.
Fruit was readily combined with meat, fish and eggs. The recipe for Tart de brymlent , a fish pie from the recipe collection Forme of Cury , includes a mix of figs , raisins , apples and pears with fish salmon , codling or haddock and pitted damson plums under the top crust.
This meant that food had to be "tempered" according to its nature by an appropriate combination of preparation and mixing certain ingredients, condiments and spices; fish was seen as being cold and moist, and best cooked in a way that heated and dried it, such as frying or oven baking, and seasoned with hot and dry spices; beef was dry and hot and should therefore be boiled ; pork was hot and moist and should therefore always be roasted.
In a recipe for quince pie, cabbage is said to work equally well, and in another turnips could be replaced by pears. The completely edible shortcrust pie did not appear in recipes until the 15th century. Before that the pastry was primarily used as a cooking container in a technique known as ' huff paste '. Extant recipe collections show that gastronomy in the Late Middle Ages developed significantly.
New techniques, like the shortcrust pie and the clarification of jelly with egg whites began to appear in recipes in the late 14th century and recipes began to include detailed instructions instead of being mere memory aids to an already skilled cook. In most households, cooking was done on an open hearth in the middle of the main living area, to make efficient use of the heat. This was the most common arrangement, even in wealthy households, for most of the Middle Ages, where the kitchen was combined with the dining hall.
Towards the Late Middle Ages a separate kitchen area began to evolve. The first step was to move the fireplaces towards the walls of the main hall, and later to build a separate building or wing that contained a dedicated kitchen area, often separated from the main building by a covered arcade. This way, the smoke, odors and bustle of the kitchen could be kept out of sight of guests, and the fire risk lessened.
Many basic variations of cooking utensils available today, such as frying pans , pots , kettles , and waffle irons , already existed, although they were often too expensive for poorer households. Other tools more specific to cooking over an open fire were spits of various sizes, and material for skewering anything from delicate quails to whole oxen. Utensils were often held directly over the fire or placed into embers on tripods. To assist the cook there were also assorted knives, stirring spoons, ladles and graters.
In wealthy households one of the most common tools was the mortar and sieve cloth, since many medieval recipes called for food to be finely chopped, mashed, strained and seasoned either before or after cooking. This was based on a belief among physicians that the finer the consistency of food, the more effectively the body would absorb the nourishment. It also gave skilled cooks the opportunity to elaborately shape the results. Fine-textured food was also associated with wealth; for example, finely milled flour was expensive, while the bread of commoners was typically brown and coarse.
A typical procedure was farcing from the Latin farcio , "to cram" , to skin and dress an animal, grind up the meat and mix it with spices and other ingredients and then return it into its own skin, or mold it into the shape of a completely different animal.
The kitchen staff of huge noble or royal courts occasionally numbered in the hundreds: While an average peasant household often made do with firewood collected from the surrounding woodlands, the major kitchens of households had to cope with the logistics of daily providing at least two meals for several hundred people. Guidelines on how to prepare for a two-day banquet can be found in the cookbook Du fait de cuisine "On cookery" written in in part to compete with the court of Burgundy  by Maistre Chiquart, master chef of Amadeus VIII, Duke of Savoy.
Food preservation methods were basically the same as had been used since antiquity, and did not change much until the invention of canning in the early 19th century. The most common and simplest method was to expose foodstuffs to heat or wind to remove moisture , thereby prolonging the durability if not the flavor of almost any type of food from cereals to meats; the drying of food worked by drastically reducing the activity of various water-dependent microorganisms that cause decay. In warm climates this was mostly achieved by leaving food out in the sun, and in the cooler northern climates by exposure to strong winds especially common for the preparation of stockfish , or in warm ovens, cellars, attics, and at times even in living quarters.
Subjecting food to a number of chemical processes such as smoking , salting , brining , conserving or fermenting also made it keep longer.