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And in England a millenium ago, here's some excerpts from a book I've been reading called "The Year 1000" by Robert Laceys:
The fruits and vegetables were certainly more tasty than modern equivalents, but like the livestock of the year 1000, they were considerably smaller — as archaeologists have discovered from the pips and seeds found in ancient sites.
Several staples that we take for granted in our modern diet, were absent back then. There was no spinach, until seeds were brought back from the Crusades in the twelfth century.
Broccoli, cauliflower, runner beans, and brussels sprouts were all developed in later centuries by subsequent generations of horticulturalists.
Nor were there any potatoes or tomatoes. Europe had to wait five centuries for those, until the exploration of the Americas, and though the recipe books describe warm possets and herbal infusions, there were none of the still-to-be-imported stimulants--tea, coffee, or chocolate.
No sugar, and honey was so precious, that people paid taxes with it. It was a lucky day when a swarm of bees settled in your thatched hut.
Anglo-Saxon skeletal remains are remarkable for the relative absence of dental and jaw decay. Another source of sweetness was the crushed pulp of grapes left over from winemaking.
It was a warmer world then, and vineyards were plentiful, and in England the Normans' Domesday survey of 1086 listed at least thirty-eight vineyards. From 950 to 1300 temperatures were markedly warmer, even by today's age of "global warming." Meteorologists describe this medieval warm epoch as the "Little Optimum." London for example was up to 4 degrees Fahrenheit warmer.
Weather was a subject of intense interest...
"In May, thunder presages a hungry year...
In the month of July, thunder signifies crops turning out well, and livestock perishing...
If it thunders on Sunday, this is considered to presage an extensive mortality of monks and nuns...
Of thunder on Wednesday, there is no doubt that it presages the death of idle and scandalous prostitutes."
Anglo-Saxon charms were literally charming, and straight from nature.
Let him then sup a good bowlfull of it, fasting at night, sometime before he takes other food. Make him rest in a soft bed and wrap him up warm.
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