Sunday 24 November 2013

A MILLION CALORIES:  A wedding feast, 1587
My last five posts were about the dark side of the 16th century. Let’s take a break from blood and gore today and look at the good life: a list of food and drink consumed at a wedding in Prague, 1587.

The list comes from the so-called Fugger Newsletters. The Fuggers were German merchant-bankers and venture capitalists. The Newsletters is a collection of memos sent by agents in branch offices all over Europe and in Asia to “head office” in Augsburg. They contain political and military news that might have an impact on the economy, but also descriptions of social customs, sensational crimes, or natural disasters.

One of the newsletter lists what the Bohemian nobleman William of Rosenberg offered his wedding guests:
  • Venison: 12 tons, including 36 deer, 36 boars, 49 roes, and 11,560 field hares
  • Poultry: 27 turkeys, 272 pheasants, 1910 partridges, 50 Westphalian cocks, 200 Indian cocks, 500 fattened capons, 560 fattened hens, 900 young hens, 1350 fattened geese
  • Meat: 9 tons of suckling pigs, 75 oxen, 754 sheep, 173 calves, 221 lambs, 32 fattened pigs, 160 young sows, 1290 rabbits.
  • Eggs and Dairy products: 20,620 eggs, 17 hundredweight butter, 2 tons of cheese.
  • Fish: 960 Skate, 70 char in pastry, 300 large pike, 420 small pike, 5,800 carp.
  • Wine: 70 pails Rhine wine, 100 pails Hungarian wine, 40 pails Moravian wine, 17 barrels Austrian wine, 47 barrels Bohemian wine, 10 kegs sweet wine
  • Beer: 150 barrels pale ale, 8 barrels Rakonitz beer, 18 barrels barley beer
  • Also: “a goodly amount” of spices, marzipan, sweetmeats, wheat rolls and rye bread.
“In his estates, towns, and villages, a considerable number of poor people were likewise fed, and it is not yet known how much has been consumed altogether.”


1 comment:

  1. a MAJOR Maalox moment, :-)! These people seemed to have a much hardier