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History Cookbook: Frumenty

This recipe is in categories Tudors, Main courses
About this recipe
Healthiness : (527 votes)
Difficulty:  2 out of 5 difficulty

This is a simple recipe but care should be taken to avoid scalds.

You can make a vegetarian version of this dish by using vegetable stock.

If you burn yourself, put the burn under cold running water for several minutes.

Preparation Time: None
Cooking Time: 35 minutes and 5 resting.
Number of servings: 6
Serving suggestions: Serve with roasted meat, cheese or fish.
This is a vegetarian recipe

Frumenty was a staple food for thousands of years. The earliest versions were probably made by early farming communities with dried grains. Frumenty was still being commonly referred to in Victorian books, although it had fallen out of favour as a dish by then.

There are many versions of frumenty, including a winter dish often served at Christmas. This dish was made with milk, eggs, currants and saffron (see Sweet Frumenty).

Before potatoes became a staple food, frumenty was served as the carbohydrate part of the meal. Roast and boiled meat, fish and game were all served with frumenty through the Middle  Ages and into the Tudor and Stuart periods.

This original recipe gives us several methods for cooking frumenty.

"To make frumente. Tak clene whete & braye yt wel in a morter tyl the holes gon of; seethe it til it breste in water. Nym it up & lat it cole. Tak good broth & swete mylk of kyn or of almand & tempere it therwith. Nym yelkes of eyren rawe & saffroun & cast therto; salt it: lat it naught boyle after the etren ben cast therinne. Messe it forth with venesoun or with fat moutoun fresch." (Curye on Inglysch CI.IV.i.)

The version given here is a plain frumenty made for a worker's meal.

  • 275g (10oz) bulgar wheat
  • 1.1 litres (2 pints) water
  • 150ml (5 floz) stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • Weighing scales
  • Measuring jug
  • Saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

  1. Boil the wheat in the water for 15 minutes
  2. Remove from the heat and stand for 15 minutes, most of the water should now be absorbed
  3. Add the stock and bring to the boil
  4. Serve hot
Frumenty - print view  Frumenty - print view

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Name: Michelle 15th September 2014
I regularly have porridge made with Bulgar Wheat, milk and brown sugar.
5 mins in the microwave....
Name: Ellesar 9th June 2014
What are the chances? I was looking at a bag of bulghur wheat today, thinking 'what on earth am I going to do with that?' Mind you, this does not exactly sound appetising!
Name: Zavrina 25th September 2012
Kudos to you! I hadn't though of that!
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