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History Cookbook: Frumenty

This recipe is in categories Main courses, Tudors
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  • Frumenty
About this recipe
Healthiness : (266 votes)
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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 festival 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."

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

For pictures of the cooking process see our Frumenty Picture Gallery.

With thanks to Cathy Flower-Bond (Tudor Tales) and the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum for their help with making this podcast.

  • cracked wheat
  • water
  • stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • ale
  • butter
  • parsley
  • an onion, chopped roughly
  • Cookpot
  • Chopping board
  • Jug
  • Wooden spoon
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

  1. Set a cookpot by the fire to warm, covered with a lid
  2. Add  a little butter to the bottom of the pot and sweat the onions
  3. Add the chopped parsley and stir a little
  4. Pour in the stock and the ale, then add the grain
  5. Stir through
  6. Re-cover the pot and leave to cook, stirring occasionally. Do not let the pot boil dry, add more water if needed
  7. Boil the wheat in the water until soft
  8. Serve hot
Frumenty   - print view  Frumenty - print view

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There are 3 comments for this recipe.
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Name: Rae 5th November 2017
Really good website. Especially for homework and projects!
Name: Donadela 24th November 2012
What about amounts for ingredients? The historical podcasts often don't have measurements as cooking for this period is all done by eye and these are historical recipes using methods from the time. If you watch the whole podcast, it gives you a fairy good idea about quantities. Also we have a sweet and savoury version with full instructions and measurements for a modern cook. Just type frumenty into the Search box and it will give you all versions. We hope this helps. The Cookit Team
Name: Chaas 14th January 2012
Yeah that's what I'm talking about-nice work!
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