print this recipe Print this recipe   save to disk Save to disk   Full version with graphics


This recipe is in categories Main courses, Tudors,
About this recipe:
Difficulty: not rated

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.


Making and cooking it
  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