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The Transmission of Taste


  • Durham University
  • Newcastle University
  • Blackfriars Restaurant, Newcastle

A medieval food book and cooking preperation

This project is looking at English recipe collections from c.1150-c.1400, a crucial period in their evolution, to explore evidence for changes in taste during this period. There are two collaborative methodologies involved:  firstly, between historical and literary analysis of the source material; and secondly, between the academic analysis and the culinary experience of the Blackfriars restaurant staff and chefs.

The research aims to answer the following key questions:

  • How was taste was understood in the period and how did this understanding change during this time?
  • How did English recipes differ from each other across this period?
  • How did English recipes of this period compare to continental recipes?
  • How did medieval recipes work in terms of taste balance, and how does this practical knowledge inform our academic analysis?

Florence Swan has been recruited to this project, and began work in October 2021.