January Pottage


The ingredients for this month’s pottage were easy enough to choose. The only vegetables growing in my garden at the moment are leeks. They’re not very big, which I think is due to the very hot summer we had. In my cupboard I had some barley and there’s some sage and bewildered parsley in the garden. The early part of winter was so mild that the parsley thought it was spring and has been growing everywhere. The sorrel has also been fooled into producing leaves early. These things aren’t usually available in January, but I thought a fourteenth-century housewife wouldn’t waste them, so they went into the pot.

When I went to the cupboard the evening before I was going to make the pottage I realised that I didn’t have much barley. Fortunately I still had some marrowfat peas. I soaked the peas overnight and boiled them for three quarters of an hour before I added the barley and the garlic. The peas gave it a bit more taste. About twenty minutes after the barley I added the leeks and the leaves. They boiled together for about fifteen minutes.

It was tasty and satisfying meal. I made the pottage fairly thick, as the liquid can often be disappointing.



Filed under Fourteenth Century, Medieval Food

34 responses to “January Pottage

  1. Our parsley’s looking better than it did all summer. And the rhubarb’s up, although I have no idea if that was available in the middle ages.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Losing the Plot

    That looks like a very hearty meal!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Parsley everywhere as mine is also looking fab, along with the sage, thyme and rosemary. Very odd. Your pottage looks healthy!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love the ‘bewildered parsely’!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’d be happy to join your bewildered parsley as I look out at a sunny ☼, but snowy & frigid, -1F lawn.

    Pottage looked quite appealing. I’ve seen fancy restaurants serve dishes that look like yours. In my neck of the USA leeks and marrowfat peas are exotics, and chefs here love to play with such products.

    Only a month ago my blackberry brambles were beginning to bud (unintended alliteration ☺). Clearly they are having second thoughts! Roller coaster weather fooled a lot of flora.

    Back in 1983 I remember admiring January roses in Cheltenham. Folks at home were digging out from over a foot of snow. Did NOT wish to get on the plane!

    Beautiful, wonderful, magical England! Long may she and her denizens thrive!

    Wishing a lovely week to you and your readers, April!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My garden has nothing to offer. We are under a foot of snow with a middle layer of ice. Our current temp is a warm 0F and hoping it will get to 11F. At least the sun is shining. 😊

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I love parsley and others in that family, like cilantro! I’m glad it’s flourishing for you, as we are also under a foot of snow and ice at the moment 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  8. That looks and sounds good. I would prefer it if you had had more barely (not a big fan of beans) but that seemed like a good option.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Wonderful, April; I really should have a go at making pottage sometime!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. lydiaschoch

    I’ve read that late winter and early spring were traditionally a time when food supplies could run pretty low. Assuming this is true, it’s going to be interesting to see what pottage was like then.

    Your January pottage looks good!

    Liked by 2 people

    • The pottage was very nice.

      Late winter was probably OK, but spring would have been dodgy. There wouldn’t have been much left from the previous year’s harvest and it was too soon to have anything worth harvesting for that year.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Do you suppose it was also the time of intensified poaching? England had many waterways & fish ponds that were poached upon, as well as woodlands and “straying” farm animals.

        I read somewhere that late winter and early spring were busy times for the hangman. So cruel. Die of starvation or die trying to obtain food.

        Even today it’s so hard to get many people or means to care about hunger.

        During the polar vortex I watched as bunnies tried to dig in the snow and frozen ground. Thankfully, I had gleaned ears of field corn last spring & tossed some nearby. Nothing I cold do about the cold or lack of water. Hope they survived!

        How heartbreaking it must have been to try to find food for starving family.
        How much more so when the scavenger was hung!

        No wonder May 1 was a day to revel!

        Liked by 2 people

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