Renaissance Repasts on the Road: Feeding Nobles During Journeys


Noble kitchens have long fascinated food historians. During the Renaissance, in particular, many noble and royal households maintained large kitchen departments. While the Renaissance is an exciting time of recipe experimentation and innovation in the kitchen, this talk focuses on noble cooking outside the kitchen. A small but varied group of evidence -drawn mostly from sixteenth- and seventeenth-century household account books, kitchen records, journals, and cookbooks?- reveals that nobles oftentimes required their household cooks to travel alongside them while on journeys, supplying and arranging food along the way. Although today we still admire the kitchens of surviving European palazzi, chateaux, and stately homes, some of the most extraordinary strategy and organization of kitchen departments can be captured when examining their function outside the well-equipped confines of noble residences.

Ryan Whibbs is a Professor at the Chef School, George Brown College, teaching both practical cookery and food studies courses. While completing his apprenticeship in Canada and Europe, he became interested in historic kitchens and the people who worked in them. After earning the Red Seal (cook) designation, Whibbs completed a PhD in history with a thesis on late medieval and early modern French and English cooks. In addition to coordinating George Brown College's B.Comm. (Culinary Management) degree program, he also carries out and publishes research on historic and modern issues related to cooks.

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