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Weird History

Things You Won't Believe Europeans Ate During The Plague

When the Black Plague struck Europe in the 14th century, people didn't have much time to worry about their diets. Still, doctors warned that the most popular food and drinks in medieval England, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, could make people sick. Deemed healthy were items like meats, vinegar, and cooked fruit. For roughly three centuries afterward, millions of Europeans succumbed to sickness. The effects of the Black Plague influenced medieval food culture and directly shaped the way we live now.

Life during the epidemic was bleak - people who woke up healthy could be gone by nightfall - so it's not surprising that wine and beer were incredibly popular during this time. Doctors declared that some foods spread illness while others promoted health, but their advice didn't always line up with what was readily available. Peasants, for example, might have eaten three pounds of grain each day because it was their cheapest option. Surprising medieval food facts - like the popularity of almond milk, soured milk, and peacocks - change the way we understand the era. 

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