marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

A Medieval Home Companion

A Medieval Home Companion by Tania Bayard

This is an excellent book of its type, its type being medieval advice to a new bride.  A 15-year-old, who asked her 60-year-old husband  to be forbearing with her lack of ability.

Runs a large gamut.  From how she ought to conduct herself and arrange her clothes; to avoid young trouble-making men (Queens of France, he assured her, never read a sealed letter except in their husbands' handwriting), through dealing with fleas, what are the best times to plant what plants, and when to harvest them; advice about animals, down to how to slaughter them; what you hire by way of servants, from temporary odd-jobs (where you must make the deal first) to the household servants (the younger women, in particular, ought to sleep in the mistress's chamber, with no easy egress); and a lot of recipes.

It is amusing to note that he talks of "her husband" to make sure she would apply it if she remarried; it would reflect badly on him if her second husband found she could not manage his household and be trustworthy.
Tags: history reviews: medieval, primary source review

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