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trenchers

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  • Stefan li Rous
    Tabitha Pennywarden summed up plates and trenchers with:
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 10, 2009
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      Tabitha Pennywarden summed up plates and trenchers with:

      <<< My source is a medieval English evening put together by college
      students at SUNY Plattsburgh, so I can't say it is definitive, but
      here is what I remember about what we were told about the plates in
      use around that time:
      The originals were trenchers made of hard flat bread - oval in shape -
      on which everything else was piled; meat, vegetables, etc.
      The bread absorbed the juices, and was either eaten at table, or
      handed out later in the week as alms.
      Eventually, someone got the bright idea to keep the table clean and
      safe from knife scars by putting a piece of wood under each one - that
      would be the origin of what we think of as plates, or trenchers.

      If this info is in error, blame my faulty memory, this dinner was in
      the late 70's!
      If someone wanted to do some research on the origins of trenchers or
      plates, that could be a fun study, and I hope they'll share the
      results with us. >>>

      In general you are correct. However it looks like plates both precede
      and follow the use of bread trenchers. They were probably used by the
      lower classes throughout our period. However in the upper level
      households trenchers came into fashion as a bit of conspicuous
      consumption.

      When you go looking for studies on trenchers they are apparently few
      and far between. Much of the work on them has been done by Bear, an
      SCA baker of high renown in Oklahoma. And yes, until I read his
      papers, what I knew of trenchers was much as you sum up.

      So, for more information on period trenchers, see these files in the
      FOOD-BREADS section of the Florilegium:
      Trenchers-Hst-art (14K) 9/15/06 "Trenchers - A Brief History" by HL
      Baric Firehand (Bear).
      http://www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD-BREADS/Trenchers-Hst-art.html
      trenchers-msg (106K) 9/26/06 Wooden and bread trenchers. Plates.
      http://www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD-BREADS/trenchers-msg.html

      For some info on period plates, there is also this new file in the
      FOOD-UTENSILS section:
      eating-plates-msg (18K) 7/25/09 Period eating plates. Roundels.
      http://www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD-UTENSILS/eating-plates-msg.html

      Stefan
      --------
      THLord Stefan li Rous Barony of Bryn Gwlad Kingdom of Ansteorra
      Mark S. Harris Austin, Texas StefanliRous@...
      **** See Stefan's Florilegium files at: http://www.florilegium.org ****
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