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Does Saxon food matter?

(172 Posts)
learnandsay Mon 31-Dec-12 10:21:01

When I can I take my daughter to historical re-enactments. We haven't been to many yet and those that we have been to she hasn't liked much, except parts of Norwich castle.) The Viking one that we went to recently had open fires and the smoke got in her eyes. Then men with chain-mail and heavy shields fought and she asked if we could go home! But she did seem to absorb lots of details about their clothes, their food, their cooking methods and so on. So, even though she claimed not to have liked it I think that trip was worth it. Thinking about King Alfred makes me think of Saxon food. But in practice it seems so similar to Viking food that it doesn't seem worth making a special effort to visit such a re-enactment. Would this be fair? My daughter is very young. I think perhaps we'll visit Winchester when she's older. But for now we'll read about Sutton Hoo, (maybe visit) but beyond that will leave the Saxons alone.

Tiggles Thu 31-Jan-13 14:32:24

Or possibly too much Horrible Histories off the tv...

Tiggles Thu 31-Jan-13 14:31:41

Mine does, but he has Aspergers and history is his special interest.
By the time he was 4 he could recognise way more historical people than I could.

I think my younger 2 do, as they have learnt it all from him.

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 14:10:59

Because the entire thread is about teaching children historical facts. Stealth boast! That's a mumsnettism isn't it? Are you quite sure it's not a nonsensical one?

TravelinColour Thu 31-Jan-13 14:07:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

learnandsay Thu 31-Jan-13 14:03:42

Do children normally remember random historical facts? Last autumn our library had a pretty small and poor display of Henry VIII & wives portraits. They were tiny and I pointed them out to my daughter and told her which ones were which. We've just seen a Tudor house on TV and I told her those houses are from Henry VIII's time expecting her to have no idea who he was. He was the one with all the wives she told me. I was a bit stunned. The exhibition, for want of a better word, was rubbish.

mrz Thu 24-Jan-13 21:28:07

From memory it was a medieval encampment (my father bought my daughter a dress and blue wool surcoat and a stool from the same group) but I can't recall the name of the group.

piggywigwig Thu 24-Jan-13 21:10:10

"I've eaten at Kirby Hall as a member of the public but it was a few years ago and certainly at other events we've attended."

Well, you have me please tell which living history camp you got to try food at the Kirby Hall "History in Action" smile

GrimmaTheNome Thu 03-Jan-13 16:54:29

>perhaps you should be asking your dd what activities SHE would like to do?

A small child wouldn't have any idea of the wealth of different things available to kids nowadays - that's why I reckon you need to do a bit of lots of different things. Obviously you may want to do more of one particular type if it coincides with your own interests.

Meeknmild Thu 03-Jan-13 16:27:35

Umm ... perhaps you should be asking your dd what activities SHE would like to do?

Houseworkprocrastinator Tue 01-Jan-13 21:51:01 and that one too smile

Houseworkprocrastinator Tue 01-Jan-13 21:50:02

If you are ever in south wales area...

I believe they do events at the medieval village on bank holidays in spring/summer

BigSpork Tue 01-Jan-13 21:28:28

An upcoming event which may interesting - the University of Leicester's The past Beneath Your Feet, a family day of history and archaeology which says will include 5 reenactment groups and a loads of hands-on activities:

Wigeon Tue 01-Jan-13 17:33:26

I can't believe no one has mentioned the summer Tudor recreations at Kentwell Hall! They are absolutely fantastic. Around 200 (volunteer) participants re-enacting a Tudor manor, from the Lords and Ladies to the cooks and woodsmen. It really is like stepping back in town. The participants act as though you really have time-travelled (eg "I am stirring this pottage", not "they stired the pottage like this". It's quite magical.

I participated in one of the re-creations a few years ago (including making my own really quite realistic costume) and had a complete ball - spent a whole week as a Tudor, including eating Tudor food apart from the evenings when we all had pizza. It's my ambition to take DH and the DDs one year as participants although we live rather a long way from it at the moment.

Sabriel Tue 01-Jan-13 11:28:09

My dad loved history and dragged us round castles until we were bored to tears. We didn't just visit, he used to quiz us about it too. Did put me off history until I was almost 30. At that point I took a history degree and bored my kids rigid dragging them around hillforts grin

Having said that, they got a lot out of Sutton Hoo, West Stow Anglo Saxon village and Grimes Graves, and they were a similar age to your DD.

But we also went on trips to the seaside, to theme parks, to the countryside and to the shops and the cinema and the local swings. In other words, a bit of everything. History 24/7 will just put her off for life.

mrz Tue 01-Jan-13 10:19:03

Isn't all history "lies" in that it has a bias

learnandsay Mon 31-Dec-12 23:02:03

All text except logic and mathematics is a lie of some sort.

UniS Mon 31-Dec-12 22:33:37

Isn't school history " lies to children" along the same lines as much school " science" is. Not strickly accurate but understandable and easy to remember.

Any primary child who claims to "understand " how electricity works , doesn't. Mind you nor do most adults.

mrz Mon 31-Dec-12 18:50:11

Yes the only times I've been to Kirby Hall has been for the August events

learnandsay Mon 31-Dec-12 18:44:05

Laura Kelly makes her own version of guarum in her back yard

piggywigwig Mon 31-Dec-12 18:32:25


yes...Kirby Hall sadly ended a good few years ago. Did you eat at one of the Living History group's camps at the August multi-period Kirby?

piggywigwig Mon 31-Dec-12 18:30:57

gotta dash out but will get back more fully. Regarding the garum, one of my lecturers swore blind that worcestershire sauce was the closest modern equivalent in terms of ingredients and taste. I can't recall what UK site bore the evidence, but I seem to recall that someone had supposed garum residues analysed.

mrz Mon 31-Dec-12 18:29:47

I've eaten at Kirby Hall as a member of the public but it was a few years ago and certainly at other events we've attended. We've been to Roman cookery /tasting arranged by my county council at the closest Roman site and Bede's World and Danelaw will provide food/feasts

learnandsay Mon 31-Dec-12 18:27:57

Years ago before we had the children we stopped the car at some kind of village festival. They had some sort of dress up mock battle going on, but it was not a full-scale re-enactment as such. There was archery for the public and a hog roast. I can't remember what facilities the hog was being roasted in, but if you joined the queue and paid you got hot pork in a bun. I'm guessing there are degrees of public facilities for food and other things and degrees of authenticity and difficulty concerning food handling and storage. But I don't think I'd consider joining a re-enactment just to get a historical meal. I really do think that would be counter productive. If my daughter wants to join in such things when she's older then of course we will.

piggywigwig Mon 31-Dec-12 18:19:16

As members of the crowd you can eat depending on the event organisers learnandsay

We weren't allowed to offer the public any food at all and we were always being asked if we could let them try. One of the reasons, was that the budget wasn't set for providing food for the public. We were also told that strict food hygiene laws (food preparation and storage) made it difficult to comply with the local council's rules/guidance. Insurance providers got very "edgy", especially with living histories in the middle of a field, liberally decorated with sheep poo and devoid of fridges lol grin.
I have no doubt that re-enactment groups do provide food for the public to taste...but I never saw it, even at English Heritage's multi-period spectacular at Kirby Hall. Those with access to modern kitchen facilities and adequate storage may have more leeway

learnandsay Mon 31-Dec-12 18:18:58

We've only been to small things so far. The Vikings event was on a local heath. Years ago before the children came we cooked a Roman meal at home. It was lovely, very different from modern food (ok, so we had no garum,) but still it was different. We've planned to do a similar thing with another family but haven't gotten around to it yet. Much like the books people have posted, you don't have to go to some event to eat food from history.

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