Iryna Hanieckaja. Eating and Drinking in Belarusian Castles in the XVIth-XVIIIth с.
Production, processing and consumption of food have always been among the most important segments of people’s preoccupations. In the light of archaeological evidence and written sources this aspect of everyday life is analyzed in several aspects: obtaining, composition of products, storage and preservation, cooking, and consumption.
Grain occupied a very important place (rye, barley, buckwheat and millet). Meat was obtained both from domestic animals (usually 60-70%) and from hunting and fowling (normally 30-40%, sometimes reaching 70%). In addition, poultry brought eggs and cattle breeding gave milk. Castles’ inventories refer to special household buildings for preservation of milk, cheese and butter. River fish (families of Carp, Perch, Pike and Sheat-fish) was well represented in the diet. Sturgeon and Salmon were quite rare. Every castle had its own gardens to grow vegetables and herbs.
Different kinds of kitchenware and sometimes the condition of bones may say about the way of cooking. Variety of crockery and cutlery fragments has been discovered on every castle. The development of the range of crockery shows the increasing specialization in sorts of dishes and therefore more and more refined etiquette of food consummation from period to period.
So, for the period of the XVIth-XVIIIth centuries the sources for study of eating and drinking in Belarusian castles can be hardly regarded as comprehensive, nevertheless, they give us a good opportunity to reveal this aspect of life in the past ages.