Asia and the Renaissance

Merry Company by Gerard van HonthorstMerry Company by Gerard van Honthorst

It’s easy to picture the Renaissance as a bunch of white men in Italy drinking pewter cups of mead, sculpting away like their Hellenistic ancestors, and discovering new worlds willy nilly thanks to their fantastic and fantastical notions of the earth’s sphericality.

Alas, history is always more complicated and sordid than we would like.

No one really thought the world was flat, much of the Renaissance is a rehashing of long-held Islamic knowledge, not only did Vikings beat the murdering rapist Columbus by centuries (admittedly murdering rapists themselves), but beer was the go-to drink of the Renaissance and Asia was the continent that really figured out what to do with New World ingredients.

Who can picture Thailand without peanut sauce? Who would want vindaloo with tomatoes? Who could picture szechuan sauce without peppers?

Unfortunately, the one good story everyone knows about Asian influence on the European diet is false. Marco Polo did not, in fact, bring noodles to Italy.

To do  our part to pay homage to the many cultures that get left out of the history books, we’re hosting a special feast on Saturday, June 16th, Asian Influence: A Traditional Renaissance Feast to explore the impact of Asian food and ingredients on European Cuisine.

Join the Mead Hall team and the mastermind behind Hot Thai Guy Food for one night only to get psyched for a slightly cerebral, absolutely delicious, and positively unique look at the Renaissance before Vermont’s one and only Ren Faire on June 23rd and 24th!


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