Concentrating on Friars Carpini and Rubruck’s accounts of their 13th-century journeys among the Mongols, this paper examines their observations on all aspects of the food and drink of their hosts, including diet, religion, cultural practices, and hospitality. Subsisting on the Mongols’s frugal diet was itself a problem for the travellers, but the alien nature of the food and its rituals presented them with complex challenges. I explore how Carpini’s and Rubruck’s differing reactions, ranging from cultural disdain to open-minded appreciation, exemplify their divergent perceptions of the Mongols overall.
What was on the menu in Blackfriars Hall in the Middle Ages? The dietary programme for the Friars Preachers of the Dominican Order is a story of regulations, dispensations, violations, and renewed admonitions on the one hand, as evidenced through various types of legislative sources, and on the other hand a study of various more daily-life-sources as to what the friars actually ate and drank. Based on a broad variety of interdisciplinary sources, this paper will present examples of the dietary ideals and practice for the friars of the Dominican Order in the province of Dacia (Scandinavia) – including evidence of food’s central role in the Order’s late medieval reform movement.