Friday, October 23, 2009


I saw this article in the weird news yesterday about an Italian man who has "invented" an edible plate made of bread. "Designed" would be a better word, since the inventor of edible plates is lost to history. They were, in fact, used in the Middle Ages and are called trenchers (definition here, see last entry). These thick round or rectangular slices of stale bread were used at the table to hold meat and salt. Sometimes they were shared between two diners, as is shown in the above illustration of the legendary Round Table of King Arthur, set in the 6th c. In an elaborate meal, trenchers were replaced with each course, with servants removing "all broke cromys, bonys, and trenchours before the secunde cours and servise be served." Later made of earthenware, wood, or metal, trenchers were made of coarse bread well into the 16th c. The man who has reinvented them today hopes they will be used in schools and eaten afterward by the students or fed to animals. The gravy-soaked trenchers were also "recycled" in medieval times: if they were not eaten by the diners, they were fed to dogs or given to the poor.

1 comment:

  1. This is fascinating Chris; have two unmarked silver open salt "trenchers" acquired today and wondering from what era they are...perhaps Tudor or Georgian


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