Food in Late Medieval English Literature | Newberry

Food in Late Medieval English Literature

Led by Sarah Kernan. Three sessions. 6 - 7:30 pm.
Thursday, November 5, 2020
Thursdays, November 5 - November 19


As a precaution to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Adult Education Seminars Program’s Fall 2020 term will continue to be held virtually. Virtual seminars meet via Zoom video conference and use email and Google Drive folders to share resources and communicate with instructors and participants. For more information about the Newberry’s virtual seminars and these tools, including a Zoom tutorial, please see our Virtual Seminars FAQ page. If you have questions about online learning, please feel free to reach out to

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Seminar Description

Food was an important feature of everyday life in the Middle Ages and appeared regularly in late medieval English literature. Writers used cultural conventions surrounding food and dining to illuminate ideas about power, class, gender, spirituality, and much more. In this seminar, we will read and discuss excerpts from some of the most celebrated works in the medieval English literary canon, examining how and why the authors of these texts turned to depictions of food and dining.

Three sessions. Registration – $125

Sarah Peters Kernan, independent culinary historian, holds a PhD in medieval history from The Ohio State University. Her research focuses on cookbooks in medieval and early modern England. She is co-editor of The Recipes Project and collaborates regularly with the Newberry.

Materials List


  • A free digital course packet of additional material, compiled by the instructor and distributed electronically before the seminar begins.

First Reading:

  • Please read the following items in the course packet for our first session: 1) “The General Prologue” of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer and 2) excerpts from Havelok the Dane.

Registration Information

Online registration opens at 9 am (CDT) on Tuesday, September 1st.

Please note: Due to COVID-19, the Adult Education Seminars staff is working remotely and will be unable to process registration over the phone. For more information about registration, including a guide to online registration, see our Registration Information page. Questions? Please contact seminars program staff via email at

We offer a 10% discount to members, seniors, and students.

This seminar is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about registering for a seminar, program policies, or teaching a seminar.