Gifts of food in late medieval England
Journal of Medieval History, 37, (1), . (doi:10.1016/j.jmedhist.2010.12.004).
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Gifts of food were an integral part of late medieval culture. Small items, such as fruit, might be given by anyone. As part of commensality, sociability, hospitality and charity, food gifts underpinned customary patterns of life; they developed networks of relationships, establishing good lordship, and played an important role in negotiations. Patterns of giving demonstrate the distinctiveness and appropriateness of some categories of foodstuff, and illuminate the purposes of donors. Changes over time can be identified: indiscriminate hospitality or large-scale food alms fell out of common practice after the Black Death and gifts of money were preferred in some circumstances. Giving choice foodstuffs, however, remained a constant.
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