Aliki’s book is classed as fiction but would be more useful to a teacher or student as nonfiction. It explains an incident instead of telling a story. From first notice to the end of the meal, Aliki explains what was involved in creating a medieval feast for a visiting King. She clearly describes the gathering, processing and preparing, and presentation of meat, fish, and baked items. Along the way, she clarifies the class system of the Middle Ages. Readers will be astonished at the work and expense expected from the host. Food presentation was elaborate to the point of pageantry.
As well as a step-by-step detail of the meal, Aliki adds notations to her detailed illustrations, such as, “Trenchers were flat, coarse bread used in place of plates. Peasants ate theirs, but the rich gave their trenchers to the poor. Other breads are made of the finest flower.” In the picture we see a peasant harvesting grain with the scythe, a miller grinding the seeds with a waterwheel powered mill, a baker loading the stone oven, and two men carrying away the finished trenchers.
Using the tapestries of Medieval times for inspiration, Aliki frames her pictures with patterns and imitation gold leaf. The scenes are drawn in the style of 15th century illustration. Several pages have tiny labelled illustrations of plants and animals used in meals.
This book would be a valuable addition to any classroom studying Medieval Times. Children interested in the lavishness of historic royalty would also enjoy the book.