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Before Tupperware, Medieval Europeans Used Pastry Coffins– A Storage Invention That Paved The Way For Pies

mizina - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only

Before the invention of Tupperware and clingwrap, Medieval Europeans had to get creative about how they stored food. And what they ultimately came up with was known as a pastry coffin.

Yes, the word “coffin” might immediately bring to mind graveyards and ghouls. But during the twelfth century, these coffyns encased delicious foods rather than the deceased– sort of like a dough box, if you will.

The containers were stiff pastries made from water, flour, and sometimes fat. And they were used to preserve foods but were rarely ever eaten themselves.

Due to this, the first pastry coffins were often just constructed to be sturdy rather than tasty. After all, since they only needed to serve a protective purpose, why season or add fat to the containers?

Chefs of Medieval times used the glutinous dough to seal and preserve various foods, which may sound offputting in modern times. In fact, one of the most popular delicacies was lamprey, an eel-like fish with spiraling teeth.

These fish are now well-known for their appearance in horror movies, but back in the day, lampreys were considered meals fit for kings and queens.

Chefs would season the fish with everything from parsley and mint to ginger and cinnamon. Then, they would seal the lamprey inside of a pastry coffin to cook.

Finally, once roasted through, the pastry coffin lids would be sliced off to reveal the sweet and salty lamprey feasting.

Interestingly enough, though, the edible coffins were also used to house the living as a sort of entertaining party game.

mizina – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only

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