Unique insights into a monastery church and school

Alpirsbach Monastery

Exhibits at Alpirsbach Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Werner Hiller-König
NUTRITIOUS MEALS WERE NOT PROVIDED

FOOD AND DRINK

After the dissolution of the monastery, the Rule of St. Benedict no longer applied. Students at evangelical monastery schools had different dietary requirements than the monks. Even meat made it back on the table!

Historic table ware from the 16th century. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Werner Hiller-König

16th-century table ware.

MONASTERY STUDENT FARE

The students' meals are revealed in detail in a report by the monastery's administrator from November 10, 1576. For example, Sunday mornings there was "1. Beef ragout, 2. Soup, 3. Meat, four on the upper table, three on the lower table, … each meat dish 6 pounds, 4. Turnips or cabbage." Of course, weekday meals were simpler. For example, dried cod was served on Fridays. However, nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables were rarely on the menu.

Monastery visitor in historic garb. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Maulbronn local administration

Cheers!

WINE FOR THE STUDENTS

The administrator's report also provides information on beverages. According to it, each student received a "quarter liter" of wine with their meal, also called a "Breyßgeuwer", likely a wine made from the Breisgau agricultural region. On high holidays, they received a double serving.

Caricature of seven students at a set table, from the monastery museum. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Werner Hiller-König

Meals were a raucous affair.

SMILING FACES

The monastery students seemed to like the food. Or maybe it was the wine... In examining the student drawings that were amongst the everyday items found at Alpirsbach, it is worth noting that all the students are drawn with smiling faces.

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