Unique insights into a monastery church and school

Alpirsbach Monastery

Student drawing from the Alpirsbach Monastery find. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Werner Hiller-König
MEAL PLANS

EATING AND DRINKING

AT THE MONASTERY SCHOOL

Alpirsbach students ate two meals a day, served in the "Hofstube." Their menu included primarily soups, meat and bread, but relatively few fruits or vegetables - and an astounding amount of wine, by today's standards.

Pitcher, bowl and vesper breadboard with engraved nine men's morris game from the monastery's days as a school, Alpirsbach Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Helga Bessler

Pitcher, bowl and vesper breadboard belonging to monastery students.

MEALTIMES

The monastery students were served two meals a day. The first meal was served at 9:00 AM in the summer and 10:00 AM in the winter. The second meal was always served at 5:00 PM. Sunday meals followed the same schedule as weekday meals. Students were seated seven to a table in the "Hofstube." These details are found in a report by the Alpirsbach monastery administrator from November 10, 1576.

Monastery museum, Alpirsbach Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Petra Schaffrodt

Dishes, cups and pitchers from Alpirsbach's time as a monastery school, now displayed in the monastery museum.

WHAT WAS ON THE MENU?

Every monastery student was given the following on a Sunday morning: 1. Beef ragout, 2. Soup, 3. Meat, 6 pounds for each meat meal, 4. Turnips or cabbage, according to the administrator's report. Soup, meat and barley porridge were also served in the evenings. On weekdays, the meals were somewhat simpler; dried cod was served on Fridays. Fruits and vegetables were not served often, and when they were, the selection was limited. The cook also served the students soup and bread in the schoolroom at 7:00 AM. Students received a total of six loaves of bread a day. On holidays, veal or pork roast was served; on Shrove Tuesday, small "Fasnachtküchlein" (shrovetide baked goods) were served in the morning and evening.

Children as monks, part of the children's program at Bebenhausen Monastery. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Thomas Kiel

Children dressed as monastery students at the monastery.

DRINK OF THE WINE

In the morning and evening, each student was served "a cup of Breyßgeuwer, but not the best wine," as per the monastery administrator's report from 1576. On holidays, such as Christmas, New Years, Shrove Tuesday, Easter and Pentecost, each student received an additional "cup," which corresponds to 0.4 liters or 13.5 ounces. A survey of the Maulbronn monastery school from 1753 revealed that only three of the total 29 students drank their wine rations themselves. The others all sold their wine, for example to monastery handymen.

Caricature of students, circa 1830 to 1850, Maulbronn Monastery information center. Image: Staatliche Schlösser und Gärten Baden-Württemberg, Julia Haseloff

Monastery students at Maulbronn Monastery.

STUDENT DISSATISFACTION

Complaints about the food have been documented at Maulbronn Monastery: School administrators recorded the dining hall complaints about the food, the review of the complaints and the subsequent judgment in a log book, which was kept from 1875 on. For example, an entry from 1889: A student complained about the taste of the soup. A review determined that the soup was truly inedible. As compensation, each student received two pretzels on the following Sunday.

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