AskDefine | Define frumenty

Dictionary Definition

frumenty n : sweet spiced porridge made from hulled wheat

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


  1. A spiced porridge made by boiling culled wheat.

Extensive Definition

Frumenty (sometimes furmity, fromity, or fermenty) was a popular dish in Western European medieval cuisine. It was made primarily from boiled, cracked wheat. Different recipes added milk, eggs or broth. Other recipes include almonds, currants, rum, sugar, saffron and orange flower water. Frumenty was served with meat as a pottage, traditionally with venison or occasionally porpoise.
For several centuries, frumenty was part of the traditional Celtic Christmas meal. In England it was often eaten on Mothering Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent. On that day many servants were allowed to visit their mothers and were often served frumenty to celebrate and give them a wholesome meal to prepare them for their return journey. The use of eggs would have been a brief respite from the Lenten fast.
The dish, described as 'furmity' and served with fruit and a slug of rum added under the counter, plays a major role in the plot of Thomas Hardy's novel The Mayor of Casterbridge. It is also mentioned in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass as a food that snap-dragon flies live on.


  • Black, William (2005) The Land that Thyme Forgot Bantam. ISBN 0593 053621; p. 346
  • Adamson, Melitta Weiss (2004) Food in Medieval Times ISBN 0-313-32147-7
  • Middle Ages recipes

See also

  • Kutia, Eastern European dish of a similar recipe
frumenty in Spanish: Frumenty
frumenty in Hebrew: פרומנטי
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