Were we to attend a 16th-century court banquet in France or England, the food would seem strange indeed to anyone accustomed to traditional Western cooking. Dishes might include blancmange—a thick puree of rice and chicken moistened with milk from ground almonds and then sprinkled with sugar and fried pork fat. Roast suckling pig might be accompanied by a cameline sauce, a side dish made of sour grape juice thickened with bread crumbs, ground raisins and crushed almonds and spiced with cinnamon and cloves. Other offerings might include fava beans cooked in meat stock and sprinkled with chopped mint—or quince paste, a sweetmeat of quinces and sugar or honey. To wash it all down, we would probably drink hypocras, a mulled red wine seasoned with ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and sugar.