Winning Wednesday: Warhorse Bumper Sticker

Behold the Dawn by K.M. WeilandThis week’s Winning Wednesday winner is Teresa Webb. In order to win the Behold the Dawn Tote Bag, she answered the question “What did noblemen do with their trenchers—the dried bread “plates” off which they ate—when they were finished with a meal?” The correct response was B “Gave them to the poor.”

Dining in the Middle Ages

Instead of plates, most people used a trencher, a piece of stale bread, which was usually allowed to dry out for a day so that it wouldn’t absorb all the juices of the food placed upon it. Wealthy nobles sometimes ate off manchets, a wheaten yeast bread in a round loaf. Courtesy dictated that no one bite into the trencher, since they were customarily given to the poor (or, in lieu of the poor—as several people reminded me—fed to the dogs).

Congratulations, Teresa! Your prize is in the mail! Please feel free to enter again.

A few interesting facts about medieval meals:

  • Diners were served in a fixed order: first the visiting clergy, then the visiting nobles, then the lord and his lady, then the retainers.
  • Spoons were provided by the host, but guests were expected to bring their own knives to the table (forks weren’t invented until the late fourteenth century and weren’t common until the Renaissance).
  • The blessing was traditionally spoken by the youngest family member or by a visiting clergyman.
  • Cucumbers, leeks, and raw fruits were avoided as unhealthy.
  • Buttering one’s bread with one’s thumbs was considered bad manners.
  • The two customary meals of the day were served at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Spoons were placed facedown “to keep out the devil.”
  • Good manners dictated that one wipe one’s sticky fingers on one’s bread.

This week’s prize: A “My other ride is a warhorse” bumper sticker.This week’s question: In what year did Pope Innocent II ban the tourneys—the huge mock battles which were the predecessors of the slightly more civilized jousting tournaments? (Hint: You can find the answer here!)

Excerpt From Behold the Dawn

In Behold the Dawn, Marcus Annan, a tourneyer famous for his skills on the field of battle, tangles with a young knight at a tourney:

The knight’s sword struck Annan’s with all the furor of a young body and determined mind. With a flick of his wrist, Annan separated the blades even as he galloped past. The knight turned back to confront him, and he brought his sword before his face in a salute, perhaps recognizing Annan as the famed Scottish tourneyer. Then he sheathed the sword and drew, from beneath the brocade of his horse’s caparison, a new weapon. The setting sun, burning gold through the dust of the field, glinted against the iron tip of a war hammer.

Annan’s blood pumped heat into his muscles. The rules of this tourney banned the war hammer from competition; its lethal heft would crush armor and shatter flesh and bone alike. His fist tightened on his sword hilt, the leather finger of his gauntlet creaking against the steel of the crossguard. Marcus Annan wasted no mercy on duplicitous knaves.

The purple knight laid his spurs to

his horse. The war hammer rose above his head, its point flashing once across the face of the dying sun. Annan charged to meet him.

To enter this week’s contest, use the form at the bottom of the left-hand column to email your best guess. Deadline is Tuesday, July 21, 6:00 p.m. MST. One name will be selected from the correct entries and announced next Wednesday.

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. Thanks for the tidbits of facts on medieval times. I’m in the middle of a Arthurian legend series by Mary Stewart, so it’s fun to pick out the differences. I don’t remember what time period Arthur occupied.

  2. If I’m not mistaken, most of the Arthurian legends took place in the Dark Ages, around 500. I’m actually looking for a good Arthur book; I’ll take a peek at this Mary Stewart series!

  3. You’ve come up with three incredible prizes–I want one of each–and I can’t even get Author Culture’s t-shirts done!

    Send your gift of marketing my way, would ya?

  4. Better dive in and submit your entry then! 🙂

  5. Okay, I am gonna try this one. need a sec to find the answer… I’ll be back to submit.

  6. Okay, I am gonna try this one. need a sec to find the answer… I’ll be back to submit.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Oh, how I wish I knew more! I may never win one of your “Winning Wednesday” contests!

  9. Did you catch the link at the end of this week’s question? I give the answer there! You can also find it by googling.

  10. I loved this week’s facts about medieval meals!

  11. Glad you enjoyed them! I had fun putting them together.

  12. Those are some interesting facts! I love learning about different times!

  13. History’s fascinating, isn’t it? That fact about not buttering your bread with your thumbs particularly cracked me up.

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