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Medieval cuisine
Accern ranks coverage of publicly-traded companies on a scale of -1 to 1, with scores nearest to one being the most favorable. Judging from the advice given in many medieval documents on how to salvage wine that bore signs of going bad, preservation must have been a widespread problem. Planning on finishing up the second month and then on the 3rd month working in more home cooked meals and tracking to stay at the same calorie level. There are foods like buffalo wing pretzels, pulled pork wraps, cinnamon buns, pancakes and many other great tasting foods. Various legumes , like chickpeas , fava beans and field peas were also common and important sources of protein , especially among the lower classes.

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I did feel healthier at which I managed to maintain for 20 something years. In 3 years I graduated a size I weighed when I graduated. I still weigh 10 years later and feel awful. I too started to eat out and drink wine. I only hope I have the will power to succeed this time. I feel I have to become a hermit and say no to going out with my friends, neighbors and family.

But now I am older and I dread the fact it may take me years to lose all this fat. But I have only myself to blame. Reading your story has given me some inspiration. I am going to make 10 weight loss increments only as to not get discouraged. Thank you for sharing your story. Hi Cheryl- Thanks for reading, and sharing…What an inspiring story!

I still have a drink occasionally, but try to keep it limited to social gatherings and not an everyday thing. In any case, best of luck with your weight loss journey! Norman, you seem to know the NS diet very well.

I have been on this diet around 7 years ago and I see a few new changes this time. My order has arrived and I unpacked my Turbo Box yet did not keep that food separate, and now i am really unsure of what was in it for my first week….

Best of luck with the program. Hope that helps -NS. You want to be at your goal weight then, not wishing you did something about it yrs ago. No, you cannot pound them back, but I am not sure why you would want to anyway. Co-workers always ask me to go out for a drink and they order whatever and I order a diet coke. You could blame it on medication if you want. When I go out to eat or go to cookouts, etc.

I order a meat and a vegetable with a diet soda. No potato or anything. At a cookout it would be a burger or chicken with no bread, and a tossed salad or veggie. You CAN do it. You just have to order carefully. I wish you luck. You can do, I know you can. It is so nice to read a positive article about Nutrisystem. You are so right about your body becoming used to the smaller portions.

Like anything, your body goes through an adjustment period, but after a few days, it is quite easy. With frequent snacks between meals, as well as plenty of fluids, you are eating pretty much whenever you feel hungry. Hi, thanks for the great review! Thanks for the nice comment: Excited to hear how Nutrisystem goes for you — let us know!

Hi Ellen — You definitely need to talk with your doctor before trying Nutrisystem or any weight loss plan with your health issues, but they do offer a plan for people with diabetes. I would recommend checking out their site to learn more about the different plans they offer. They also offer snacks and shakes as options over the course of the day, so that helps with the extra cravings too. Hope that helps, and best of luck with your weight loss journey!

Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with us so I came to give it a look. Exceptional blog and brilliant design and style. Thanks for the kind words and for visiting the site — let me know your Twitter handle so I can return the favor!

Those first 2 weeks i dropped 13 lbs, but that third week i lost maybe 1 lb. I was only eating the provided meals the first two weeks usually around only calories per day obviously that was unhealthy, so i added in a few snacks to put me right around calories per day. But unfortunately that has resulted in minimal weight loss. Did you have plateaus like this?

And how did you over come these stalls? I did just purchase an elliptical and also a stationary bike, but only on day 2 with those. Your review was wonderful and very well written, so thank you! Hi Julie- Thank you so much for sharing your story, and way to go for making it through your first month! I think the calorie restriction is the hardest part about Nutrisystem, and why now I typically only do the diet for a month or two and then really focus on just eating right and getting enough exercise after that.

For me, the approach after Nutrisystem has been intermittent fasting IF. That said, I have had a lot of success with it, and find that I can maintain a healthy weight for long stretches of time when using it.

I started with the turbo charge and continued now for almost 3 weeks. I have only lost 3 lbs. When I emailed a counselor they said that was normal and I was doing well. Big hope very disappointed. In any case, hope the rest of your month goes well, and best of luck moving forward. I just started Nutrisystem.

I always lost weight on the low carb diet when I was younger. But the fat intake was not good. Just to avoid all the carbs… Did you or anyone else have a issue with how many carbs are in each meal? Is this ok lol… Please someone assure me all the carbs are ok! Thanks for visting, and best of luck with your first month! Thanks for the excellent review and videos. Excited to see what kind of progress I can make. Hi Krystal — thanks for visiting the site, and taking the time to read my review and watch the videos.

Always happy to hear that it helped! Thanks for the great info and for sharing your story! Thanks for the kind words, June! Congrats on taking the first step and best of luck with Nutrisystem — hope it goes well! I mastered more new things on this fat reduction issue. An enormous reduction in junk food, sugary foods, fried foods, sugary foods, beef, and white flour products may perhaps be necessary. Holding wastes unwanted organisms, and wastes may prevent ambitions for fat-loss.

While specific drugs for the short term solve the situation, the unpleasant side effects are certainly not worth it, plus they never present more than a short-term solution. Many thanks sharing your thinking on this weblog. Thanks for the input Saul.

Have you ever considered creating an ebook or guest authoring about Nutrisystem on other sites? I know my readers would appreciate your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send me an email.

Hi Lance — I actually do have an eBook in the works, so stay tuned for that! I just wanted to say that this post is awesome, well written and lots of useful Nutrisystem info. Looking forward to my first shipment. Hi Corburt — Thanks for the kind words, and best of luck with your first month — hope it goes well! I just wanted to offer you a huge thumbs up for the great information you have right here on this post. I will be returning to your site for more soon!

This blog looks exactly like my old one! Great choice of colors! Really inspired by your story — thanks for sharing! I am planning to start Nutrisystem after the New Year. Hi Erin — Thanks so much for the positive feedback. The first time I ever used Nutrisytem, which was many years ago at this point, I think I was one it for 4 months. I had a lot more weight to lose then; now when I sign up, I usually use it for a month, maybe two at the most. To lock in the auto delivery deal, you have to commit to two months, so if you hit your weight loss goals after month 1, I recommend switching your order to just the Turbo Shakes — that will ensure you lock in the most savings, and also helps to keep you on track once you start transitioning off the program.

As I have said before, you have to be committed to the program to get results, but as long as you follow their plan you will lose weight! Anyways, best of luck and please let us know how it goes: Thanks for sharing your story. Drinking over ounces and eating tons of leafy greens. I did NS about 4 years ago lost almost This past July was told my chloerstral and blood pressure was too high for 28 year old.

So black Friday I ordered when prices decreased. Hi Amanda — Thanks for visiting and reading my story. Hope it goes as well this time around. Thanks for sharing your superb review. You have a lot of good info here. I am looking for a diet to try just after the new year, and this might be the one.

Either way, appreciate all of the details you shared. Thanks, just what I was looking for. I have about 20 pounds to lose — is this doable in a month or two?

Hi Sam — Thanks for the positive feedback. Losing 20 pounds is definitely doable with Nutrisystem, but I would budget at least two months.

We also do not want to purchase ANY other food if possible. Hi Lynn — I replied to Ray with a couple of other options BistroMD and Diet-to-Go …I would recommend checking out those reviews if you think they may be something that would work for you and your husband.

There are definitely some ways to keep the costs down though. You will definitely want to incorporate fresh produce, though, as I think you would get tired of only eating their pre-made meals, and you will want to mix in a salad or something on most days just to get the health benefits from the fresh produce if nothing else.

Hi Pete — the frozen food is an additional charge, but can be included in your 4-week order or as an ala carte item. Many are on a fixed income and I am one of them … an older woman, a widow, and on a very fixed income. With the profit your company surely must realize, might you consider offering your program free to a few deserving people men and women who would benefit from it as well? Just something you might consider … it just might be of benefit to your company in another way … good will!

The Costco purchased gift cards can definitely be used and there is a space at checkout to put them in. You will just have to make sure you put the gift card in a few days before the processing date for additional deliveries.

I just went through this whole process and received my order today. Thanks for the very thorough cost information. Helped make my decision a lot easier. I agree, too, the frozen meals are definitely a nice bonus — especially the desserts! There are some costs with buying your own fruits or vegetables to consider too, but overall it seems fairly affordable. Anyways, thanks for the detailed pricing breakdown, really appreciate it.

Is it organic or are there a lot of preservatives in It. Hi Isabel — Thanks for visiting. Hi Arlene — Thanks for visiting. I have always found it to be very easy to opt out. As long as you stay on the program for at least two months, you should be able to cancel without paying any type of penalty if you need to cancel after month 1 I mention one way to avoid the penalty in the review above , and customer service has always been very easy to deal with when I have needed to call them.

I live in Ottawa Ontario Canada. Where in Canada can I join. Are the costs of the meals increased to take in the difference between the American and Canadian do. Also what about duty and taxes, as well as shipping fees. I am a woman ,77 yrs old and need to lose at least 25 lbs. Please try to enlighten me. Thank you very much for your assistance. What exactly is in the Turbo Shakes? Are the ingredients identified on the package?

Best of luck — Norm. Hi Obie — I added a picture of the nutrition fact label on our Nutrisystem Shake page.

I have limited freezer space and feel that the frozen foods would be the way for me to start and continue a controlled size appropriate diet. Does anyone offer three or four shipments monthly? If you get the Basic plan none of the foods are frozen, so that may be another option you could consider. Diet-to-Go has a weekly shipment option — we have a review about them here: Hope that helps — NS.

I have used your plan several years ago and did loose weight, but have gained some back. I am 81 yrs old and on a fixed income now. Having to buy extra food is not feasible me.

Any suggestions how I can use your plan without extra purchases? Notify me of new posts by email. Leave this field empty. Happy to help Tod…Thanks for reading! I adore this site — its so usefull and helpful!

Thanks, glad you find it helpful! Great, detailed price breakdown. During this period, diets and cooking changed less than they did in the early modern period that followed, when those changes helped lay the foundations for modern European cuisine.

Cereals remained the most important staple during the early Middle Ages as rice was introduced late, and the potato was only introduced in , with a much later date for widespread consumption. Barley , oat and rye were eaten by the poor. Wheat was for the governing classes. These were consumed as bread , porridge , gruel and pasta by all of society's members.

Fava beans and vegetables were important supplements to the cereal-based diet of the lower orders. Phaseolus beans, today the " common bean ", were of New World origin and were introduced after the Columbian Exchange in the 16th century. Meat was more expensive and therefore more prestigious. Game , a form of meat acquired from hunting, was common only on the nobility's tables. The most prevalent butcher's meats were pork , chicken and other domestic fowl ; beef , which required greater investment in land, was less common.

Cod and herring were mainstays among the northern populations; dried, smoked or salted, they made their way far inland, but a wide variety of other saltwater and freshwater fish was also eaten. Slow transportation and food preservation techniques based on drying, salting , smoking and pickling made long-distance trade of many foods very expensive.

As each level of society imitated the one above it, innovations from international trade and foreign wars from the 12th century onward gradually disseminated through the upper middle class of medieval cities. Aside from economic unavailability of luxuries such as spices, decrees outlawed consumption of certain foods among certain social classes and sumptuary laws limited conspicuous consumption among the nouveaux riches.

Social norms also dictated that the food of the working class be less refined, since it was believed there was a natural resemblance between one's labour and one's food; manual labour required coarser, cheaper food.

A type of refined cooking developed in the late Middle Ages that set the standard among the nobility all over Europe. Common seasonings in the highly spiced sweet-sour repertory typical of upper-class medieval food included verjuice , wine and vinegar in combination with spices such as black pepper , saffron and ginger. These, along with the widespread use of sugar or honey , gave many dishes a sweet-sour flavour. Almonds were very popular as a thickener in soups , stews , and sauces , particularly as almond milk.

The cuisines of the cultures of the Mediterranean Basin had since antiquity been based on cereals, particularly various types of wheat. Porridge, gruel and later, bread, became the basic food staple that made up the majority of calorie intake for most of the population.

In colder climates, however, it was usually unaffordable for the majority population, and was associated with the higher classes. The centrality of bread in religious rituals such as the Eucharist meant that it enjoyed an especially high prestige among foodstuffs. Only olive oil and wine had a comparable value, but both remained quite exclusive outside the warmer grape- and olive-growing regions. The symbolic role of bread as both sustenance and substance is illustrated in a sermon given by Saint Augustine:.

This bread retells your history … You were brought to the threshing floor of the Lord and were threshed … While awaiting catechism , you were like grain kept in the granary … At the baptismal font you were kneaded into a single dough. In the oven of the Holy Ghost you were baked into God's true bread. The Roman Catholic , Eastern Orthodox Churches and their calendars had great influence on eating habits; consumption of meat was forbidden for a full third of the year for most Christians.

All animal products, including eggs and dairy products but not fish , were generally prohibited during Lent and fast. Additionally, it was customary for all citizens to fast prior to taking the Eucharist. These fasts were occasionally for a full day and required total abstinence. Both the Eastern and the Western churches ordained that feast should alternate with fast.

In most of Europe, Fridays were fast days, and fasting was observed on various other days and periods, including Lent and Advent. Meat, and animal products such as milk, cheese, butter and eggs, were not allowed, only fish. The fast was intended to mortify the body and invigorate the soul, and also to remind the faster of Christ 's sacrifice for humanity.

The intention was not to portray certain foods as unclean, but rather to teach a spiritual lesson in self-restraint through abstention. During particularly severe fast days, the number of daily meals was also reduced to one. Even if most people respected these restrictions and usually made penance when they violated them, there were also numerous ways of circumventing them, a conflict of ideals and practice summarized by writer Bridget Ann Henisch:.

It is the nature of man to build the most complicated cage of rules and regulations in which to trap himself, and then, with equal ingenuity and zest, to bend his brain to the problem of wriggling triumphantly out again.

Lent was a challenge; the game was to ferret out the loopholes. While animal products were to be avoided during times of penance, pragmatic compromises often prevailed. The definition of "fish" was often extended to marine and semi-aquatic animals such as whales , barnacle geese , puffins and even beavers.

The choice of ingredients may have been limited, but that did not mean that meals were smaller. Neither were there any restrictions against moderate drinking or eating sweets.

Banquets held on fish days could be splendid, and were popular occasions for serving illusion food that imitated meat, cheese and eggs in various ingenious ways; fish could be moulded to look like venison and fake eggs could be made by stuffing empty egg shells with fish roe and almond milk and cooking them in coals.

While Byzantine church officials took a hard-line approach, and discouraged any culinary refinement for the clergy, their Western counterparts were far more lenient. During Lent, kings and schoolboys, commoners and nobility, all complained about being deprived of meat for the long, hard weeks of solemn contemplation of their sins.

At Lent, owners of livestock were even warned to keep an eye out for hungry dogs frustrated by a "hard siege by Lent and fish bones". The trend from the 13th century onward was toward a more legalistic interpretation of fasting.

Nobles were careful not to eat meat on fast days, but still dined in style; fish replaced meat, often as imitation hams and bacon; almond milk replaced animal milk as an expensive non-dairy alternative; faux eggs made from almond milk were cooked in blown-out eggshells, flavoured and coloured with exclusive spices.

In some cases the lavishness of noble tables was outdone by Benedictine monasteries, which served as many as sixteen courses during certain feast days. Exceptions from fasting were frequently made for very broadly defined groups. Since the sick were exempt from fasting, there often evolved the notion that fasting restrictions only applied to the main dining area, and many Benedictine friars would simply eat their fast day meals in what was called the misericord at those times rather than the refectory.

Medieval society was highly stratified. In a time when famine was commonplace and social hierarchies were often brutally enforced, food was an important marker of social status in a way that has no equivalent today in most developed countries. According to the ideological norm, society consisted of the three estates of the realm: The relationship between the classes was strictly hierarchical, with the nobility and clergy claiming worldly and spiritual overlordship over commoners.

Within the nobility and clergy there were also a number of ranks ranging from kings and popes to dukes , bishops and their subordinates, such as priests. One was expected to remain in one's social class and to respect the authority of the ruling classes. Political power was displayed not just by rule, but also by displaying wealth.

Nobles dined on fresh game seasoned with exotic spices, and displayed refined table manners; rough laborers could make do with coarse barley bread, salt pork and beans and were not expected to display etiquette.

Even dietary recommendations were different: The digestive system of a lord was held to be more discriminating than that of his rustic subordinates and demanded finer foods. In the late Middle Ages, the increasing wealth of middle class merchants and traders meant that commoners began emulating the aristocracy, and threatened to break down some of the symbolic barriers between the nobility and the lower classes. The response came in two forms: Medical science of the Middle Ages had a considerable influence on what was considered healthy and nutritious among the upper classes.

One's lifestyle—including diet, exercise, appropriate social behavior, and approved medical remedies—was the way to good health, and all types of food were assigned certain properties that affected a person's health. All foodstuffs were also classified on scales ranging from hot to cold and moist to dry, according to the four bodily humours theory proposed by Galen that dominated Western medical science from late Antiquity until the 17th century.

Medieval scholars considered human digestion to be a process similar to cooking. The processing of food in the stomach was seen as a continuation of the preparation initiated by the cook. In order for the food to be properly "cooked" and for the nutrients to be properly absorbed, it was important that the stomach be filled in an appropriate manner.

Easily digestible foods would be consumed first, followed by gradually heavier dishes. If this regimen were not respected it was believed that heavy foods would sink to the bottom of the stomach, thus blocking the digestion duct, so that food would digest very slowly and cause putrefaction of the body and draw bad humours into the stomach. It was also of vital importance that food of differing properties not be mixed. Before a meal, the stomach would preferably be "opened" with an apéritif from Latin aperire , "to open" that was preferably of a hot and dry nature: As the stomach had been opened, it should then be "closed" at the end of the meal with the help of a digestive, most commonly a dragée , which during the Middle Ages consisted of lumps of spiced sugar, or hypocras , a wine flavoured with fragrant spices, along with aged cheese.

A meal would ideally begin with easily digestible fruit, such as apples. It would then be followed by vegetables such as lettuce , cabbage , purslane , herbs, moist fruits, light meats, such as chicken or goat kid , with potages and broths. After that came the "heavy" meats, such as pork and beef , as well as vegetables and nuts, including pears and chestnuts, both considered difficult to digest.

It was popular, and recommended by medical expertise, to finish the meal with aged cheese and various digestives. The most ideal food was that which most closely matched the humour of human beings, i. Food should preferably also be finely chopped, ground, pounded and strained to achieve a true mixture of all the ingredients.

White wine was believed to be cooler than red and the same distinction was applied to red and white vinegar. Milk was moderately warm and moist, but the milk of different animals was often believed to differ. Egg yolks were considered to be warm and moist while the whites were cold and moist. Skilled cooks were expected to conform to the regimen of humoral medicine.

Even if this limited the combinations of food they could prepare, there was still ample room for artistic variation by the chef. The caloric content and structure of medieval diet varied over time, from region to region, and between classes.

However, for most people, the diet tended to be high-carbohydrate, with most of the budget spent on, and the majority of calories provided by, cereals and alcohol such as beer. Even though meat was highly valued by all, lower classes often could not afford it, nor were they allowed by the church to consume it every day. In one early 15th-century English aristocratic household for which detailed records are available that of the Earl of Warwick , gentle members of the household received a staggering 3.

In the household of Henry Stafford in , gentle members received 2. In monasteries, the basic structure of the diet was laid down by the Rule of Saint Benedict in the 7th century and tightened by Pope Benedict XII in , but as mentioned above monks were adept at "working around" these rules.

This was circumvented in part by declaring that offal , and various processed foods such as bacon , were not meat. Secondly, Benedictine monasteries contained a room called the misericord , where the Rule of Saint Benedict did not apply, and where a large number of monks ate. Each monk would be regularly sent either to the misericord or to the refectory. When Pope Benedict XII ruled that at least half of all monks should be required to eat in the refectory on any given day, monks responded by excluding the sick and those invited to the abbot's table from the reckoning.

The overall caloric intake is subject to some debate. As a consequence of these excesses, obesity was common among upper classes. The regional specialties that are a feature of early modern and contemporary cuisine were not in evidence in the sparser documentation that survives.

Instead, medieval cuisine can be differentiated by the cereals and the oils that shaped dietary norms and crossed ethnic and, later, national boundaries. Geographical variation in eating was primarily the result of differences in climate, political administration, and local customs that varied across the continent.

Though sweeping generalizations should be avoided, more or less distinct areas where certain foodstuffs dominated can be discerned. In the British Isles , northern France , the Low Countries , the northern German-speaking areas, Scandinavia and the Baltic , the climate was generally too harsh for the cultivation of grapes and olives. In the south, wine was the common drink for both rich and poor alike though the commoner usually had to settle for cheap second pressing wine while beer was the commoner's drink in the north and wine an expensive import.

Citrus fruits though not the kinds most common today and pomegranates were common around the Mediterranean. Dried figs and dates were available in the north, but were used rather sparingly in cooking. Olive oil was a ubiquitous ingredient in Mediterranean cultures, but remained an expensive import in the north where oils of poppy , walnut, hazel and filbert were the most affordable alternatives.

Butter and lard , especially after the terrible mortality during the Black Death made them less scarce, were used in considerable quantities in the northern and northwestern regions, especially in the Low Countries. Almost universal in middle and upper class cooking all over Europe was the almond , which was in the ubiquitous and highly versatile almond milk , which was used as a substitute in dishes that otherwise required eggs or milk, though the bitter variety of almonds came along much later.

In Europe there were typically two meals a day: The two-meal system remained consistent throughout the late Middle Ages. Smaller intermediate meals were common, but became a matter of social status, as those who did not have to perform manual labor could go without them. For practical reasons, breakfast was still eaten by working men, and was tolerated for young children, women, the elderly and the sick.

Because the church preached against gluttony and other weaknesses of the flesh, men tended to be ashamed of the weak practicality of breakfast.

Lavish dinner banquets and late-night reresopers from Occitan rèire-sopar , "late supper" with considerable amounts of alcoholic beverage were considered immoral. The latter were especially associated with gambling, crude language, drunkenness, and lewd behavior.

As with almost every part of life at the time, a medieval meal was generally a communal affair. The entire household, including servants, would ideally dine together.

To sneak off to enjoy private company was considered a haughty and inefficient egotism in a world where people depended very much on each other. When possible, rich hosts retired with their consorts to private chambers where the meal could be enjoyed in greater exclusivity and privacy. Being invited to a lord's chambers was a great privilege and could be used as a way to reward friends and allies and to awe subordinates.

It allowed lords to distance themselves further from the household and to enjoy more luxurious treats while serving inferior food to the rest of the household that still dined in the great hall. At major occasions and banquets, however, the host and hostess generally dined in the great hall with the other diners. However, it can be assumed there were no such extravagant luxuries as multiple courses , luxurious spices or hand-washing in scented water in everyday meals.

Things were different for the wealthy. Before the meal and between courses, shallow basins and linen towels were offered to guests so they could wash their hands, as cleanliness was emphasized.

Social codes made it difficult for women to uphold the ideal of immaculate neatness and delicacy while enjoying a meal, so the wife of the host often dined in private with her entourage or ate very little at such feasts.

She could then join dinner only after the potentially messy business of eating was done. Overall, fine dining was a predominantly male affair, and it was uncommon for anyone but the most honored of guests to bring his wife or her ladies-in-waiting.

The hierarchical nature of society was reinforced by etiquette where the lower ranked were expected to help the higher, the younger to assist the elder, and men to spare women the risk of sullying dress and reputation by having to handle food in an unwomanly fashion.

Shared drinking cups were common even at lavish banquets for all but those who sat at the high table , as was the standard etiquette of breaking bread and carving meat for one's fellow diners. Food was mostly served on plates or in stew pots, and diners would take their share from the dishes and place it on trenchers of stale bread, wood or pewter with the help of spoons or bare hands.

In lower-class households it was common to eat food straight off the table. Knives were used at the table, but most people were expected to bring their own, and only highly favored guests would be given a personal knife. A knife was usually shared with at least one other dinner guest, unless one was of very high rank or well-acquainted with the host. Forks for eating were not in widespread usage in Europe until the early modern period , and early on were limited to Italy.

Even there it was not until the 14th century that the fork became common among Italians of all social classes. The change in attitudes can be illustrated by the reactions to the table manners of the Byzantine princess Theodora Doukaina in the late 11th century. She was the wife of Domenico Selvo , the Doge of Venice , and caused considerable dismay among upstanding Venetians.

The foreign consort's insistence on having her food cut up by her eunuch servants and then eating the pieces with a golden fork shocked and upset the diners so much that there was a claim that Peter Damian , Cardinal Bishop of Ostia , later interpreted her refined foreign manners as pride and referred to her as " All types of cooking involved the direct use of fire. Kitchen stoves did not appear until the 18th century, and cooks had to know how to cook directly over an open fire.

Ovens were used, but they were expensive to construct and only existed in fairly large households and bakeries.

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