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Nutrición Hospitalaria

versión On-line ISSN 1699-5198versión impresa ISSN 0212-1611


FERREIRO-ARDIONS, Manuel  y  LEZAUN-VALDUBIECO, Juan. Food without nutritional purpose in the medical therapeutics in the modern age at Hospital de Santiago in Vitoria (Alava, Spain). Nutr. Hosp. [online]. 2023, vol.40, n.5, pp.1041-1046.  Epub 05-Feb-2024. ISSN 1699-5198.


although important, food in medieval and modern hospitals was far from the excellence and abundance suggested by some historians, probably due to an incorrect assessment of hospital documentation, considering all food expenditure to be for food when much of it was destined for the apothecary's shop.


to identify the foodstuffs used for non-nutritional therapeutic purposes during the modern age at Hospital de Santiago in Vitoria (Alava, Spain), to describe the system of consignment, and to review the bibliography of the period in order to facilitate documentary assessment strategies for researchers.


between 1592 and 1813, 42 groups of foodstuffs acquired for non-nutritional therapeutic purposes were identified. The system of annotation in the expenditure books is neither systematic nor homogeneous, but highly variable and dependent on who made the entry. Twenty-seven terms were identified for the recognition that a given foodstuff was intended for the apothecary's shop and not the kitchen. Fourteen sanitary texts of the period were chosen as clarifying bibliography, finding the 17th century nursing manuals most useful for the proposed purposes.


the variety and quantity of foodstuffs destined for the apothecary's shop shows the risk of confusion in unfamiliar researchers when analysing hospital diets from account books. A proposal of terms and strategies for discriminating the nutritional or non-nutritional use of the food acquired, together with bibliographical recommendations, is essential for an adequate assessment of historical hospital diets.

Palabras clave : Food; Therapeutic uses; Hospital; Modern Age; Vitoria (Álava Spain).

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