Human communities belonging to different times and places often adopt a set of ideal rules, sometimes related to alimentary prescriptions. For different reasons, foods and/or specific resources are, in fact, prohibited to some social or religious groups, but sometimes these can elaborate special strategies to find a compromise between a high social status and the access to ‘prohibited’ resources. For past societies, a careful archaeological study, crossing data emerging from a multidisciplinary approach, written contemporary sources and the rules the community must follow, can depict what was an interplay of ideal rules and actual practice. The paper aims to study a significant population of the past, namely an early medieval monastic community, from a human ecology perspective, but also investigating food storage and preparation at the time, along with the practical respect of the Benedictine Rule about foods with its social implications. The site under study is San Vincenzo Abbey, one of the most important monastic power centres in Italy, which was destroyed in 881 ad by a Saracen raid followed by a destructive fire. This caused the collapse of some structures sealing the contexts of the kitchen's complex, thereby preserving many bioarchaelogical remains related to daily monastic life.