Elizabethan Era Meals, Timings and Decorations
Food items, drinks, and, meals varied in Elizabethan era according to the status and wealth of the people. Many dishes were introduced; many more were improved by the way of agricultural techniques. But the meals of Elizabethans had fixed timings. They used to have three meals a day. Even the lower class people had three meals a day, but their food was less elaborate than the upper class.
The royalty, upper classes and the nobility used to eat their meals in silverware. On the contrary, lower classes in Elizabethan England used to eat their meals in wooden or horn dishes. They used to have their breakfast in the morning between 6 a.m. - 7 a.m. It included food and drinks. Same was included in dinner which was usually eaten by the Elizabethans between 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. The supper was the substantial meal which the Elizabethans had around 6 - 7 in the evening.
Elizabethans were fond of beer with their meals but it had a very little amount of alcohol in it in those days. Another interesting fact about their meals is that, vegetables were looked down upon and they were usually eaten by the lower class.
The upper class used to relish meat in their food besides chicken, moor cocks, beef, etc. Another fact about the vegetables at that time was that the Elizabethans considered them to be unhealthy and cheap. The Elizabethan upper class was fond of spicy as well as sweet dishes. They used to get elaborate dishes made for them.
Knife was the most common form of cutlery in the meals of people of Elizabethan era. Spoons were hardly used by them as they had the habit of drinking everything from the cup. They even used to drink soup in cups instead of having it with a spoon.
Forks were introduced late in that century, so, it is clear that knife was the most important element of their crockery. Another interesting fact is that the kitchen in large houses was situated far from the great hall in those days, and, therefore, the food was served usually cold.
Food in the days of Elizabeth 1 was cooked over an open flame by various methods like, baking, boiling, fried, and, roasting. Utensils used for cooking were pots, pans, kettles, cauldrons, and, skillets. Wine and ale was more common a part of the meal than water.
Elizabethan loved decorative food. Peacock feathers were used for this purpose. Different shapes were used for the presentation of different meals. Their meals had a great visual effect.
Thus, it is evident from the facts given above that Elizabethans spent a lot on their meals. The amount spent on their meals was so much so that about £21,000 was spent for the diet and meals of Queen Elizabeth 1 every year. Meals in Elizabethan era were fixed and detailed.