During the Elizabethan era, food and drinks hold special importance as they believed that what they consume today will affect the future generation of English people in their diet. Their status dictated the number of dishes eaten as well as the way in which food was served. It was their firm belief that your food truly represents you.
The Elizabethan era had different meals like us today. They also had breakfast, dinner, and supper. Breakfast was eaten early generally between 6-7 am, their dinner was during the midday while supper was consumed between 5-8 pm.
The food and the presentation of it that was served and consumed during the time of Elizabethan England can be viewed as varied, and the variations of the food were due to differentiation in social standing and wealth.
Elizabethan Food Facts
The wealthy people in the Elizabethan era ate lavish meals while poor people used to depend on the leftover food from the rich because of lack of ovens and other accessories. The class, politics, and religion all together had a great influence on the people of Elizabethan Era for shopping, eating and cooking of their food.
List of Elizabethan Food Facts
- The rich people ate always fresh food and fresh vegetables. Fruits were generally served in pies, while vegetables were served in soups and stews.
- Rich People were the one to take the benefits of the expensive fruits like pomegranates, peaches, and oranges.
- The unprepared and raw foods were not consumed by wealthiest for eating, rather they look upon it as more of suspicions. However, fruits were eaten raw or baked in tarts, pies or boiled to make jams.
- Some of the food ingredients like onions, rape, leaks, and garlic were generally put on the tables of nobles.
- The meat was not permitted to be eaten on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. Even it was prohibited on religious occasions like Lent and Advent Days.
- Rich people usually do not consume dairy products and hence they lacked in vitamin C, fiber and calcium. Due to which they were prone to bad teeth, scurvies, rickets and many types of skin diseases. Poor people consumed them in large quantity,
- Poor people usually eat food that grew on the ground as it was considered to be of a low-status level for rich people.
- The food in the Elizabethan Era was prepared in many different ways like baking, salting, smoking, frying and split roasting. The food was prepared in open fires.
- Spices were also a novelty for the rich class people as they were too expensive. The trading of the spices was a new trend that started in the Elizabethan Era.
- Honey was the common sweetener for all as sugar was also a product of expensive category.
- Nuts like walnut and hazelnut were popular for consuming during the era. Nutmeg was too expensive.
- The common vegetables available were spinach, radish, garlic, cabbage, skirret, onion, lettuce, turnips, carrots, cucumber, parsnips, and leeks. While the common pulses were peas, lentils, and beans.
The meat was the primary food consumed by most people that are considered to be part of the wealthy and privileged class. But the meat wasn’t just the type of food consumed by people during those times. Agricultural products were also widely consumed, thanks partly to the introduction of agricultural techniques during those times.
Food during the Elizabethan England was not an issue for most people. The population during those times resorted to the planting of fruit trees that helped boost food production. The era also saw the improvement of food security due to the introduction of food supplies from the New World.
Elizabethan England food
The food that was served during the era was no simple food. Their food was marked with great detail and was always presented with elegance. This was especially true for the food that was usually prepared for the wealthy and the nobility class. The taste of the food served during those times is as important if compared to the overall look of the food.
People who lived during this era treasured their food and used different methods in order to make the presentation of the food over the top. For example, Elizabethans of this era domesticated peacocks not just for the meat of the poultry but also for its feathers. The feathers that can be harvested from the peacocks are used to decorate the foods that are usually served during banquets.
The meat was the most popular food for people of the Elizabethan era. And the meat was usually sold at large markets, and the other food supplies were sourced from small markets. Meat, fishes, and poultry during those times are cooked in varied ways as well. Some of the more common methods employed by Elizabethans was spit roasting, baking, boiling, smoking, salting or thru frying.
Elizabethan Food and Dining
The smoking of the meat was popular and was intended in order to preserve the food. Though there are a number of cooking variations that were employed during those times, the people of Elizabethan England mostly preferred cooking that was conducted over an open flame.
Elizabethan England food and dishes are usually prepared with the use of a number of different kitchen utensils. Pots, pans, skillets, and cauldrons are examples of utensils used in the kitchen. Food preparation was made possible with the use of ladles, knives, and scissors. Baking trays crafted from hardened pastry was used for baking.
To complete their meal, Elizabethans also had their own versions of drinks. People of this era were known to patronize wine and ale as they were easy to preserve. People in this era did not consider water as clean and sterile and hence they preferred alcohol more than water.
And the choices of drinks also revealed the social status and the standing of the person. For example, the person of higher class drank wine, while the other person of the lower class drank ale, Rhenish, brandy wine, and brandy.
The wine was widely used for both classes as it had many choices because most of the wines got imported from Spain, France, Madeira, Greece, and other countries. To hide the bitter taste of wine, many types of berries and spices were added for the alteration of flavor. Kids also used to have beer and wine diluted with water.
Aside from these two drinks, it was also the time of an alcoholic drink called mead. Mead was drunk by people of all classes and this particular drink was concocted using honey as its main ingredient.