Tudor Food and Drink: In Tudor times was an important part of the leisure time of the nobility. While the poor man would be struggling to put enough food on the table to feed his family, the nobility would be feasting and banqueting regularly.
The diet of the poor man was very plain compared to the food that was being served to the rich and powerful. Lots of new and exciting foods were being introduced to England from the New World as well as new spices which brought with them a whole new world of flavours for the Tudors to enjoy.
Unfortunately for the poor, much of these new and exciting ingredients were out of reach, leaving them with bread, cheese, and turnips as staples of their diets. The newly discovered drinks were also out of their grasp, leaving them with ale and milk to drink as the water was simply not drinkable.
What kind of food did Henry VIII eat?
Henry VIII, in his court, was surrounded by about a thousand people every day. Hence, feeding that huge crowd required an enormous kitchen as well as an enormous supply of food. Henry himself was a huge consumer of food. But Henry ate in his private rooms with his close courtiers.
The first meal was taken at 10 a.m. and the second one at around 3 p.m. Like every other thing, Henry ordered his meals as if he was displaying his power. There were as many as fourteen courses and elaborate use of spices. Clove, pepper and cinnamon were very expensive spices and only the richest people in the country could afford them.
The king chose from a large buffet whatever he felt like eating. Cuisines included served and roasted pies, ham, lamb, venison etc. Porpoise and conger eel was also on the menu occasionally. Sweet dishes were common. Forks were not popular for eating but only the king was given a fork for eating.
Tudor Period Food and Drink Had a Foreign Influence
The food that was being enjoyed by the Tudors was being influenced by a number of foreign influences. The diet included food that had been introduced to England by the Normans. This French and Scandinavian inspired food was much more sophisticated than what had previously been eaten as part of the English diet.
The Crusades too had been influencing the food of England since the Middle Ages. Being able to serve your guests food which had been enriched with imported herbs and spices was a sign that you were very wealthy, and of course sophisticated. Common herbs and spices in use at the time included cardamom, garlic, cloves, and mace as well as coriander, nutmeg, and raisins.
How did Tudors cook their food?
The monarch’s food was cooked in a private kitchen under the supervision of the Privy master cook. For ordinary folks, food was usually cooked in large cauldrons. An average Tudor family included stewed vegetables, grains, pulses and bacon in their diet.
Milk was often consumed by poor people but was loathed by the rich people of England.
Tudor Era Spices were Bought by Traders
The spice trade was one of the most important trades in England at the time. There was a lot of money to be made by importing exotic spices into the country. The New World and Oriental herbs and spices were highly prized and priced, which meant that only the rich could afford to buy them.
Other new foods that started to arrive in England during this period were peanuts, tomatoes, and turkey as well as avocado, pineapple, and corn. Foods that we consider today to be native to England were introduced from overseas such as potatoes, red peppers, pumpkin, and corn. None of which had ever been grown in English soil until they were brought back by traders and explorers.
What did the People during Tudors Times Drink?
It was not only new foods that were being introduced into the Tudor diet; new drinks too were also available. Tea which is now thought of as being the English national drink was introduced to the country by a Jesuit priest on his return from extensive travels in the Far East. Coffee and chocolate were also new additions to the list of available drinks.
Tea, coffee and chocolate were not drunk as regularly as they are today; they were regarded more as medicines. Neither did the Tudors like their drinks hot; everything was enjoyed cold or cool. Everyday drinks in Tudor era included ales and beers as well as wine. Though milk was available it was only drunk by the poor.
What did the poor Tudors drink?
The poor people in the Tudor era usually drank watered ale and beer. Water was polluted and caused various diseases so it was avoided as much as possible. Beer served as the staple drink for the poor of England.
Honey was also used instead of sugar to add flavour to the sweet desserts.
More Info On- Tudor Food and Drink Facts for Kids, History facts for Kids, Doctors Illnesses and Medicines, Dress up Dresses Clothing Fashion