You wouldn’t believe it! Tudor Food
Henry VIII • Henry VIII ate a lot of rich food after his jousting accident. He would never exercise because of his leg and he wouldn’t have any vegetables. Now that isn’t a healthy diet at all. Believe it or not he wouldn’t do any more exercise, he would just sit down on his throne doing nothing but eating. You wouldn’t expect that from a king would you? King Henry also thought vegetables were for pheasants. That’s a bit mean isn’t it!
Beliefs • Tudors had very different beliefs about food than we do. Food was always cooked as it was thought that raw fruit and vegetables were bad for you. Tudors didn’t eat meat on Friday due to religious beliefs about ‘Good Friday’. Therefore they would eat fish on Fridays.
Rich and Poor • Rich and Poor Tudors ate very different food from each other. Poor people would eat a lot of pottage (a vegetable stew) they wouldn’t be able to afford much meat. The rich would eat lots of meat and hardly any vegetables. They would also eat spices and sugar which the poor couldn’t afford.
Vegetables • Vegetables which grew underground (such as carrots and parsnips), were considered fit for the poor. Only vegetables which grew above the ground were the vegetables the rich would eat.
Meat • Meat was very important to the Tudor diet. Rich people ate 1 to 2 kilos of meat a day. That’s 10 times as much as people eat nowadays. They would eat venison, beef, pork, veal, goat, lamb, rabbit, poultry, deer, wildfowl, hare, mutton, swans, herons and puffins.
Poaching • Only important Tudor people (lords and nobles) were allowed to hunt deer, boar, hare or rabbit. The punishment for poaching was either death or having your hand cut off.
Bread • White bread was only eaten by the King and rich people. The pheasants would eat rye, or wholemeal bread. Baking was very dangerous in Tudor times as ovens were heated by fire! I f the ovens fire spread it could burn the whole house down!
Dairy • Dairy foods such as milk ,butter and cheese were considered as food for pheasants. The rich only used milk and butter for cooking things.
Drinks • In the Tudor times people would drink weak beer as water wasn’t clean. Some people or even children could have more than 4 pints, amazing! But there is still a difference between the beer the pheasants drank and the beer that the rich drank. You see the rich would have the best beer imported from France and the pheasants would have poor quality beer.
Food that Tudors didn’t eat • Some of the food we eat weren’t around in the Tudor times. Foods such as tomatoes, sweet corn, cocoa beans and pineapples were only discovered in U.S.A during Tudor times. So if you thought about it King Henry wouldn’t have been able to eat our favourite foods.
Storing food • It wasn’t very easy to store food in Tudor times so food would often go bad. To prevent food from going bad they put the food in barrels and put lots of salt on the food. That meant the food wouldn’t go off quite so quickly.
Serving food • In the early stages of Tudor times food would be served on a piece of stale bread called a trencher. The bread would be thrown away straight after the food was eaten likewise when pies were cooked the filling would be eaten and the pastry would be thrown away. In later times plates were made and they ate off them.