Facts about Tudor food. • Sugar was very expensive so if they didn’t have sugar they used honey instead. They only used seasonal food which was used as soon as it was bought, killed, or picked as they did not have fridges and freezers to keep foods for any length of time. Fruit would be preserved in syrup to use in the winter months when there wasn’t any growing. Meat would be hung from the ceiling in a cold room to improve the flavour.
Facts about Tudor food continued • Bread was served with every meal and was an important of the meal, for both rich and poor, although 75% of the rich peoples diet was made up of meat. Meat was roasted, cooked on the spit, boiled or made into pies. Fish was baked, fried, grilled or boiled. The Catholic religion of the early Tudors meant that they could not eat meat on Friday often on Wednesday instead of meat they ate fish.
The Difference between our food and the Tudor food • The Tudor’s ate some interesting foods that today we do not eat, well not normally these included Badger, Peacock, Heron, Crane, Sparrows (not a lot of meat on those) and Blackbirds. They also ate meats that are still used today as well including Deer, Pheasant, and Calves. • Bread was made from white wholemeal flour as it is today but this was for the rich. The poor used rye or ground acorns to make their bread. Water wasn’t drunk during this time as it was unfit so ale and wine were drunk at meal times.
The Difference between our food and the Tudor food continued. • Fish including Eels, Pike, Perch, Trout, Sturgeon, Roach and Salmon. These would be eaten by the rich and also poor people but only if they lived near the sea or rivers. • The Tudors loved sweets and deserts. A popular sweet which was served at banquets was marzipan this was made from sugar and coloured using vegetable dyes. These sweets would be served in between courses. Puddings would be served on plates made of sugar.
Pottage soup. • A popular food for the poor is a soup called pottage its made up of peas, cabbage, onion, milk, water and herbs.
Swan Pie • This was very popular at Henry the VIII’s banquets. Swans would be used in the pie and then one would be roasted and then dressed back into it’s original feathers and placed on the top.
Tudor customs. Tudors only used spoons and knives for eating. Forks were introduced from Italy during the reign of Henry the VIII but were mainly used for serving. It was rude to finish every thing on the table because the leftovers went to the staff, this was known as Manners.
Tudor customs continued. • Food for the wealthy was all about entertaining, the banquets included Jugglers, Musicians and Dancers and was seen as a huge event going on for hours. • A joke the cooks used to play was to make a pie, the crust which went on top was called a Coffin and this was placed on top of live birds including Pigeons and Blackbirds. When the host cut into the pie the birds would fly out. This was seen as very funny for the guests.
Where did the food come from. Food usually came from local farms, markets, fairs and estates. Food would also be grown within the grounds of the big houses. All foods would be seasonal a lot of foods were introduced from abroad in later Tudor times including potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, maize and Turkeys.
Where did the poor peoples food come from • Mainly what they could grow themselves, if they lived in the country and were able to keep chickens they would use these for both eggs and meat. Herbs would be collected in the woods and hedgerows. Rabbits would be shot and used for skins and food. Beef would be bought from the market with money saved. Fruits would be possibly stolen from the large estates orchards usually by the youngest in the house and gathered in the woods.
Tudor Kitchen v Today’s Kitchen In the Tudor times cooking was done on fires as there were no cookers or microwave ovens. Hampton Court had six massive fireplaces. Meat was cooked on a spit using a metal rod. Pots were put over a fire using a work surface with hole in it. Bread was cooked in a large stone oven.
Tudor Kitchen V Today’s Kitchen continued • In the large houses and palaces the kitchens were separated into different areas these would include a areas for preparing the food, decorating it, pastry making plus serving areas. The place that wine and ale was stored was known as the Butteries. The Larder was a large room which was usually cool/cold and this would be separated into different areas for the different types of food.