Tudor Food and Drink varied according to status and wealth. In the early Middle Ages period meat was a sign of wealth. But as the population rose in Tudor England so did the improved agricultural techniques and inventions. The Tudor era also saw the introductions of different food from the New World, and continued to be influenced by the foods imported from the Far East, just it had during the earlier period of the Crusades. The Tudor era saw the expanded use of sugar. Increased cultivation of fruit trees and bee hives in England was also seen during the Tudor era increasing the range of foods available. The section and era covering Tudor Food includes sections on food in the Tudor times, food in Tudor England, Tudor food recipes and Tudor food for a banquet or feast.
Tudor Food Recipes
Food in the Tudor Times
Food in the Tudor England
Tudor Food for a Banquet or Feast
Tudor Food Presentation - the Visual Effect
It was important that Tudor Food prepared for the nobility and royalty, especially for feasts and banquets had a great visual effect. Tudors enjoyed a huge variety of serving methods making use of bright colors and various 'props'. Exotic birds such as peacocks were reared for consumption but their feathers were also used to decorate cooked foods. Strange and unusual shapes were also used in food presentation.
Purchasing Tudor Food & Cooking Methods / Cooking Utensils
Tudor Food was generally purchased from small markets and from local fairs. In large cities like London there were specific markets which sold either fish, meat, dairy products or fruit and vegetables. Elsewhere meat was sold at large livestock markets. Tudor food was prepared by several cooking methods including:
- Spit roasting foods
- Baking foods
- Boiling foods
- Smoking foods
- Salting foods
- Frying foods
A large amount of Tudor cooking was conducted over an open flame or fire. Useful cooking utensils for this method of cooking Tudor food were pots, pans, kettles, skillets and cauldrons. To prepare the food a range of knives, ladles, meat forks and scissors were also used. Instead of a baking tin, Tudor cooks used a baking tray made of hardened pastry, which was unnervingly called a ‘coffin’! The mortar and pestle were essential cooking utensils for cooks who used nuts spices in their Tudor recipes. Each cook kept a book of their own Tudor recipes.
Water was not clean in Tudor times and people therefore drank wine and ale. The rich Tudors drank both and the poor just drank ale. Honey was used to make a sweet alcoholic drink called mead which was drunk by all Tudor classes. Wine was generally imported from the continent although some fruit wines were produced in England. Ales were brewed with malt and water, whilst beer contained hops that held a bitter flavor. Other flavors were added to ales and beers such as bayberries, orris, or long pepper. Consumption of weak, low-alcohol drinks during the Tudor period has been estimated at around one gallon per person per day.
Interesting Facts and Information about Tudor Food
Additional interesting facts and information about Tudor Food may be accesses by clicking the links at the top of the page. For a selection of Old Tudor Recipes please click the following link.