Robert Fitch answered my question, “porridge was the staff of life” for the common person until the 18th century. No wonder working the palace was a coveted job – even for a spit turner.
The Hampton Court Palace kitchen cooked two meals for approximately 600 people daily consuming in one 16th century year 1,240 oxen, 8,200 sheep, 2,330 deer, 760 calves, 1,870 pigs and 53 wild boar.
Puddings were a major component of the English and American table during these centuries and often served as the foundation of a one dish meal in this age of cooking on an open wood fired hearth.
Clarissa Dillon, one of the foremost authorities on 16th-18th century English and colonial American cooking, tackles the often confusing interpretations of our shared culinary past.
I believe both Fergus and Clarissa would agree that a 17th/18th century middle class diet was healthy only if the diner was physically very active, but it’s tasty. London’s Chef Fergus Henderson and Philadelphia’s Dr. Clarissa Dillon have never met yet share a no-nonsense and unsentimental approach towards the diet of their 17th and 18th century Anglo ancestors.
When St. John Bar & Restaurant at 26 St. John Street, London, was a smokehouse in the 18th century, located a couple blocks from the centuries old Smithfield Market, Hampton Court Palace had a chocolate kitchen catering exclusively to the large royal household.
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