The Role Of Food In The Elizabethan Era

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The Role Of Food In The Elizabethan Era



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Elizabethan Food

Some would offer dairy, others would offer fish, and then you might find vegetable markets and fruit markets elsewhere. Meat itself was sold totally separate as mentioned above in livestock markets. The cooking methods used during the Elizabethan era were much as you would expect today. The difference from Elizabethans to today is that we often use electricity to produce the heat. Most of the cooking for Elizabethans was done with an open flame. However, you still had the common preparations of baking, roasting, boiling, smoking, and frying things. The Elizabethans loved to eat good meals! Also fire shovels, barrels, tubs, pantry, buttery wine and other provisions stored here , wet and dry larders, spicery, mealhouse sieving or bolting house, coals kep in squillerie along with brass pots and pans, pewter vessels and herbs, covered dishes, court cupboard, sideboards.

Almost no original theological thought came out of the English Reformation: instead the Church relied on the Catholic Consensus of the first Four Ecumenical Councils. The preservation of many Catholic doctrines and practices was the cuckoos nest that eventually resulted in the formation of the Via Media during the 17th century. For a number of years refrained from persecuting Catholics because she was against Catholicism, not her Catholic subjects if they made no trouble. In , Pope Pius V declared Elizabeth a heretic who was not the legitimate queen and that her subjects no longer owed her obedience.

The pope sent Jesuits and seminarians to secretly evangelize and support Catholics. After several plots to overthrow her, Catholic clergy were mostly considered to be traitors, and were pursued aggressively in England. Often priests were tortured or executed after capture unless they cooperated with the English authorities. People who publicly supported Catholicism were excluded from the professions; sometimes fined or imprisoned. Lacking a dominant genius or a formal structure for research the following century had both Sir Isaac Newton and the Royal Society , the Elizabethan era nonetheless saw significant scientific progress. The astronomers Thomas Digges and Thomas Harriot made important contributions; William Gilbert published his seminal study of magnetism, De Magnete, in Substantial advancements were made in the fields of cartography and surveying.

The eccentric but influential John Dee also merits mention. Much of this scientific and technological progress related to the practical skill of navigation. English achievements in exploration were noteworthy in the Elizabethan era. Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe between and , and Martin Frobisher explored the Arctic. The first attempt at English settlement of the eastern seaboard of North America occurred in this era—the abortive colony at Roanoke Island in While Elizabethan England is not thought of as an age of technological innovation, some progress did occur. In Guilliam Boonen came from the Netherlands to be Queen Elizabeth's first coach-builder —thus introducing the new European invention of the spring-suspension coach to England, as a replacement for the litters and carts of an earlier transportation mode.

Coaches quickly became as fashionable as sports cars in a later century; social critics, especially Puritan commentators, noted the "diverse great ladies" who rode "up and down the countryside" in their new coaches. Historians since the s have explored many facets of the social history, covering every class of the population. Although home to only a small part of the population the Tudor municipalities were overcrowded and unhygienic. Most towns were unpaved with poor public sanitation. There were no sewers or drains, and rubbish was simply abandoned in the street. Animals such as rats thrived in these conditions. In larger towns and cities, such as London, common diseases arising from lack of sanitation included smallpox , measles , malaria , typhus , diphtheria , Scarlet fever , and chickenpox.

Outbreaks of the Black Death pandemic occurred in , , , , and The reason for the speedy spread of the disease was the increase of rats infected by fleas carrying the disease. Child mortality was low in comparison with earlier and later periods, at about or fewer deaths per babies. The great majority were tenant farmers who lived in small villages.

Their homes were, as in earlier centuries, thatched huts with one or two rooms, although later on during this period, roofs were also tiled. Furniture was basic, with stools being commonplace rather than chairs. The daub was usually then painted with limewash , making it white, and the wood was painted with black tar to prevent rotting, but not in Tudor times; the Victorians did this afterwards. The bricks were handmade and thinner than modern bricks. The wooden beams were cut by hand, which makes telling the difference between Tudor houses and Tudor-style houses easy, as the original beams are not straight. The upper floors of Tudor houses were often larger than the ground floors, which would create an overhang or jetty.

This would create more floor-surface above while also keeping maximum street width. During the Tudor period, the use of glass when building houses was first used, and became widespread. It was very expensive and difficult to make, so the panes were made small and held together with a lead lattice, in casement windows. People who could not afford glass often used polished horn, cloth or paper. Tudor chimneys were tall, thin, and often decorated with symmetrical patterns of molded or cut brick. Early Tudor houses, and the homes of poorer people, did not have chimneys. The smoke in these cases would be let out through a simple hole in the roof.

Mansions had many chimneys for the many fireplaces required to keep the vast rooms warm. These fires were also the only way of cooking food. Wealthy Tudor homes needed many rooms, where a large number of guests and servants could be accommodated, fed and entertained. Wealth was demonstrated by the extensive use of glass. Windows became the main feature of Tudor mansions, and were often a fashion statement. Mansions were often designed to a symmetrical plan; "E" and "H" shapes were popular. The population of London increased from , to , between the death of Mary Tudor in and the death of Elizabeth I in Inflation was rapid and the wealth gap was wide.

Poor men, women, and children begged in the cities, as the children only earned sixpence a week. With the growth of industry, many landlords decided to use their land for manufacturing purposes, displacing the farmers who lived and worked there. Despite the struggles of the lower class, the government tended to spend money on wars and exploration voyages instead of on welfare. About one-third of the population lived in poverty, with the wealthy expected to give alms to assist the impotent poor. Those who left their parishes in order to locate work were termed vagabonds and could be subjected to punishments, including whipping and putting at the stocks. The idea of the workhouse for the able-bodied poor was first suggested in There was an unprecedented expansion of education in the Tudor period.

Until then, few children went to school. Boys were allowed to go to school and began at the age of 4, they then moved to grammar school when they were 7 years old. Girls were either kept at home by their parents to help with housework or sent out to work to bring money in for the family. They were not sent to school. Boys were educated for work and the girls for marriage and running a household so when they married they could look after the house and children.

Many Tudor towns and villages had a parish school where the local vicar taught boys to read and write. Brothers could teach their sisters these skills. At school, pupils were taught English, Latin, Greek, catechism and arithmetic. The pupils practised writing in ink by copying the alphabet and the Lord's Prayer. There were few books, so pupils read from hornbooks instead. These wooden boards had the alphabet, prayers or other writings pinned to them and were covered with a thin layer of transparent cow's horn.

There were two types of school in Tudor times: petty school was where young boys were taught to read and write; grammar school was where abler boys were taught English and Latin. The school day started at am in winter and am in summer and finished about pm. Petty schools had shorter hours, mostly to allow poorer boys the opportunity to work as well. Schools were harsh and teachers were very strict, often beating pupils who misbehaved. Education would begin at home, where children were taught the basic etiquette of proper manners and respecting others.

Only the most wealthy people allowed their daughters to be taught, and only at home. During this time, endowed schooling became available. This meant that even boys of very poor families were able to attend school if they were not needed to work at home, but only in a few localities were funds available to provide support as well as the necessary education scholarship. Boys from wealthy families were taught at home by a private tutor.

He refounded many former monastic schools—they are known as "King's schools" and are found all over England. During the reign of Edward VI many free grammar schools were set up to take in non-fee paying students. There were two universities in Tudor England: Oxford and Cambridge. Some boys went to university at the age of about England's food supply was plentiful throughout most of the reign; there were no famines. Bad harvests caused distress, but they were usually localized. The most widespread came in —57 and — Trade and industry flourished in the 16th century, making England more prosperous and improving the standard of living of the upper and middle classes.

However, the lower classes did not benefit much and did not always have enough food. As the English population was fed by its own agricultural produce, a series of bad harvests in the s caused widespread starvation and poverty. The success of the wool trading industry decreased attention on agriculture, resulting in further starvation of the lower classes. Cumbria, the poorest and most isolated part of England, suffered a six-year famine beginning in Diseases and natural disasters also contributed to the scarce food supply. In the 17th century the food supply improved.

England had no food crises from to , a period when France was unusually vulnerable to famines. Historians point out that oat and barley prices in England did not always increase following a failure of the wheat crop, but did do so in France. England was exposed to new foods such as the potato imported from South America , and developed new tastes during the era. The more prosperous enjoyed a wide variety of food and drink, including exotic new drinks such as tea, coffee, and chocolate. French and Italian chefs appeared in the country houses and palaces bringing new standards of food preparation and taste.

For example, the English developed a taste for acidic foods—such as oranges for the upper class—and started to use vinegar heavily. The gentry paid increasing attention to their gardens, with new fruits, vegetables and herbs; pasta, pastries, and dried mustard balls first appeared on the table. The apricot was a special treat at fancy banquets. Roast beef remained a staple for those who could afford it.

The rest ate a great deal of bread and fish. Every class had a taste for beer and rum. The diet in England during the Elizabethan era depended largely on social class. Bread was a staple of the Elizabethan diet, and people of different statuses ate bread of different qualities. The upper classes ate fine white bread called manchet , while the poor ate coarse bread made of barley or rye.

The poorer among the population consumed a diet largely of bread, cheese, milk, and beer, with small portions of meat, fish and vegetables, and occasionally some fruit. Potatoes were just arriving at the end of the period, and became increasingly important. The typical poor farmer sold his best products on the market, keeping the cheap food for the family. Stale bread could be used to make bread puddings, and bread crumbs served to thicken soups, stews, and sauces.

At a somewhat higher social level families ate an enormous variety of meats, who could choose among venison , beef , mutton , veal , pork , lamb, fowl, salmon , eel , and shellfish. The holiday goose was a special treat. Rich spices were used by the wealthier people to offset the smells of old salt-preserved meat. Many rural folk and some townspeople tended a small garden which produced vegetables such as asparagus, cucumbers, spinach, lettuce, beans, cabbage, turnips, radishes, carrots, leeks, and peas, as well as medicinal and flavoring herbs.

Some grew their own apricots, grapes, berries, apples, pears, plums, strawberries, currants, and cherries. Families without a garden could trade with their neighbors to obtain vegetables and fruits at low cost. Fruits and vegetables were used in desserts such as pastries, tarts, cakes, crystallized fruit, and syrup. At the rich end of the scale the manor houses and palaces were awash with large, elaborately prepared meals, usually for many people and often accompanied by entertainment.

The upper classes often celebrated religious festivals, weddings, alliances and the whims of the king or queen. In large cities like London there were specific markets which sold either fish, dairy products or fruit and vegetables. Meat was sold at large livestock markets. Elizabethan Food - Cooking Methods Elizabethan food was prepared by several cooking methods:. Elizabethan Food - Cooking Utensils A large amount of Elizabethan cooking was conducted over an open flame.

Useful cooking utensils for this method of cooking Elizabethan food were pots, pans, kettles, skillets and cauldrons. To prepare the food a range of knives, ladles, meat forks and scissors were used. The mortar and pestle were essential cooking utensils for cooks who used nuts spices in their recipes. Each cook kept a book of their own recipes. Elizabethan Convenience Food? Did people in the Elizabethan era have convenience food? Biscuits were invented by the Crusaders. The 'Ploughman's Lunch' of bread and cheese was a staple diet of Lower Class workers. Communal ovens were available in villages for baking.

And pastries and pies were sold as was ready cooked roasted meat.

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