Elizabeth Ist coat of arms

Elizabethan Daily Meals

Queen Elizabeth Ist

"Queen Elizabeth Ist"

Elizabethan Daily Meals

Elizabethan royalty, the Upper Classes and Nobles would eat their food from silverware. Lower classes would eat their food from wooden or horn dishes. Every Elizabethan had their own knife. Spoons were rarely used as any liquid food, such as soups, was drunk from a cup. Forks were introduced in the late 14th century.

The kitchens in large houses or castles were usually situated some distance from the Great Hall and therefore food was generally served cold. The number of daily meals eaten during the day by the Upper Classes were as follows:

  • Breakfast - Food and drink generally served between 6 -7
  • Dinner - Food and drink generally served at mid-morning between 12 - 2
  • Supper - Was a substantial meal and food and drink was generally served between 6 -7 and accompanied by various forms of entertainment

The Elizabethan Lower Classes also had three meals but obviously far less elaborate than the Upper Classes.

Daily Elizabethan Food Consumption for the Lower Classes
The food eaten daily by the average Lower Class Elizabethan consisted of at least lb. bread, 1 pint of beer, 1 pint of porridge, and 1/4 lb of meat. This would have been supplemented with some dairy products - vegetables were a substantial ingredient of soups. Records show that the daily ration of a food for a Tudor soldier with 2 lb. of beef or mutton with l lb. cheese, l/2 lb. butter, 1.5 lb. bread and 2/3 gallon of beer. It is probably worth pointing out that the the beer had a very low alcohol content.

Daily Elizabethan Food Consumption for the Upper Classes
The quantity, quality and type of food consumed by the Upper Classes differed considerably from the diet of the Lower Classes. The number of courses and variety of Elizabethan foods consumed by the Upper Classes included ingredients which were too expensive for the majority of English people.

The Upper classes had a taste for spicy and also sweet foods and could afford the expensive spices and sugar required to create these exotic recipes. In a Description Of Elizabethan England, 1577 from Holinshed's Chronicles Upper Class food consumption was described as follows:

In number of dishes and change of meat the nobility of England (whose cooks are for the most part musical-headed Frenchmen and strangers) do most exceed, sith there is no day in manner that passeth over their heads wherein they have not only beef, mutton, veal, lamb, kid, pork, cony, capon, pig, or so many of these as the season yieldeth, but also some portion of the red or fallow deer, beside great variety of fish and wild fowl, and thereto sundry other delicates.

Elizabethan Food
Elizabethan Era Index

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