C16 English (Elizabethan) Food, Cooking and Recipes

An Elizabethan feast

When talking about cooking in sixteenth century England, it’s necessary to divide into pre-Elizabethan and Elizabethan. Although New World ingredients were being introduced to England before Elizabeth ascended the throne, there was a sharp increase in the introduction of new foods due to the voyages of exploration Elizabeth sponsored.

As well as these new ingredients, there were also major changes to cooking techniques. The most obvious one is pastry. It’s during this period we start to actually see recipes for pastry; pastry was now clearly intended to be eaten rather than just be used as a vehicle for transporting food, so there is a sharp increase in the number of recipes for tarts and pies.

Finally, there was a veritable explosion in the number of cook books published. While the advent of the printing press certainly accounted for some of it, there seems to have been an increase in literacy, particularly amongst the non nobility. It is likely this newly literate (and moneyed) group demanded books that allowed them to imitate the foods of the wealthy aristocrats.

Haddon Hall kitchens
The kitchens of Haddon Hall, Derbyshire. Click here to go on a virtual tour of the kitchens of this incredible Tudor era manor, seat of the Dukes of Rutland.


Basic Recipes








Vegetable and Non-Meat Side Dishes


Banquet Dishes

Tudor and Stuart feasts ended with a final course of sweet, highly sugared dishes called a Banquet. Only the most important or favoured guests would have been invited to this special party within a feast.

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