As with the sixteenth century, it’s necessary to divide the seventeenth century into periods when talking about food. In this case, we have Pre-Restoration, Cromwellian Republic and Restoration food.
The Restoration period began in 1660, when Charles II was restored to the English throne. On the face of it, Restoration food looks very similar to Elizabethan food; there is still an emphasis on meat, and certain meats were considered particularly luxurious. However, there are certain very clear differences that mean you can’t equate the two. In the Restoration, Old World spices were gradually losing their prominence in the kitchen, being replaced with exotic New World ingredients. There was a much greater influence of French ideas, due many English nobles and cooks fleeing to France from the dour Puritan regime of Oliver Cromwell.
As well as the exotic new ingredients like chocolate and chilli, there were new techniques and utensils that came to England with the Restoration, that were completely unknown in the Elizabethan period.
That said, many of the great Restoration cooks, such as Robert May, began their cooking careers during the reign of Elizabeth, and in some cases it’s possible to trace their dishes from Elizabethan ones. There are some Restoration dishes that would not be out of place at an Elizabethan feast; however, proceed with caution!
Vegetable Side Dishes