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Food fit for a Queen


Food Fit for a Queen

             by Prof Alan F Harrison
            The article published on 1 June is reproduced first (minus graphics included in the journal) .  It is supplemented with notes.  Further material follows.  This page is open only to IWFS members.  After 1 September, it will be available to all readers. 

Contents here.    Latest article in the Garnishes series here.                                                              Previous articles here. 

 An Elizabethan Feast
First Course
Miniature pastries filled with cod liver
or beef marrow
A carmeline meat "brewet," pieces of meat
in a thin cinnamon sauce
Beef marrow
Eels in a thick spicy puree
Loach in cold-green sauce flavored
with spices and sage
Large cuts of roast or boiled meat
Saltwater fish
Second Course
(hulled wheat boiled in milk, with
flavored sugar and spices)
Freshwater fish
Broth with bacon
A meat tile

Carpon pasties and crisps
Bream and eel pasties
Third Course
Lampreys with hot sauce
Roast bream and darioles
(a dariole is a small cream tart with
puff pastry, in a circular mould)
Spiced wine (for digestion)

     In this the year of HM Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, the nation is engaged in festivities which reflect her food likes. It is appropriate that such an esteemed Society as the IWFS should acknowledge the role she plays as host and guest in the international political dining room.
     The food and drink of Elizabeth I varied according to status and wealth. In the early Medieval era, meat was a sign of wealth. But as the population rose, this was supported by improving agricultural techniques and inventions. The Elizabethan era also saw the introduction of different foods from the New World and it included the potato and tomato along with chilli, cayenne and paprika. It saw the expanded use of sugar. Increased cultivation of fruit trees and the keeping of bees was also seen during the Elizabethan era increasing the range of foods available. Elizabeth proclaimed that her countrymen must eat fish on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

     Banquets and feasts within the Court were lavish. The Tudor Dynasty was always in competition with French royalty. Cooks faced the reality of the competition and did all they could to provide Elizabeth with
banquets of higher renown. The word originated from French and meant a meal eaten at a bench.
     One famous ceremonial feast consisted of 50 crabs, 18 trout, 9 large and 9 small pike, 4 large salmon, 18 brill, 10 large turbot, 200 cod tripes, 50 pounds of whale, 200 smoked and 200 pickled herring and a numerous amount of food after that.
     Banquets of these times were so big that hosts employed servants for the oddest job tasks. One example would be the bread trencher; his job was to get fresh bread and replace it with the old bread that had become stale during the meal. Squares of hard-baked bread - trenchers- were used by the poor who ate them to finish the meal.
     People of this time did not use the utensils that we use now. They thought that using their hands to scoop out the food was much more efficient. Several table-manner books influenced by Erasmus came out at this time because it was most obvious that one did not want to eat after his or her neighbour scratched himself and then had scooped food out with the same hand.

      During the Elizabethan Period people prepared a wide variety of foods that would be unheard of in restaurants today. English people were very visual about their food. They loved strange shapes and particularly enjoyed dishes of unusual colours. Unusual dishes included such treats as small birds in a pie, roast peacock, hedgehogs, or roast swan. Even though they did not eat such dishes as swan and peacock, they were used as a centrepiece decoration among the royalty. 
     In contrast, however, Elizabeth I preferred more simple fayre. Her meals were light, with fish or fowl more often than red meat. The ale called “Angel’s Face” or “Dragon’s Milk” was too strong for her and she added water to anything alcoholic. Before bed at nine o’clock, she drank ale with white bread, not the coarse bread made from rye or dry ground peas which the common people ate.


     The menu on the left is an example of a school project on the first Elizabeth’s food era.  source    However, the Internet is to be taken with a pinch of salt.  The same menu is claimed to be of Parisian origin as seen here


     When we turn our attention to Queen Elizabeth II, the practicalities of the research reveal trite quotations such as “Her Maj lists taking afternoon tea among her royal pastimes. Alongside her special blend of royal tea, are scones, potted shrimps and thin cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off.” It’s much better to look at the royal table at banquets and entertaining where thought and investigation have been applied. State visits are formal visits to the UK by Heads of State from overseas, with the aim of strengthening Britain's relationships with other countries.  more
Her Majesty's State Banquet Menu in honour of
President Barack Obama—2011
Paupiette de Sole et Cresson
Sauce Nantua
Sole with Watercress, with aBechamel Sauce with Crayfish

Agneau de la Nouvelle Saison de Windsor au Basilic
New Season Lamb in a "Windsor Basil"

Courgettes et Radis Sautées
Sautéed Zucchini and Radish

Panaché d’Haricots Verts
Green beans
Pommes Boulangère
French Gratin Potatoes

Charlotte à la Vanille et Cerises Griottes
Vanilla Charlotte topped with Sour Cherries

Fruits de Dessert

Les Vins
Ridgeview Cuvée Merret Fitzrovia Rosé 2004
Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2004 (Domaine William Fèvre)
Echézeaux Grand Cru 1990 (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti)
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Vintage Rich 2002
Royal Vintage Port 1963

Queen as the guest of P M at Downing St 
June 2011

Fewer people are in a better position to establish HM’s food likes.
Stilton and Watercress Tart with Summer Leaf Salad
Roast Fillet of Inverurie Beef
New Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables
Caramelised Peaches and Nectarines
Home-made Raspberry Ice Cream

        No sign of the wine served. The Government keeps a large wine cellar near Whitehall with nearly 40,000 bottles. Only Her Majesty and heads of state are allowed the finest vintages. Other wines are served to maintain the diplomatic atmosphere.

         The menus emphasise Her Majesty’s preference for the finest and freshest ingredients simply prepared.  Not so very diferent from her predescessor Elizabeth I

End of article.


    Contents here   Top of page




Article begins                

Queen Elizabeth I

Read about her Life 

Banquets and feasts

A proper new Booke of Cookery.

The booke of Hunting


A miscellany

Her household

Orders and Rules

Elizabethan food

Elizabethan persona

Clarissa Wright
      The Elizabethan trifle
        Hot cross buns

Sir Roy Strong
         Elizabeth I


Queen Elizabeth II

Read about her life

Food domain

The Obamas

USA and back

State banquets

President Zuma

No. 10


The Coronation

Coronation Chicken
Coronation menus



Sir Roy Strong
     Elizabeth II





Elizabethan Banquets and Feasts
For two hundred years, food has been the centre of development of society. It has dictated population growth and urban expansion; influenced economic, social, and political theory; separated the royalty and peasantry; widened the horizons of commerce; inspired wars of dominion; played no small role in the creation of empires; and precipitated the discovery of new worlds. It has been very important in relations between peoples, particularly in the social gathering of a diverse group of people such as the banquets that were popular in Elizabethan days.

To this day people engage in banquets like people did in the Elizabethan Period. Though the menus have changed, the idea of social gathering with food is just about the same. People now can go to places such as "Old Country Buffet" (a popular "all you can eat buffet") and eat an extravagant amount of food that almost anyone could afford.

Another important difference between modern day buffets and Elizabethan banquets is this: only the royalty and the wealthy in those days could afford to have such a feast because a peasant obviously could not afford roast peacock or swan. 


   The menu which introduced the article is to be found there.     Elizabethan England  - more  


Roy Strong in his "Feast- A History of Grand Eating" (p 205, Jonathan Cape, 2002) tells us that Queen Elizabeth I never ate in public. 


A proper new Booke of Cookery

Declaring what maner of meates be best in season for al times of the yeere, and how they ought to be dressed, & served at the Table, both for fleshe dayes and Fish daies. with a new addition, very necessary for al them that delight in Cookery. 1575. 

Much more via source

The booke of Hunting - 1575

 Gascoigne’s text presents a woodblock print of Queen Elizabeth in a pastoral glade, where she observes courtiers, ladies-in-waiting, and frolicking children ... Dressed in beautiful clothing, these courtiers and children eat a bountiful feast and drink from beautifully crafted goblets. Elizabeth sits on an unseen stool or chair with her back to a shade tree as one of two flanked courtiers holds open a covered container, offering her a drink. The Queen, however, looks directly at the would-be courtier Gascoigne, who kneels before her on one knee as she motions with her right hand for him to come closer. In removing from the picnic image any sign of workers or dog trainers, Gascoigne’s visual text reinforces his poetic construction of an edenic, pastoral landscape (23). Where plainly dressed dog-handlers and trackers populate the many images of woodland glades in the rest of his text, here they remain conspicuously absent. Gascoigne dresses all members of the picnic assembly in costly, fashionable attire, graphically removing all signs of the lower classes and their labor. Effacing the social differences and hierarchies that materially constituted the complex ritual practices of hunting, Gascoigne’s visual text initially constructs a utopian and Italianate pastoral setting that buries class and courtly conflict, as well as the intensive labor required for the feast and the hunt, in favor of an apolitical, classless community in which everyone enjoys leisure and relative equality

source - go to Note 11

 Contents here  Top of page




Erasmus: A Social Transparency

Changes in social behavior and imagery occur slowly and often in diffuse and contradictory fashion. We can rarely assign a precise date to a particular change or innovation. In the history of manners, however, one event does stand out, for the entire literature of civility derives from a single work, which was invoked as an authority if not mercilessly pillaged and deformed by subsequent writers. Erasmus’ Manners for Children (De civilitate morum puerilium), first published at Basel in 1530, met with enormous success.3 Not only did this brief and didactic Latin treatise reformulate the very notion of civility; it set the tone for the whole “literature of manners” for the next three centuries. source    more



Queen Elizabeth 1 - a miscellany images
potato ... The English, if legend is to be believed, got their first potatoes direct from America, Sir Francis Drake picking up a load of them in the Caribbean in 1586. .... It does not seem to have been until the late eighteenth century that it had established itself as a commonly eaten vegetable in virtually all parts of the continent. In England, ...

The Elizabethans were faced with the problem of what to call these new and unpromising-looking tubers. They decided that they looked sufficiently like the vegetable they called the potato (familiar since the mid-sixteenth century, and known to us now as the sweet potato) to share its name, and so potato it was. 

potato" An A-Z of Food and Drink. Ed. John Ayto. Oxford university Press, 2002. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Herefordshire Libraries. 2 April 2012 <http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t134.e988


  Contents here   Top of page

Windsor Castle –
  • The Castle's Great Kitchen, the oldest working kitchen in the country. Dating back to the reign of Edward III, the Great Kitchen has remained in constant use for over 650 years and has served 32 British monarchs.
  • See photos of the ‘Great Kitchens’ and dining room at Windsor Castle: [on this link]
  • Tour the Great Kitchen at Windsor Castle here

Hampton Court Palace –

  • Built to feed the Court of Henry VIII, these kitchens were designed to feed at least 600 people twice a day. This was a vast operation, larger than any modern hotel, and one that had to cope without modern conveniences.
  • The Great Kitchen contained six fireplaces and above, there were three small courtyards surrounded by all the necessary offices such as the Boiling House (for making stock) the Pastry House (for making pie cases), the confectioners' house, the Wet Larder (for storing fish) and the Dry Larder (for grain). source





Elizabeth's Household
Timeline . Elizabeth's Household . References  see it all    History.


In the sixteenth century, the king was considered the anointed of God, and was required to maintain his position at the top of the Great Chain of Being. Elizabeth I was a powerful monarch, and it was obvious to her and her fellow monarchs that magnificence was a requirement of their place in the Great Chain of Being. Since they were at the pinnacle of earthly mortals they needed to appear more capable than mere men, better dressed, and more lavishly attended. Elizabeth, being a woman and therefore naturally inferior to a man according to the Great Chain of Being, may have felt this requirement more keenly than other monarchs.

Conspicuous consumption

Generous hospitality was probably the most useful and widespread form of nobles' conspicuous consumption; putting up, feeding and entertaining guests. The efficiency and gentility (or lack thereof) offered by the household in the provision of such hospitality, as well as the hospitality itself, would affect those whom the lord was attempting to impress.


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The Kitchen was one of the largest departments in the Domus Providencie, it had two staffs, the monarch's and the Hall's, which each consisted of "three Clerks, three Master Cooks, six Yeomen, six Grooms, eight Pages, and an unspecified number of 'gallapines'," whose responsibility was "to scrub the kitchens and "outward galleries" twice daily" to maintain cleanliness. By 1601, the Kitchen was divided into the Privy Kitchen and the Great Kitchen - parallel to monarch's and hall kitchens, and Elizabeth's funeral procession only lists "Master Cook of the Housholde, Master Cook of the Kitchen," so she may have removed one of the cooks over the course of her reign.

The Chief Clerk of the Kitchen had two under Clerks, and all three of them were required to oversee the quality of the queen's food and to make sure that the goods were in the larder for the cooks use. The clerks would check each department for waste, and the quality of the goods being used. This function was duplicated in one form or another throughout the Domus Providencie, the clerk was responsible for maintaining the standards laid down by the household ordinances, and therefore the majesty of the queen. The sergeants were responsible for enforcing the clerk's decisions, and making the practical conform to the ceremonial. The Chief Clerk of the Kitchen was traditionally responsible for "all buyings of foodstuffs and sometimes of spices in the household…his function is mainly that of book-keeper", but with all the foodstuffs and departments that required the supervision of the Kitchen Clerks "there [was] matter enough to employ them all therein".

The Clerks of the Kitchen supervised "the cellar, the buttery, the acatry, the poultry, the bakehouse, the pantry, the kitchen, and other subdivisions of the household". Under the more direct control of the sergeant of the Kitchen were the Larder, the Boilinghouse, and the Pastry. The Boilinghouse was responsible for boiling all the meat to sterilize it, and was staffed by only three men. Once the meat had been preserved or boiled, it was stored in the larder. The larder was one of the departments that employed the children of other servants, and was run by the Sergeants, since it was under the control of the Kitchen.The Larder was a storeroom for the food the Kitchen would need for the preparation of meals. The pastry was an area of the kitchen that specialized in meat pies and baked meats.


After the kitchen, the Cellar had the most responsibility since it controlled the Buttery, the Pitcherhouse. The cellar itself stored and dispensed the wine, like all the other food departments, always checking that the quality was the best and that none of it had spoiled. The Buttery was traditionally a small chamber near the main hall, it had been where beer and wine were laid out before being served. By the sixteenth century, the buttery was the division of the cellar that bought, stored, served and checked the quality of beer and ale. The pitcherhouse "kept the cups, mugs and pitchers in which potables were dispensed." It was responsible for their cleaning and storage, which was not a minor chore, Elizabethan etiquette required the nobility to have a new glass with each cup of wine or beer.

It was the responsibility of the officers of the Cellar to "keepe their office of the celler cleane, without servants or others," which they may have done, but they probably had servants to do it for them. And, of course, they had to make sure the king had the best wine at the best price. The sergeant of the cellar "had to ensure that all the casks he signed for were of full measure and filled to the brim and that they were properly sealed when the court "removed" to prevent spillage and pollution by dust." In addition, he would taste the wine and ale to be sure of its quality, a duty that he no doubt exploited by drinking more than absolutely necessary.

 Contents here    Top of page



Anthony Viscount Montague's Book of Orders and Rules 1595

A noble household in Elizabethan England

Managing a noble household in Elizabethan England


Lord Anthony Maria Browne, 2nd Viscount Montague (also rendered Montacute) wrote the "Book of Orders and Rules" in 1595, when he was just 21/22, for the "better direction and government of my household and family, together with the several duties and charges appertaining to mine officers and other servants".

In this document, the young Viscount sounds somewhat defensive. His father had died before his grandfather, so young Anthony inherited at the age of 18 a noble household that had long been under the hand of one man who had gotten old and sick in Queen Elizabeth I's service. It appears as though the staff had gotten used to doing things without much supervision or accountability, and may have gotten very lax in performance. He mentions several times, for example, that the woods and meadows both need looking into.

The senior staff in particular may have developed a little attitude problem about what "perks" of office were theirs of right and ancient custom, as opposed to the generous hand of their master. At the time of writing, they are likely still thinking of their new viscount as "the boy", who doesn't understand how we do things around here. In the end we see his lordship taking back all privileges to remind them that they come from him, not from some inalienable right. And he'll choose to restore them one at a time, maybe, if he sees fit to do so.


source leading to the book in pdf format

Contents here     Top of page



Elizabethan Food

Elizabethan Food and Drink varied according to status and wealth. In the early Medieval era meat was a sign of wealth. But as the population rose, this was supported by improving agricultural techniques and inventions. The Elizabethan era also saw the introductions of different food from the New World. And the Elizabethan period saw the expanded use of sugar. Increased cultivation of fruit trees and bee hives was also seen during the Elizabethan era increasing the range of foods available. The section and era covering Elizabethan Food includes sections on Daily Meals, Elizabethan food preservation, Elizabethan food and diet, food availability, food served at a Banquet or feast and food from the New World. There is also a separate section containing old Elizabethan recipes.

Old Elizabethan Recipes
Elizabethan Daily Meals
Elizabethan Food Preservation
Elizabethan Food and Diet
Elizabethan Foods from the New World
Elizabethan Food Availability
Elizabethan Banquet & Feast

source header pic from same source


Royal persona

More than any other English monarch before or since, Queen Elizabeth I used her annual progresses to shape her royal persona and to bolster her popularity and authority. During the spring and summer, accompanied by her court, Elizabeth toured southern England, the Midlands, and parts of the West Country, staying with private and civic hosts, and at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The progresses provided hosts with unique opportunities to impress and influence the Queen, and became occasions for magnificent and ingenious entertainments and pageants, drawing on the skills of architects, artists, and ...


source -


Contents here     Top of page






HM Queen Elizabeth II

Aspects of her food and drink domain

Further to comment made about the Palace, the appropriate unit is "F Branch" and "G Branch" here if only contact were possible.

The Internet is full of Q E 2 food likes and dislikes but as a means of drawing readers to adverts and cannot be relied on.

Plenty of bangers and mash linked to royal "events" such as

Two approaches used. The Queen entertains - what does she give her guests. The Queen is entertained. Hosts are likely to find out what she likes.


State Visits

State visits are formal visits to the UK by Heads of State from overseas, with the aim of strengthening Britain's relationships with other countries.

There are usually two incoming State visits each year. Invitations are sent on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

When Heads of State visit Britain less formally, they are nearly always received in audience by The Queen.


View a film about state banquets much lower down.

Life inside a royal kitchen video All the Queen's cooks video. 



Contents here     Top of page




 The Obamas 



The Obamas visit Buckingham Palace:

The preparations are incredible; the huge dining table, measuring 160ft and taking six men three hours to assemble in a horseshoe shape, is so wide the only way to maintain its sheen is to have footmen shuffling over it with dusters covering their stockinged feet. The Palace Steward has responsibility for the solid gold cutlery: 1,350 knives, forks and spoons and 850 crystal glasses (five for each of the 170 guests – sherry, white wine, red wine, champagne and water.


more: some text on the present page has been tense-updated


The Ballroom hosted the State banquet, where the Queen was the star and every guest wore 'every rock in the book'




Inside the royal suite where the Obamas stayed during their visit to Buckingham Palace.


Examples of the menus are below.


Other rooms.









Source and more pictures.

The Pommes Boulangère are great, Ma'am!

an imagined quotation

See menu below.

Contents here     Top of page


Arrival lunch

Tartlet of Soft Poached Egg with Asparagus

Poussin with Morels

Mango and Passion Fruit Parfait



Her Majesty's State Banquet Menu
in honour of
President Barack Obama


Paupiette de Sole et Cresson
Sauce Nantua
Sole with Watercress, with a Bechamel Sauce with Crayfish

Agneau de la Nouvelle Saison de Windsor au Basilic
New Season Lamb in a "Windsor Basil"
Courgettes et Radis Sautées
Sautéed Zucchini and Radish
Panaché d’Haricots Verts
Green beans
Pommes Boulangère
French Gratin Potatoes

Charlotte à la Vanille et Cerises Griottes
Vanilla Charlotte topped with Sour Cherries
Fruits de Dessert
Dessert Fruit

Les Vins
Ridgeview Cuvée Merret Fitzrovia Rosé 2004
Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2004 (Domaine William Fèvre)
Echézeaux Grand Cru 1990 (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti)
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Vintage Rich 2002
Royal Vintage Port 1963


Contents here     Top of page


picture and menu source


The search for Her Majesty's food likes widens to America only to return home

We consult chef Patrick O'Connell whose "The Inn" is at Little Washington in the foothills of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. He had been invited to "the governor's mansion in Richmond [in 2007] to prepare the food for a private cocktail reception in honor of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip",

"When it came to her preferences, though, O'Connell had left nothing to chance. He consulted Michel Roux, a chef favored by the royal family, about likes (eggs, seafood) and dislikes (raw fish, garlic, strawberries). The Monday before the event, O'Connell staged a three-hour dress rehearsal at his restaurant. He and his cooks prepared all of the dishes and served them to one another to experience them from the guests' perspective."

" Did the queen eat? "Of course," O'Connell said, but added that there was no word on just what she tried and what she thought of it."

And that sums up the situation! . 

 Contents here         Top of page



View a film about
State Banquets It is the second video panel - you saw the first in the Obama section above.

"Some menu items are politically unpalatable. The former governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, remembers a delegation from the World Wildlife Fund which had come to China to promote the protection of rare species. At their farewell banquet hosted by the government in Beijing, the second course was bears' paws." source




 President Zuma

Queen Elizabeth II gives State Banquet in Honor of President Zuma - Neither English Sparker nor South African Wine Served (2010)

We presume the menu is a compromise between HM's household here research into the guest's food preferences and her own.

The state banquet

* Pavé de Saumon Glamis
* Noisettes d'Agneau Narbonnaise; Courgettes Jaunes et Vertes Sautées; Pommes Forestière; Salade
* Sablé aux Pommes de Sandringham
* Fruits de Dessert
* Les Vins: Pol Roger, White Label Brut Réserve NV; Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru, les Referts, Louis Jadot 2002; Château Lynch-Bages, Pauillac 1986; Louis Roederer 'Carte Blanche' Demi-Sec NV; Royal Vintage Port 1963

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Queen makes rare visit to Downing St
here 21 June 2011

The menu

The lunch menu featured a starter of Stilton and watercress tart, a main course of Inverurie beef from Aberdeenshire in Scotland, and a dessert of peaches and nectarines with ice cream.

Stilton and Watercress Tart with Summer Leaf Salad

Roast Fillet of Inverurie Beef

New Potatoes Seasonal Vegetables

Caramelised Peaches and Nectarines

Home-made Raspberry Ice Cream


picture source


  Contents here   Top of page


H M Queen Elizabeth State Visit to India 2009

The menu included halibut, salted saddle of lamb and stuffed courgettes with mango ice cream, washed down by Chateau Cos d'Estournel, St Estephe 1988.

Read more

Arrival Lunch

Poached Vine Tomato filled with Celeriac

Avocado Mousse

Pot roasted English Partridge from the Sandringham Estate

Blackberry and Apple Tart


State Banquet:

Baked fillet of Halibut topped with a Herb Crust with a white Wine Sauce

Stuffed Saddle of Salt Marsh Lamb garnished with Aubergines and Onions

Iced Mango Bombe


picture source


Contents here

State dinner menu for Britain's Queen
Dublin Castle - May 2011

A State dinner was hosted at Dublin Castle by the President and Dr Martin McAleese in honour of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Here are the details of the dinner::


Cured salmon with Burren smoked salmon cream and lemon balm jelly, horseradish and wild watercress, Kilkenny organic cold pressed rapeseed oil

Rib of Slaney Valley Beef, ox cheek and tongue with smoked champ potato and fried spring cabbage, new season broad beans and carrots with pickled and wild garlic leaf

Carrageen set West Cork cream with Meath strawberries,
fresh yoghurt mousse and soda bread sugar biscuits,
Irish apple balsamic vinegar meringue

Irish Cheese Plate

Tea and Coffee

Château de Fieuzal, 2005, Graves Pessac-Léognan

Château Lynch-Bages, 1998, Pauillac


Irish Cheeses

Glebe Brethan
Hard Comté style cheese made using raw cow's milk from the Tiernan's own herd of Montbéliarde cows.

Cashel Blue
Semi-soft blue cheese, made using cow's milk from their own and selected neighbouring farms.

Semi-soft, washed rind cheese made in a classic Munster style from pasteurised cow's milk.

Semi-firm goat's milk cheese in the classic French Tomme style.




 Contents here

H M Queen Elizabeth Coronation menu

Queen Elizabeth had two banquets for her coronation.
Coronation Chicken was certainly not the only dish to be served during the Coronation Lunch; it is simply the most most famous once since it had been specifically created for the informal meal served to the guests

Menus were deliberately kept simple both because the Royal Family liked simple food, and because Britain was still recovering from the devastation of World War II and an extravagant banquet would have alienated a lot of people.

The Menu for the First Coronation Banquet:

1st course - Clear Turtle (turtle soup)
2nd course - Scottish Salmon with Cucumbers, Souce Verte
3rd course - Baron of Beef (roast beef), Jacket Potatoes, Salad
4th course - Norfolk Asparagus, Sauce Hollandaise
5th course - Ice Pudding, Kent Strawberries, Maids of Honour (round open tarts)
6th course - Coffee
Each course was accompanied by beverages; for example, Baron of Beef was served with vintage Champagne.

The Menu of the Second Coronation Banquet:

1st course - Soup
2nd course - Scottish Salmon (again)
3rd course - Grilled Steaks (garnished with quarters of artichoke hearts in butter), Cocotte Potatoes with truffle, Salad
4th course - Coronation Chicken
5th course - Souffle, Fruits
6th course - Coffee
Again, each course was accompanied by suitable beverages.

source menu cover source

Queen Elizabeth II Coronation menu 1953

 Contents here




 Wright, Clarissa, A History of English Food, Random House Books, 2011 more

Using this excellent book, we will continue the Coronation aspects.

Coronation Chicken - p 434

Wright refers to The Constance Spry Cookery Book.

From that source we learn:

"In 1946, she opened a domestic science school with her friend, the accomplished cook Rosemary Hume, ... in Winkfield, Berkshire.  ... In 1953, Spry was commissioned to arrange the flowers at Westminster Abbey and along the processional route from Buckingham Palace for Queen Elizabeth II's coronation. The Winkfield students were asked to cater a lunch for foreign delegates for whom Hume invented a new dish – Coronation chicken.

Coronation menus - p 435

Tuiles d'amandes here

Hot cross buns p 145

"The Elizabethans regarded buns made with eggs and spices as a great treat, and in Lent, as a special delight, they added currants and raisins. Some have suggested that the hot cross bun, which we traditionally eat on Good Friday, may have a link with the Reformation. Before then, the argument goes, buns were marked with a cross before they went into the oven in order to ward off evil spirits that might prevent the bread from rising properly. After the Reformation, crosses on bread were regarded as papist and so banned. However, because the cross had a special significance on Good Friday, hot cross buns were allowed to continue. It's a nice story, even if the evidence for it is shaky. Elizabeth David does note, however, that in 1592 Elizabeth I restricted London bakeries from making crossed buns 'except it be at burials, or on Friday before Easter, or at Christmas'."

The reference to Elizabeth David needs mention.  Wright's Bibliography lists "French Provincial Cookery" and "A Book of Meditteranean Food".  Neither book is likely to have included the hot cross bun.  See David's quotation at the foot of the page here.  Plenty of other information on that page.

The Elizabethan trifle

"Over time, enclosure, particularly in the south of England, made it harder and harder for country people to keep their own livestock, but in Tudor times many still kept a family cow, while those new landowners who gained from the dissolution of the monasteries often turned over pasturage to newly acquired herds. The net result seems to have been a gradual increase in the consumption of cow's milk and a complementary decline in the popularity of sheep and goat's milk. As for town dwellers, they looked to the country for the provision of butter an,cL, cheese, but to a growing number of urban dairies, where cows were kept in stalls and fed on bean pods and other greenery, for their milk. Both milk and cream were increasingly used in cooking as the century wore on, especially in the making of fancy desserts - syllabubs, junkets set with rennet, and trifles, although, as this recipe from Thomas Dawson's The Good Huswife's lewellot 1596 shows, the Elizabethan trifle is not quite what we would expect to see today:

Take a pinte of thicke Creame, and season it with Sugar and Ginger, and Rosewater, so stirre it as you would then have it, and make it luke warme in a dish on a Chafingdish and coals, and after put it into a silver piece or bowle, and so serve it to the boorde."

Read Thomas Dawson's The Good Huswife's lewellot  here.


Royalty recipes

There is an abundance of modern day dishes named after British Royalty, suggesting that the alliance between royalty and British food has been strong for hundreds of years. The names often stem from a single event (for example Coronation chicken and Crepes Suzette [?]), physical appearance (Crown of Lamb) or were simply named so because they were fit for a Queen (Queen of Puddings). Often however they are named after a King or Queen who favoured the food (For example Victoria Sponge and Fillet of Beef Prince Albert). source


Crepes Suzette and British royalty? See here. here and numerous here, including recipes if you accept the notion.



Concluding within the theme that celebration menus involving Her Majesty at least will not include her dislikes we can go back in time:


"The "wedding breakfast" was held after the marriage ceremony at Westminster Abbey in the Ball Supper-room at Buckingham Palace. The menu was Filet de Sole Mountbatten, Perdreau en Casserole, Bombe Glacee Princess Elizabeth."  source - No. 38


The BBC does not reveal its sources of information.  Roy Strong in his "Feast- A History of Grand Eating" (p 310, Jonathan Cape, 2002) gives the same information in the context of within fifty years, a great history had terminated.  

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