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Tudor Food

Most Tudor meals were not very healthy:
  • If families were rich, they ate too much meat and fat and not enough fruit and vegetables.
  • If families were poor, they sometimes had to survive on bread alone.
The main meal of the day was dinner, served at around 11 o'clock in the morning. The would eat with: their fingers, knives and spoons. There were no forks.

Tudor people had no fridges or freezers. They preserved meat in tubs of salty water or by hanging it in smoky chimneys, and stored fruit and vegetables in cold attics and barns to eat in winter time.

Meats eaten included: deer, pigs and wild boar. Game was also popular and included: pigeons, pheasants and partridges. Animals would be kept all year round and only killed just before they needed to be eaten to make sure the meat was always fresh.

Bread was eaten with most meals. Rich people ate bread made from white or wholemeal flour whilst poor people ate bread made from rye and even ground acorns.

Many new foods arrived in Britain for the first time from the Americas, such as: potatoespineapples, chillies and avocados.

Sugar was very expensive as it came from abroad, so honey was often used instead to sweeten food.

Poor people would eat a herb-flavoured soup called pottage which would be served with bread. It was made of: peas, milk, egg yolks, breadcrumbs and parsley.

Wenceslas Hollar - The mess of pottage (State 1)

The most common Tudor drink was very weak beer because it was safer than water from wells and streams, which was often polluted with sewage.