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Eating and Drinking

Eating and Drinking

udor London had many inns, taverns and alehouses where people could buy wine, beer and food. Inns and taverns were more expensive whereas alehouses could be as small as a room in someone's home. Drinks were served using metal, pottery or leather jugs. Many poor Londoners lived in cramped accommodation without any cooking facilities so they relied on cookshops for food. These were the Tudor equivalent of a modern fast food takeaway shop and sold things like roast meats and pies. Cookshops were popular but there were many complaints about poor quality food and bad hygiene.

Find out how rich and poor Tudor Londoners served drinks

Ceramic jug used for serving drinks, 16th century

Find out why leather was used to make jugs

Find out how leather jugs were made

Leather jug for serving drinks, 16th - 17th century

Find out how whistles were used to catch birds for eating

Ceramic whistle in the shape of a bird, used to catch birds for eating, 16th century

Home cooking

ome cooking was generally done over an open fire. Meat could be stewed in a cauldron or cooking pot or roasted in front of the fire on a spit with a dripping dish underneath to catch the fat. Most people did not eat meat every day as it was expensive. Common daily foods were bread and pottage (a porridge-like stew made with vegetables and oats or barley).

If you were invited to another person's home for a meal, you would be expected to bring your own cutlery – a knife and a spoon (forks were not generally used in England until the 17th century). People ate with their fingers a lot – they speared and cut food with their pointed knife but put the food in their mouths with their fingers, unless it was runny and then they used their spoon.

Find out how a Tudor saucepan works

Ceramic pipkin (a type of saucepan), used for cooking food over a fire, early 17th century

Find out how dripping dishes were used to catch the fat from roasting meat

Ceramic dripping dish used for catching the fat from roasting meat, late 16th - 17th century

See a wooden bowl, which was used for eating from

Wooden bowl with painted decoration, 16th century

See a Tudor table knife with gold decoration

Iron table knife with gold decoration, late 16th century

Find out what you can learn about Tudor life from three spoons

Pewter spoon which has been marked by its owner to show who it belongs to, early 16th century

Pewter spoon with decorated handle, late 16th century

Pewter spoon which is worn on one side and has bite marks, showing its owner was right-handed

Eating and drinking at
Hampton Court Palace

he kitchens at Hampton Court Palace were the largest in the country in Tudor times. When the king or queen stayed at the palace the kitchen staff had to provide meals for around 800 people twice a day (at midday and 4pm). This included meals for the 200 kitchen workers. The royal family had their own 'privy' (private) kitchen with separate staff to cook their meals at whatever timetable the monarch wanted.

The kitchens had many rooms where different types of food were stored or made – meat, fish, spices, pies, bread and sweet dishes. The Great Kitchen was at the centre. Here meat was roasted on spits in front of huge fires. The royal court ate a huge quantity of meat. In Queen Elizabeth I's reign 8,200 sheep, 2,330 deer and 1,870 pigs were cooked in the royal kitchens in one year.

Not all who stayed at Hampton Court Palace were provided with food. Those who were given meals were on a special list called the 'bouche of Court' – this said what

and where people could eat. The closer you ate to the monarch's private rooms, the more important you were at court. Palace guards and servants would eat in the Great Hall, away from the royal family. Higher-ranking courtiers would eat in the Great Watching Chamber.

Introduction to the Great Kitchen at Hampton Court Palace

Find out how the Great Kitchen at Hampton Court Palace was designed

Find out what happened in the flesh larder at Hampton Court Palace

Find out how meat was roasted in the Great Kitchen at Hampton Court Palace

Find out how vast quantities of stew were made in the kitchens at Hampton Court Palace

Find out how peacocks were cooked and prepared for eating at Hampton Court Palace

See the staircase where food was brought up from the kitchens at Hampton Court Palace

Find out how food was kept safe at Hampton Court Palace

Find out where Henry VIII's food was cooked at Hampton Court Palace

Find out where people ate at Hampton Court Palace, depending on their status at court

Find out how meals were collected from the Great Kitchen at Hampton Court Palace

Find out where food was stored at Hampton Court Palace and how fish was kept fresh