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Shakespearean Food

Shakespearean Food

It’s Shakespeare’s birthday this week and so I thought I would celebrate with an insight into the great Shakespearean feast and how you can prepare one. April 23rd is thought to be Shakespeare’s birthday. The V&A museum has sets aside 10 days for a programme of live performances, talks, screenings and workshops by actors, musicians, dancers and comedians around the Bard’s birthday and there’ll be screenings from the National Video Archive of Performance, including from the all-female performance of Julius Caesar.

But I thought we should look at the food of the age. In addition to the popularity of beer, due to the poor sanitation of the water, Shakespeare’s lifetime saw a flurry of culinary oddities. It wasn’t uncommon to see such surprises as hedgehogs, fish pies, and even fried peacock.

Chicken was a much-loved food, but it was expensive in Shakespeare's time, so only the wealthy could afford it.

In Shakespeare's time, beef was thought to stir up courage, and he made reference to the fact when in Henry V when the French Constable says of the English soldiers "give them great meals of beef, and iron and steel, they will eat like wolves and fight like devils".

 If you want to celebrate the greatest playwright we have, why not try this Shakespearean beef stew, which uses two key ingredients popular in the wealthy and royal households – beef and wine. Spices were also prized and enjoyed by those who could afford them so putting the three sets of ingredients together was very logical. It’s made with ground almonds, honey, cloves, red wine and of course honey. You can see the full recipe here

And if you want a whole range of historical recipes which Shakespeare may have indulged in,  here are 11 recipes of the time, you can try  - click here


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