The Tudor Society

Tudor Food Video Part 2 – The Rich

In this week's Claire Chats video I talk about the kind of food enjoyed by the wealthier classes of Tudor society.


  • Elizabeth's London: Everyday Life in Elizabethan London by Liza Picard
  • Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Tudors but Were Afraid to Ask by Terry Breverton
  • Food and Feast in Tudor England by Alison Sim

There are 2 comments Go To Comment

  1. L

    Very interesting talk Claire could you tell me please , did the Tudors know the difference between some foods that were healthy and some which were bad for their health or was it just about certain foods for the rich and the poor?

  2. L

    I don’t think it mattered Lynne. Healthy eating wasn’t around.
    The rich could afford the best simple as that.
    On the whole I feel that the common riff raff, perhaps ate a more varied diet than the nobles.
    Generally the nobles ate a protein rich diet of meat and fish, but had very little vegetables, and everything was loaded with sugar, which of course isn’t like it is today it was in a loaf form and cut into slabs. Marchpane was also quite popular. Marchpane I believe is a form of Marzipan, which as you know is extremely sweet and sickly. Sweetbreads, and sugar plums were quite common too. I dare say that many of the deaths of the nobles can be contributed to Diabetis.
    The poor however lived mostly on a diet of Pottage,(a type of thick soup I believe) This pottage contained mostly root veg (Rich in iron and vitamins) and barley, and maybe rabbit and fish or mutton, which would be eaten mainly with rye bread. If they fancied anything sweet then they would eat fruit, just as it was. Sugar was a commoditidy that none of them could ever hope to afford, although there were some people who kept bees and so honey would also be subsitute to sugar..
    Drink wise it would be small beer or whatever they could brew for themselves (I suppose you could say moonshine) Children would drink buttermilk which was rich in Calcium.
    I hope this helps.

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Tudor Food Video Part 2 – The Rich