Tuesday, 15 December 2009
BLD No. 11
In Tudor times (16th century) the traditional meat was swan, goose or woodcock if they could be caught. That all changed in 1523 when turkey was first introduced and King Henry the VIII got his first taste of it.
The Tudors would also have eaten venison, peacock (which was skinned and roasted then put back inside the cured skin with the feathers on as a table decoration) and wild boar which was often the centre piece of the mean.
There is a long tradition of having a boars head for feasts, possibly originating from an Anglo-Saxon tradition of sacrificing the boar for their Yuletide celebrations. It would be carried into banqueting halls on a dish of gold or silver and was accompanied by trumpets and the songs of minstrels.
Another common Christmas dish was Souse which was pickled pigs feet and ears and then there was the Christmas Pie. The pie consisted of a pigeon inside a partridge inside a chicken inside a goose inside a turkey, which was then put in a pastry case called a coffin and served surrounded by hare and other game birds.
The Tudors enjoyed their mince pies which had far more significance than they do today. They were made with thirteen ingredients which represented Jesus and his Apostles and were mixed with mutton which represented the shepherds.
*artwork D by Janet Samuel