Appetizers in Elizabethan Times

Save

The Elizabethan period was the golden age for art and literature, during her rein from 1558 to 1603. Before the main meal, such tidbits as eel, mutton balls and spicy lamb were served --- not only as a starter, but also to set the mood for before-dinner conversation. Elizabeth I was particularly forward-thinking about appetizers, but serving a before-dinner teaser did not become widely popular, accepted and expected until the 1860s.

Starter Appetizers

  • Queen Elizabeth I enjoyed and served appetizers, but she was not the first monarch to do so. In 300 B.C., Athenian aristocracy served sea urchins and cockles before meals to whet their guests’ appetites. The word “appetizer” was first coined in 1862, derived from the word “appetize.”

Appetizers at Table

  • Appetizers were not available to all social classes in Elizabethan England; economic and social class status determined the meal menu. Before appetizers were served, the table was dressed for stunning visual impact; a great variety of color was used to enhance meal presentation. Peacock feathers decorated food on the table, especially imported food. Chicken and meat appetizers were reserved for the nobility and wealthy classes. Notwithstanding the flourishing table décor, forks were still evolving; utensils consisted of knives only, and spoons were rarely used.

Diverse Appetizer Choices

  • Due to the increase in imported foods, appetizers in Elizabethan England became diverse and exotic. Some favorites were veal soup, rack of veal, spicy mutton ball soup, and chicken liver pate. Other appetizers included eel, liver and currant pate with a taste of nutmeg, eel and onion pie, currants and onion pie, herring and fruit pie, and pickled Herring baked in a double crust with fruits.

Appetizer Preparation

  • Sauces were a vital part of serving appetizers. Either used for dipping or covering, sauces included some of the new food items brought to England by explorers, such as potatoes, tomatoes (known as “love apples” then) and turkey. Some appetizers included the exotic tastes of cayenne, red peppers, chili and paprika. These new additions to the Elizabethan spice rack did not eliminate the traditional spices used in appetizer preparation and general cooking like avens, dittany, clary, borage, hyssop, galingale and laver.

References

  • Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

Resources

You May Also Like

  • What Did Men Wear During the Elizabethan Age?

    What Did Men Wear During the Elizabethan Age?. During the Elizabethan Age (1558-1603), men's fashion was redefined. The dark and heavy fabrics...

  • Easy Spanish Appetizers

    In Spain, appetizers are known as "tapas." The classic before-dinner snack includes a variety of cured meats, mostly pork based, fish, shellfish,...

  • Herbs for Pumpkin Soup

    If you think pumpkins are only good for pumpkin pie, think again. This vegetable is more versatile that it gets credit for....

  • Food During the Renaissance Period

    Many of the foods we eat today were common during the Renaissance period. Fruits and vegetables, meats, sauces, pastas, pastries and breads,...

Related Searches

Read Article

14 Comfort Foods to Make Now Because Brangelina Is Dead

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!