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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bill of Fayres at Windsor

When The Uncommon Reader opens, the Queen is at a state dinner with the president of France at Windsor Castle, one of the royal residences. While Bennett doesn’t mention what the menu might have been, the castle has an archive of every meal served a monarch since the 16th century. Five years ago, the castle’s royal kitchens were opened to the public, revealing this rich glimpse into the eating habits of kings and queens and the collection of the daily “bill of fayres.”

Ed Boyle, a CBS correspondent reported on his findings in "Monarch, Butter, Fries," posted in October 2003. According to Boyle, Henry VIII’s diet was 75 percent meat downed with quantities of beer and ale. Charles II ate lightly, but this could be because the public was invited to enter the castle and watch the monarch eat.

A company offering private tours of Windsor Castle offers this special menu. The six-course meal starts out with Scotch quails’ eggs and devils on horseback (prunes or dates stuffed with mango chutney and wrapped in bacon), continues with rabbit and bacon terrine with cucumber pickles, whole sea bream with fennel, red cabbage, British oat cakes, cheese and apple chutney, finishes off with poached pear in red wine and spices and coffee.

No wonder the once slim Henry VIII gained a bit of girth in his later years!

Had any meals meant for kings, lately?

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