Eat Like an Edwardian

by wjw on April 18, 2007

I read with fascination this article from the Times, in which the author and his wife enjoyed a typical Edwardian diet of 5000 calories per day.

Here’s the menu for the first day.

Breakfast: Porridge, sardines, curried eggs, grilled cutlets, coffee, hot chocolate, bread, butter, honey.

Lunch: Sauté of kidneys on toast, mashed potatoes, macaroni au gratin, rolled ox tongue.

Afternoon tea: Fruit cake, Madeira cake, hot potato cakes, coconut rocks, bread, toast, butter.

Dinner: Oyster patties, sirloin steak, braised celery, roast goose, potato scallops, vanilla soufflé.

Midnight snack of roast chicken and Madeira. (King Edward always took a roast chicken to bed with him.)

Now there’s a diet for empire-builders! There’s nothing like a bracing breakfast of sardines, curried eggs, and five or six cutlets to motivate you into spending the rest of the morning annexing Natal!

And I like the homey touch of mac and cheese for lunch, though I admit I’ve never had it with mashed potatoes and rolled ox tongue and kidneys and toast. These Edwardians didn’t even pretend to include vegetables in their diet.

And with no roughage, how many pounds of starch, protein, and fat was rolling around in their innards at any given time?

I’ve had periods of high dining— the recent trip to France comes to mind— but this list shows what a complete amateur I’ve been when it comes to being a gourmand.

qtera31 April 18, 2007 at 10:43 pm

Maybe amateur gourmand – but you are one of the best cooks I know.
How could they eat all this food and then sit around in tight layers of clothing and corsets?!

Kelly April 18, 2007 at 10:49 pm

Now I know where gout comes from. Yikes!

Maureen McHugh April 19, 2007 at 1:47 am

There was a PBS series called life in a Manor House or something like that. For some odd reason the Edwardians had terrible issues with constipation. Hard to imagine, that.

Michael Grosberg April 19, 2007 at 12:06 pm

This puts me in the mood to re-read Saki. Especially the closing remark about WWI.

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