Friday, 12 April 2013

K is food fit for a King ...



King Edward VII, Queen Victoria’s eldest son, (1901-1910) was quite the gourmand and loved his food so much that the royal tailors often had trouble keeping up with his ballooning figure.
Caricature of
King Edward VII
in Puck magazine 1901


One day, seeking reprieve from the confining constriction of his waistcoat, King Edward casually unbuttoned the bottom button – the members of his court saw his new look and quickly emulated it.


To exemplify the King’s gargantuan appetite ... for one of his stays at a historic house during a race meeting ... the cooks and domestic staff struggled to provide enough food for the large meals eaten every day by the guests.

A French silk waistcoat c 1750
(not nearly large enough for
for the King!)


The dinner, which was often made up of ten courses, could include oysters, caviar, truffles, snipe, partridge, ptarmigan, quail, beef consommé, filet mignon, roast duck, foie gas, tongue, chicken, lobster, melons, peaches, nectarines and French jams and biscuits ... all needed to be on the menu when the King came to call.



Boutrand Fine Champagne
Cognac
The quantity of meat eaten was enormous – then it was washed down by copious amounts of champagne and wine, followed by glasses of fine French brandy.


For the big houses and great estates of England, the Edwardian era was a time of excess and extravagance ... the feasting went on for days and thousands of pounds worth of exotic and expensive food was consumed..


 
Anise for 'le digestif'
Unsurprisingly, with such large quantities of sugary foods and meat being washed down with alcohol – many wealthy Edwardians suffered from chronic stomach and digestive illnesses, they then became addicted to the medicines freely available which contained large doses of opium.


That is K for food fit for a King .... perhaps unfit would be a better description?!


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories 

47 comments:

Pearson Report said...

Oh to be a king...
Well, I guess what else is a king to do between wars - eat, sleep and be merry! Right?!

No wonder life expectancy was short!

Great post, Hilary - as usual, very entertaining. :)

Jenny @ PEARSON REPORT

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I think over the years we have all learnt to eat a balanced diet. Never the less it would be good to go out occasional and have a right royal splurge :-) Have a good weekend Diane

Gattina said...

After reading this post I am not hungry anymore ! lol !

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Sounds like he really ate high on the hog! Wow. No wonder he had a ballooning figure! :)

Nick Wilford said...

You'd think he would have learnt something from history eg Henry VIII who died from similar excesses!

Clarissa Draper said...

I'm not sure fit for a king is right. Neither was the king fit nor did he fit into his royal garb. However, just reading how much he ate at one sitting did give me a stomach ache. Superb post again and so informative, Hilary.

Clarissa Draper said...

Question for you: You wrote (1901-1910). Was that how long his rule was?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jenny - he'd been Regent for many a year ... so it must have come as a shock to actually rule - though Parliament was running the country.

He lived for 69 tears ... but waited for Queen Victoria to die to become King .. she lived for 82 years and was on the throne for over 60.

Thanks - glad you enjoyed it ..

@ Diane - we do tend to balance things out .. but rich full on food once in a while is just delicious - especially with no washing up or cooking! So I endorse your thoughts .. it would be delicious ..

@ Gattina - they ate a lot of food .. but spent much longer enjoying it than we did ..

@ Elizabeth - he was one large man! That lifestyle ended very shortly after he died .. and his son was a very different person ...

@ Nick - I don't think examples existed and probably wouldn't have been suggested to the King!! I expect he rode out a lot ...

@ Clarissa - well you got me researching, as I'm staying with friends I was trying to stay away from Wikipedia!

King Edward VII did only reign for 9 years ... as his mother, Queen Victoria, had ruled for over 60 years ... so those dates are right - in the Feasting post I had to check the dates for George IV because that goes across a change of century ...

King Edward VII was 59 or 60 when he came to the throne ..

Thanks for asking ...

Cheers to you all - Hilary

Optimistic Existentialist said...

That's an insane appetite!! Wow. Reading it kind of made me hungry lol

Jo said...

I guess he was a bit lazy, because they ate like that a lot in those days but they used to walk a lot as well as ride a lot. Plenty of exercise. I always feel sorry for the people entertaining the king, or any of the royal family over the years, it more or less bankrupted them.

JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

Francene Stanley said...

Great post. I loved that little section of the fat king unbuttoning his waistcoat. How could they eat so much?
Francene.
A - Z Challenge
http://francene-wordstitcher.blogspot.co.uk/

Teresa Coltrin said...

Ha, ha, I have the same problem with "keeping up with his ballooning figure". Me TOO.

I ate several desserts yesterday. Wish I had a tailor.

Tracy Moore said...

Wow Hilary, it was definitely an era of excess! When one reads about royal feasts back in those times and how many hours they sat at their tables dining and talking, it makes you wonder how they ever got anything else done. :)

Rosalind Adam said...

How does anyone eat that volume of food. I can hardly manage a two course meal without feeling bloated and uncomfortable!

C. Lee McKenzie said...

Ah, nothing like a good shot of Cognac followed by a touch of Opium!

Great post and so interesting. I didn't realize Edward VII was so portly.

~Sia McKye~ said...

We have a dinner party, say holidays, it's relatively short.It's hard to imagine four or five hours. Maybe a cookout takes up the whole afternoon and into the evening.

I've attended more than a few formal dinners--the eating part may be an hour to an hour and a half-ish with conversation and numerous courses. It's leisurely. But in those days, even those who weren't gluttons, still had dinner parties that went for hours. It boggles the mind, doesn't it?

A Lady's Life said...

Gosh . I can see maybe one meal a week like this but every day three times a day?? I would not be able to manage that. You'd be spending your whole day eating for one thing and the cook the whole day cooking and then what happens to the leftovers?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yeah, a diet like that can't be good for you.

Silvia Villalobos said...

Ten courses meals ... wow. Back in those days people took pride in being ... a little large, I think. It was a sign of power and wealth. But that is a lot of food. I think I'd go into a food coma.
Silvia @ Silvia Writes

rosaria williams said...

Fit for a king, indeed!!!

Lisa said...

And gout was a huge problem as well. We, as Americans, manage to eat like "kings" in this day and time as well and look, we're having the same medical/physical results!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Keith - it's the way it was for the wealthy .. but it is really just a little too much!

@ Jo - I wonder how much walking he did .. riding a horse or horse and carriage a great deal .. but yes - the expense to the 'honoured' host!

@ Francene - it's strange where our customs come from isn't it ... I suppose it was a necessity to eat with the King ... and keep up with him ... seemingly there was a code to conform to ..

@ Teresa - oh yes .. I'll join you with the ballooning figure aspect - this summer I'm going to try and be bird-like?! Several desserts ... gosh that sounds yummy ... savoury is my downfall!

@ Tracy - those were the days - it was a form of etiquette ... and needed to be followed to the full - otherwise it was de rigeur ...

The affairs of State going back in time were done in the bedchamber ... I think probably Edward VII just had royal duties to deal with - as Parliament would have done the rest ...

@ Ros - I have no idea .. but you look as though you're the epitome of sleekness ... sadly I enjoy my food to - but not to that excess!

@ Lee - after large meals in South Africa with some near-relatives .. the digestif used to be brought out for me!!

I think Edward VII and his mother never had much going together .. and he must have found it difficult waiting in the wings for so long ..

@ Sia - we can spend time enjoying our food ... but not every day. But in between courses, they'd have dancing, revelry, perhaps entertainment - I guess by Edward VII it was slightly more refined.

I agree eating that much does 'horrify' me .. but we all do it at times ..

@ A Lady's Life ... it probably was only twice a day .. but one meal would be not so formal.

Well there was a hierarchy for the food that was left, or the food on the bone etc ... and the gravy sops on the plates ... I don't know enough about it to say any more .. the servants would also have a hierarchy for being fed and with what ...

@ Alex - no way too much food - you'd be in the gym all day

@ Silvia - I couldn't agree more ... it's all a little daunting ... but I'd fall asleep certainly!!

@ Rosaria .. as you say definitely fit for a King ..

@ Lisa .. yes obesity is a real problem isn't it .. and gout - gosh I know a few people with gout ..

Cheers to you all - enjoy your weekend indulgence in between commenting!

Val Poore said...

I cannot imagine eating such vast quantities of food. It makes me feel ill just to think of it. My mother always said that when she was young they ate more because the exercised more, which might be true. Still, I walk and exercise quite a bit, and I still can't manage two courses, let along 10. Have a good weekend, Hilary!

klahanie said...

Hello human Hilary,

Talk about King-sized meals. Have no idea why, but I'm suddenly thinking of "Burger King" :)

Pawsitive wishes and enjoy your weekend,

Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

Janie Junebug said...

Wow! That's a lot of food. I feel a little tummy ache coming on.

Love,
Janie

TALON said...

Hilary, this could also be "G" for Gluttony! Amazing! And so many people were starving at that time...insane!

The Golden Eagle said...

I can't imagine eating that much food in one go. Good grief.

Ghadeer said...

Whoa. I just find it fascinating reading about the enormous amounts that Kings were able to eat.

Christine Rains said...

That is a lot of food!

Sue McPeak said...

This gives new meaning to the word Gluttony. Funny about the Unbuttoned Fashion Statement...reminds me of the Hawaiian MuMu. All that food...no wonder they had chronic stomach troubles.

I'm enjoying your History Foody Posts. Thanks for your visits to my blog...much appreciated.

Sue CollectInTexasGal
AtoZ LoneStar Quilting Bee

Connie Gruning said...

It's good to be the KING!!!
And now I'm hungry too!!

Peanut Butter and Whine

M Pax said...

I imagine they'd have big health problems with diets like that. But big was vogue then, wasn't it? A sign of wealth or something?

Manzanita said...

The last letter ...G.... would have been appropriate.... G for gout. When the food is delicious and tasty, I guess it's easy to become addicted to it. And when you don't have to cook it yourself... Tee Hee

Alexandra Heep said...

Wow, I am getting a stomach ache just reading the menu!

Julie Flanders said...

Yeah just reading the dinner menu made me kind of sick LOL. :D

Tina said...

We are what we eat? That meal sounds glorious, but I sure understand the indigestion! American's have poor eating habits as well with fast food SO much cheaper than cooking real food from scratch. Sad.

Tina @ Life is Good
Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
@TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

Julia Hones said...

Wow. I am not surprised they had digestive problems. And then they added the opioids to make it worse. Very interesting post, Hilary.

Betsy Brock said...

oh my goodness...gluttonous indeed! haha.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

It makes my stomach hurt just to think about eating that much food. In today's world, I think he'd even be kicked out of an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Val - it's just the sitting and then the eating for so long - but I guess it was the norm for the wealthy .. the lifestyle was different 110 years ago ..

@ Gary - how's the boy from Leek?! and that pawsitive dawg .. Penny? Good to see you both .. Burger King - can't imagine the King in Burger King .. funny thought - good sitcom!

@ Janie - the tables were bursting and lots of tummy aches for those at those tables!

@ Talon - lots of G's here .. but I needed a K .. so King it be ...

sadly there are still loads of starving peoples around today - and the same applies now - except it's now many more people ..

@ GE - it's difficult to imagine isn't it ..

@ Ghadeer - I think it was the same for all nobles and wealthy ... in whichever country they were ...

@ Christine - so true!

@ Sue - well it puts Gluttony up there doesn't it .. I had to look up the Hawaiian onnection - but I see it's a loose wide cut off dress called a mu'umu'u ...

All the food and drink .. and probably not many vegetables or fruits - thanks for your comment

@ Connie - good to meet you ... talk of food is not easy to hold the hunger pangs off .. thanks for coming by ..

@ Mary - yes big was wealth ... and signalled nobility of some sort .. but after the King's visit - the host was much depleted of reserves of all sorts!

@ Manzanita - G for a variety of health issues .. but poor King - I needed him for K ... and not cooking it themselves made life distinctly easier - so true.

@ Alex - there are a lot of choices and foods I agree ..

@ Julie - feasts of any kind always seem to overdo it .. small portions are necessary to eat perhaps!

@ Tina - we are what we eat .. and yes the food choices do look good - but indigestion isn't a happy thought ...

Obesity is everywhere in the modern world .. and yes fast food is cheap - but we've had a few scares recently and people are realising that cheap is not good for you ...

If only we'd all learn to cook - we'd be healthier .. I'm so pleased I can and do cook from fresh ..

@ Julia - le digestif was a necessity after that lot - and then as you say adding in the opiates not very good for any one

@ Betsy - it's quite something to take in isn't it .. and definitely appears gluttonous to us today - lifestyle to them.

@ Susan - the times were different .. it would have been rude not to eat the food .. but I agree too much food makes me not want it at all.

Can you get turfed out of 'eat-all-you-can-buffets'? Those aren't that healthy either ..

Thanks so much for your comments - it's interesting how times have changed, as eating habits, and what's considered acceptable ..

Cheers and have lovely weekends - looks like Spring might be here .. the sun is out and it's very early .. Hilary

Empty Nest Insider said...

Too bad they didn't have heartburn medication back then.
It makes sense that his waistcoat was difficult to button.

Julie

Rhonda said...

Wow, a 10 course meal. I don't think I could eat that once, even if I starved for a week.

Rhonda @Laugh-Quotes.com
Visiting from AtoZ #41

Munir said...

I am learning that what is fit for a king is may or may not be healthy for us.

Kittie Howard said...

What a fun post! I don't think I could've made it past the oysters! Googled 'snipe' -- oh, long-beaked birds, sorta! Love how I learn neat stuff when I come here.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julie - they had opium and laudunum ... as well as lots of food - and thankfully expanding waistcoats!

@ Rhonda - I know, ten courses is a bit much .. they took their time, but even so!

@ Munir - fit for a King is definitely not healthy - yet our Queen is doing well and obviously times and foods have changed.

@ Kittie - yes, sorry I didn't expand on all the foods - the post would get way too long ... all the game birds were eaten somehow and in someway ... delighted you enjoyed the post - thanks.

Cheers everyone - Hilary

Sara said...

I like the your tease at the end "perhaps "unfit" would be a better description."

Still, I didn't know how undoing the bottom button became a fad and now I do. It's amazing the power a king had during those years to make or break fashion.

Just reading about the amount of food consumed made me feel slightly ill. It's so hard to believe ONE meal could be that huge and not hard to believe the weight issues that followed. An interesting "K"...thanks:~)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sara - I'm rather late getting here ... but I've walked the food fit for King off! .. yes 'unfit' would be a much better term - but each era had its changes ... WW1 was about to happen: and that changed food habits.

The opening of one button I expect made all the difference and some degree of comfort ... they must have been trussed up back then.

Good to see you - cheers Hilary