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Food and Drink in Shakespear's England

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by Stuart Peachey
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Historical rabbit holes, for those who are inclined.

These slender booklets from Historical Management Associates are the work of an organization dedicated to historical re-enactment in the UK. They are written with a stickler’s attention to historical precision and a conviction that nothing is too arcane to investigate. Some of the books are simple transcriptions of period manuscripts; others represent significant original research, as in Cattle Farming and Grazing Management, which is 52 pages long but cites 36 sources, many of them published in the 17th century.


From the introduction:

“This book attempts to outline the ingredients, methods, recipes and menu’s with which William Shakespear would have been acquainted. Shakespear was born at Stratford on Avon in Warwickshire on the 23rd of April 1564, the eldest son of small town middle class midland parents… During this life he would have experienced the culinary delights of middle class urban and rural England in the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. His wealthy patrons would have also exposed him to the food and drink of the upper classes…

“It is not easy to discover the food consumed by English middle classes, however, a yeoman, Robert Loder, who farmed over 300 acres in Berkshire in the early 17th century, analysed in his account books his expenditure in both goods and money for his family and live-in staff…”

Staplebound pamphlet.  44 pages.

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