An Edwardian diet

Day 2: Breakfast. Smoked haddock, scrambled eggs, kippers, cold cuts, one roast pheasant, fruit, bacon, sausages, devilled kidneys, scones and kedgeree.

What have we gotten for sacrificing this breakfast of kings? Universal suffrage, computers, scantily clad women on television, and central air conditioning.


We also get a lot less incidences of bladder stones and gout.

I saw Babette’s Feast recently. I’m trying to imagine eating a meal like that on a regular basis, and failing pretty dismally.

I have a sudden hankering for kedgeree now. I haven’t had that since I was a kid.

I hate sausage. But I love bacon.


I still get the scrambled eggs, bacon and fruit every so often. The rest I consider a very equitable tradeoff for computers, AC and scantily clad women on TV thank you.

I would imagine that was the Edwardian diet of about 1/1000th of the population. For the rest of the people, bread and gruel, with a bit of meat on Sunday perhaps.

To suggest that was a diet that “we” (as in society on average) gave up would be to suggest in the year 3000 that “we” gave up our 2007 diet of foie gras, truffles, and caviar.

How long are you sitting at the breakfast table to eat all that? Not much time to stretch out the legs before it’s time for lunch.

Sorry, that would be my daily breakfast in Edwardian England. My status as a white man of northern European descent, with a couple of advanced degrees, land, and the privilege of practicing before the highest courts would qualify me as a gentleman. I’m sure lots of you would be stuck eating porridge and gruel, and while I deplore that sort of thing today, as a right-thinking Edwardian gentleman I would regard it as proper.

As for the scantily clad women on tv, I think the mistresses would more than cancel that out.

“Bread and gruel?” I dunno, according to a Wikipedia article* even in medieval times the lower classes had access to some vegetables. I don’t think it was quite that grim a diet for the other 999 out of every 1000 people.

*Yeah, I know, Wikipedia is run by insane zealots and therefore all its information is worthless, but still…

I think you’re spot on, especially from the docus I’ve watched as well. You have to remember that there are a large number of people cooking those meals, and the cooks always get their share, as well as their families. There were plenty of farmers growing things and plenty of vegetables and cheeses eaten by the local population. It’s meat that was the expensive thing by comparison.

Oh for pete’s sake. Yes, they may have mixed in a turnip, or perhaps even a rotten carrot. Bearing in mind that they did not have refrigeration, and that any fresh vegetables would be seasonal at best.

The point is that the diet listed would be nowhere near the common diet of the time.

What do uppity wymyn have to do with refrigeration and modern agricultural practice?

Actually, you would be surprised. This predates the Edwardian time period by about 100 years, but is a working blog-in-progress of what an 18th century French colonial household would be eating. Hardly the gruel and rotten carrots and turnips. Yes, vegetables were seasonal, but many farms had root cellars and places where things that needed to be cool were kept cool. There were many many ways of preserving food without refrigeration that were used at the time, and still kick around today as things like Beef Jerky, Gravlax, Strawberry Jam, Prosciutto, etc.

Good cuisine didn’t just spring up out of the modern invention of the refrigerator. The fridge has given us plenty of “creations” masquerading as “cuisine” that we shouldn’t exactly be proud of:

If they were really lucky they might even have found a roach crawling on the dirt of their hovel! That would meet their protein requirements for the next month.

Ah, life in 1912…

Mmm, chocolate-chip pancake-sausages.

It’s a sick world.

Tasty, tasty, sick world.

Reminds me of the time I was 8 years old and stupidly (even for that age) ordered the chocolate pancakes at IHOP.

Chocolate batter, chocolate chips, and chocolate syrup. I still shudder at the memory of the brown sludgelike mass. I mean, at that point the dough was strictly a glutinous ball that served only to nauseate. Much better to cut out the middleman and just give me a big fat fucking plate of pure chocolate. (Not that I even like chocolate all THAT much.)

Sounds awesome. I guess you got dumb as you got older.

I dunno man, I don’t think I got dumb. Not like I don’t still enjoy my junk food. I can give you a detailed list of probably 50 kinds of pizza I’ve enjoyed in my life, from everywhere I’ve ever lived. Fried chicken, ginger beer, nachos, buffalo wings – I’ve got pretty serious opinions going on each and every one.

So it ain’t that I got dumb, it’s just that I’m not a big fan of gooey food in general, and I guess I’m a pancake traditionalist. Butter & maple syrup is really all that any God-fearing pancake should ever need. Well, maybe strawberries.

If you want the chocolate pancakes, though, they’re still on the menu – sans the chocolate syrup. Bring your own, though, you smart individual, you!

… on a steek.

/obscure reference.