"Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast." William Shakespeare

April 29, 2013

"Unquiet meals make ill digestions" is a quote from William Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors (Act 5, Scene 1). Actually, when searching for food quotations during the Elizabethan Age, quite a number of famous lines can be identified from his works about drink and food and festing. On Tuesday, April 23, the seniors in Mrs. Anderbery's English 4 and College English II classes celebrated the anniversary of Shakespeare's birthday and death day with an Elizabethan feast. (Yes, Shakespeare died on his birthday.) Partners and small groups of students brought in food according to recipes from a web site organized by the teacher, books from the high school library, and adaptations of Elizabethan recipes with modern ingredients. The students learned that peacock feathers were used to decorate food, tables, and the hats of the guests. Mutton was a common ingredient for the wealthy class, and many of the dishes varied according to wealth and social status. More commonly the peasants would eat what they could from their environment, like swans, herons, blackbirds, rabbits, cockles, roots, seeds, nuts, and berries. Some of the unique foods were a venison roast provided by Marcos Fregoso, Nery Cabrera, and Lucas Burch; a turkey shot and prepared by William Longly; smoked venison by Seth Kopf; and, salmon and pastry by Carly Lamberts. Some of the comments listed by the classes are as follows:


"I enjoyed all of the different types of food we were able to try."


"I have enjoyed being able to try new foods and spend a class period just having fun."


"I enjoyed all the food and learning more about the Elizabethan era."


"Getting a partner and learning the experience of cooking"


"What I enjoyed about the Elizabethan Feast was making the food because it was a fun experience."


"I like having all the different foods and learning how they were made."


"The delicious food I made for the class was what I liked best about the Elizabethan Feast."


"I really enjoyed attempting to cook."


"I enjoyed learning new recipes."


"I enjoyed trying out the smoked venison, and I thought the food was pretty good."


"The atmosphere of the whole thing was the best."


"I enjoyed actually cooking and preparing our food and actually showing men can cook too."


In closing, we learned that onions were frequently used because they were thought to keep one from becoming bald. Shakespeare wrote in All's Well That Ends Well: Act 5, Scene 3 "Mine eyes smell onions; I shall weep anon."

 

 

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