We might think it’s a 21st century preoccupation, but did you know that people in Shakespeare’s England were also obsessed with food?

A recent article on the BBC website gives us a fascinating insight into how people looked at food in the 16th century.

It was generally believed that eating meat was divinely ordained and healthier than a vegetarian diet. Bacon was thought fitting only for labourers as difficult to digest; chicken was popular but expensive; capons were an indulgence; beef was “good meate for an English man” and often served in pies, as was venison.

In Shakespeare’s time, fish was considered inferior to meat, because it was seen as less nourishing and associated with the Catholic practice of not eating meat on Fridays.

Fruit was believed to be full of water that could cause a harmful imbalance in the body, yet still sold in markets and picked from hedgerows. People thought that sugar was healthy and even used it as a medicine to treat lots of conditions including stomach problems.

If you’d like to take your place at an Elizabethan dining table – partaking in an evening and supper with Shakespeare himself – head on over to Tudor World. This award-winning museum is situated within a Grade 2* listed historic building right in the heart of Stratford-upon-Avon.

The Kingmaker’s Mediaeval Banquets at Warwick Castle offer an authentic, fully immersive dining experience. As guests of the infamous Earl of Warwick, you’re assured an unforgettable evening of eating, drinking and mediaeval revelry.

For more contemporary fine dining options, you really are spoilt for choice in Shakespeare’s England.

Take your pick from gourmet delights at The Ardencote Manor Hotel, near Warwick; The Cross, Kenilworth’s only Michelin-starred restaurant; or award-winning cuisine at Mallory Court Hotel outside Leamington Spa. Culinary highlights in Stratford include Church Street Town House Restaurant, The Arden Hotel and The Rooftop Restaurant at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Not quite sure what you fancy eating? Browse our Eat & Drink pages for some inspiration.

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