Saturday, September 08, 2007

Question from Colleen - Wealthy household Christmas dinner

What are some examples of food that a wealthy earl and his family might eat at Christmas dinner?

1 comment:

PhD Historian said...

Holiday celebrations are a little bit outside my area of expertise, but as I recall, Christmas was observed in the Tudor period quite differently from the way we do now with gift-giving and decorated trees and feasts or Christmas dinners. Christmas trees are a Victorian invention. Gift giving occurred at the New Year, not at Christmas. I'm less certain about the feasting, but I believe that was more commonly associated with Easter in the sixteenth century, not Christmas. These are my recollections, however, and they may not be absolutely accurate. However, there is a wonderful book on the subject by Maria Hubert: "Christmas in Shakespeare's England" (Stround Pub., 1998). It covers the period 1560-1640, which may be later than the period you are writing about. Much changed with the Elizabethan religious settlement of 1562, so Hubert's book may not be accurate for the period before 1560. You might also try J.A.R. Pimlott's "The Englishman's Christmas: A Social History" (Harvester Pub., 1978). It covers fifteen centuries, but may still be useful. As for food specifically, there is no better reference on that subject than Alison Sim's "Food and Feast in Tudor England" (Stround Pub., 1997). Good luck!