Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Tea and coffee adulteration

In the past tea was adulterated with leaves from other plants including trees like ash and beech although laws were passed to prevent it. Coffee was sometimes adulterated with sheep dung. Chalk was added to flour and water was added to milk. 

Saturday, 25 June 2011


Tea was introduced into England in the mid-17th century but at first it wasn't popular. It was made popular by a Portuguese woman named Catherine of Braganza. She married Charles II in Portsmouth in 1662. She wanted a cup of tea but nobody had any. Fortunately there was a Portuguese ship in Portsmouth Harbour with tea leaves. So they were able to make her a cup of tea.  

Monday, 20 June 2011

Wimbledon 1949

In 1949 American tennis player Gertrude Moran known as Gorgeous Gussie created a stir at Wimbledon when she appeared in frilly panties (very daring in 1949) 

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Tudor Cakes

The Tudors were also fond of sweet foods (if they could afford them). The rich ate preserved fruit, gingerbread, sugared almonds and jelly. However in the 16th century sugar was very expensive so most people used honey to sweeten their food.

Marzipan was introduced into England in the late Middle Ages. It is a paste made of almonds and sugar. The Tudors used marzipan to make edible sculptures of animals, castles, trees and people called subtleties.

At Christmas the Tudors enjoyed mince pies, but they had far more significance than today in that they had 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and the apostles, they contained fruit (raisins, currants, prunes) and spices (cloves, mace, black pepper, saffron) and also mutton to represent the shepherds. The fashion was for them to be shaped like a crib, but this practice was banned by Oliver Cromwell.

The Tudors also had Christmas pudding but this was shaped like a sausage and contained meat, oatmeal and spices. Twelfth Night cake was fruitcake baked with an item in like a coin or dried bean, whoever found it became King or Queen or host for the evenings entertainment.

Banbury cakes were first mentioned in 1586. Furthermore the Scots were eating shortbread by the 16th century. Scones were also first mentioned in the early 16th century.

In Tudor times people ate spiced buns on Good Friday. The first mention of crosses on them was in the 18th century. So by the 1700s people were eating hot cross buns.

Syllabub was invented in the 16th century and Banbury cakes were first recorded in 1586. By 1600 the English were making fruit fool. (Its name has nothing to do with silly people. It comes from the French word fouler, meaning to mash.)