In a Tudor Kitchen

May 30, 2009

While watching Heston Blumenthal’s Tudor Feast, I had to agree with Blumenthal that during the reign of the Tudors the English ruled the culinary world. He staged a modern version of a typical Tudor feast to demonstrate the level of sophistication Tudor-era food reached.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etSuOfs8558

He did all the research, used authentic recipes, and made modifications only when the source material was unambiguous. Being the chef/owner of one of the best restaurants in the world, with instant access to a research-lab quality kitchen and the world’s foremost food scientists, he was in a unique position to redevelop historic recipes. What he didn’t do, however, was attempt to cook with Tudor-era equipment. That might have been too much of a handicap.

During the family vacation in London, we visited Hampton Court palace, where I took the “kitchen tour.” The photos that follow speak for themselves.

The room for basic food preparation.

The room for basic food preparation.

This is the hearth used for cooking smaller dishes. Note the swing arm used for suspending a kettle.

This is the hearth used for cooking smaller dishes. Note the swing arms used for suspending kettles.

This is a "five-burner stovetop," a brick cooking surface with five small charcoal-fired fireplaces underneath. The three-legged copper pot on the left would be right at home in a modern kitchen.

This is a "five-burner stovetop," a brick cooking surface with five small charcoal-fired fireplaces underneath. The three-legged copper pot on the left would be right at home in a modern kitchen.

The roasting fireplace. The iron grates on each side are for suspending multiple=

The roasting fireplace. The iron bracket on each side are for suspending multiple spits of meat for roasting.

The 'back office," where menu planning, inventory, and accounts are managed.

The "back office," where menu planning, inventory, and accounts are managed.

The toughest audience in the world: She Who Must Be Obeyed and He Who Must Not Be Ignored.

The toughest audience in the world: She Who Must Be Obeyed and He Who Must Not Be Ignored.

You can impress me with frog blancmange, a roasted cockentrice, and rice pudding that looks like bangers and mash, but if you really want to blow me away, cook it at Hampton Court. The kitchens are still working.

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