Friday, February 24, 2012

Food for the Elizabethan Soul

And also for the Elizabethan body.

Have you met my other website? The big one? My non-fiction home at, is full of wonders much of which is what roots my fiction in the everyday realities of life in the late 16th century. The flagship of that site is A Compendium of Common Knowledge, 1558-1603

Today I'm directing your attention in particular to Of Bread and Wine, the first of many pages about food. William Harrison, writing in 1577, tells us a good deal abut an Englishman's relationship to his food.

The situation of our region, lying near unto the north, doth cause the heat of our stomachs to be of somewhat greater force: therefore our bodies do crave a little more ample nourishment than the inhabitants of the hotter regions are accustomed withal, whose digestive force is not altogether so vehement, because their internal heat is not so strong as ours, which is kept in by the coldness of the air that from time to time (especially in winter) doth environ our bodies.
— William Harrison, Description of England, 1577

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