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Elizabethan Breakfast & Snacks 101

Updated: Aug 14, 2022

In the past, we’ve shared some DELICIOUS Elizabethan food recipes! And we wouldn’t want to repeat. BUT February is National Snack Food Month and National Hot Breakfast Month. So… we felt we just HAD to bring back the food ;)

Ready for some “new” Elizabethan munchies?!

Let’s start with some trivia to warm up our knowledge, and then take a deeper look at porridge. YUM!!!



When did upper-class Elizabethans eat breakfast?

  1. 5 AM - 6 AM

  2. 6 AM - 7 AM

  3. 7 AM - 8 AM

  4. 8 AM - 9 AM

Answer: B. 6 AM - 7 AM

What was the most common form of cutlery for Elizabethans?

  1. Spoons

  2. Forks

  3. Knives

  4. Tissues

Answer: C. Knives

What did Elizabethan cooks call the baking tray?

  1. Tin tin

  2. Baker’s joy

  3. Coffin

  4. Muffin Flat

Answer: C. Coffin

True or False: The wealthy’s breakfast was vastly different from lunch & dinner.

  1. True

  2. False

Answer: B. False

Choose which meals an Elizabethan aristocrat might eat for breakfast. (multiple answers)

  1. Porridge

  2. Cheese

  3. Fruit

  4. Meat

Answer: A., B., C., and D!!!

Snacks for the wealthy included bread and cheese with a cup of _____.

  1. Minute Maid Lemonade

  2. Water

  3. Diet Doctor Pepper

  4. Ale

Answer: D. Ale

Well-ground flour was expensive, so a poor person’s bread was noticeably _____ than that of an aristocrat.

  1. Browner

  2. Blacker

  3. Redder

  4. Whiter

Answer: D. Whiter

Choose two names for strengthened Elizabethan ale.

  1. Mad Dog

  2. Momma Walkin

  3. Dragon’s Milk

  4. Blacksmith’s Rage

Answer: A. Mad Dog & C. Dragon’s Milk



As previously mentioned, porridge was a common breakfast among the wealthy. Specifically, pea or bean porridge were popular. Want to try some? Here’s a recipe!

Pea Porridge With Onions

Old Version

From Forme of Cury, a collection of recipes from around 1350:

"Take and seeþ white pesoun and take out þe perry; & perboile erbis & hewe hem grete, & caste hem in a pot with the perry. Pulle oynouns & seeþhem whole wel in water, & do hem to þe perry with oile & salt; colour it with safroun & messe it, and cast þeron powdour douce."

Modern Translation Provided by Shakespeare Birthplace Trust:

Take and boil white peas and take out the purée; & parboil herbs & chop them great, & cast them in a pot with the purée. Pluck onions & boil them whole well in water, & do them to the purée with oil & salt; colour it with saffron & serve it, and cast then-on powder douce.

Modern Versions

There are plenty of different editions to choose from. We've only picked two short ones so you can compare them against the 1350 recipe... What is different in terms of ingredients, cooking instructions, etc.?

If you try these recipes, let us know what you think!


Look at the 3 pictures below. These are ALL modern pea porridge recipes!

Without reading the recipes, can you spot similarities & differences?

Shakespeare Reference

Interestingly, this meal is directly mentioned eight times in Shakespeare’s plays.

For instance, take the following quote from The Tempest.

“He receives comfort like cold porridge.”

Can you guess the meaning? The characters?

We’ll give you a hint: It’s said in Act 2 Scene 1.


What are YOUR favorite snacks from the past or present....or future!?

Written by Mariela Rivero
Edited by Laura Yumi Snell

Photo Credits:

Boss Kitchen

The Gypsy Chef

Muses Miscellany

The Spruce Eats

1 comment

1 opmerking

Alex Pepperman
Alex Pepperman
07 feb. 2022

"Diet Dr. Pepper" 😂 Definitely not regular Dr. Pepper though.

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