There is nothing more fascinating to me than finding out how different cultures’ foods are shaped by the society and environment of the time and vica versa. I am enthralled reading about how a humble kitchen invention can revolutionise a particular cuisine or indeed change society.
At the moment I am knee deep in Tudor kitchens, learning about the immense skill required to roast over an open fire and how plentiful woodlands meant that we had the fuel available to become world masters in these techniques. So much so that France’s nickname for the English ‘Les Rosbifs’ stems from Tudor times.
This is all in preparation for a new series of kids courses we are planning to launch in the Autumn where children can spend the day learning to eat like a Tudor, or a Viking or even an Egyptian! The best bit is that once I have done some research, I get to trial the recipes.
Sadly, re-creating a massive open fire at the cookery school is not an option so I have focussed instead on some smaller scale Tudor delicacies and in particular have been experimenting with making marchpane (the pre-cursor to our modern marzipan).
The Tudors were all about putting on a grand show, for them bigger was definitely better and Elizabeth I was once presented with a recreation of St Pauls made out of marchpane. I settled for something a little bit smaller for my first attempt.