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Victorian 1900 London Food

Another "food for thought" post.

As you  might realize, I'm watching documentaries on how people in the past ate.  I'm finding all kinds of wonderful tidbits that might help me, and thus, you, in the future.

So I was watching a documentary (  ) on a family that went to live for 3 months in 1900 London.  House completely renovated and outfitted with time period-appropriate furnishings, dishes, garden, clothing, etc.  The family must not have done much research on the time period because they struggles to comply with the rules: live a 1900 life as if they were truly in 1900.

They cheated and slipped buy-one-get-one-free shampoo into their grocery basket. They answer the door in their dressing gowns. They served tea in the kitchen (a HUGE no-no).  So many other things.

And they struggled to do it.

According to, the Victorian diet wasn't so different from what we eat today.  There were brand new inventions like cook stoves with boilers, hand-crank egg beaters and so much more.  BUT there was the matter of money, availability, time and patience. 

If you ran out of coal, and couldn't get more until your next payday, there goes your ability to cook, heat water, and heat the house. What would you eat?

Not much. Whatever was in the cupboards, in the garden, or, if you had chickens, eggs.

Typical middle-class diet, though, was:
-oysters (very plentiful and not expensive)
-plain soups or bouillon
-protein was fish, poultry, pork or beef
-plenty of veggies, in season but tinned foods were coming about
-lot of fresh and tinned fruits
-pasta had just come into popularity
-bread, of course (always)
-desserts were puddings, cakes and other yummies
-of course, alcohol flowed freely!

When you watch these documentaries, keep things other than food in your mind.  How did they clean their clothing? Did they sew, and if so, how? How did they clean their homes? Their dishes? Their bodies and hair? How did they brush their teeth? Shave? Take care of medical needs?

Even tho I was disappointed in the family, I realize trying to live a truly Victorian life would be a great challenge for nearly anyone. Yes, especially me. So take it all with a grain of salt, and take away what information you feel you could use.

Good luck!

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