Food In Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

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Shakespearean Food Report A famous author once stated, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” In our culture today, food is relished, prioritized, and sometimes even obsessed over. Whether one is a distinguished food critic or a master chef at a restaurant, enjoys cooking the healthiest, most natural meals with their paleo lifestyle cookbook or are simply content with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, tacos on Tuesday, and Friday night pizza; food is a topic to which most everyone can relate. Even in Shakespeare’s time, food was never neglected. In fact, throughout all of his plays, Shakespeare made over 2,000 culinary references. One example is in Twelfth Night, when Sir Toby Belch asks “Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?” These “cakes” were probably shrewsbury cakes, which were shortbread cookies, seasoned with either rosewater, nutmeg, or cinnamon. Additionally, in The Taming of the Shrew, the newlywed Kate is dragged away from her wedding feast by her husband before she was able to enjoy the “junkets”, which were a milk based dessert. It seems that in all of Shakespeare’s plays, food accompanied every event. Whether at a grand feast or watching a play, food was always near at hand. The people in Shakespeare’s time consumed 3 meals per day, beginning with breakfast sometime between six and seven am, eating a midday dinner, and finishing with supper, served between five and

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