Items at a Feast of Henry VIII, 6-12

Here is the rest of our items at a feast of Henry VIII, which includes roasted swan and spiced fruit cake for special occasions.

6. Black Pudding

Another popular dish -- still served in parts of England -- was black pudding. This sausage is made by filling a length of pig's intestine with the animal's boiled, congealed blood.

7. Boar's Head

A boar's head, garnished with bay and rosemary, served as the centerpiece of Christmas feasts. It certainly outdoes a floral display.

8. Roasted Swan

Roasted swan was another treat reserved for special occasions, largely because swans were regarded as too noble and dignified for everyday consumption. The bird was often presented to the table with a gold crown upon its head. To this day, English law stipulates that all mute swans are owned by the Crown and may not be eaten without permission from the Queen.

9. Vegetables

Perhaps the only type of food Henry and his court didn't consume to excess was vegetables, which were viewed as the food of the poor and made up less than 20 percent of the royal diet.

10. Marzipan

A paste made from ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites and flavored with cinnamon and pepper, marzipan was occasionally served at the end of a meal, although desserts weren't common in England until the 18th century when incredibly elaborate sugar sculptures became popular among the aristocracy.

11. Spiced Fruitcake

The exception to the no dessert rule was during the Twelfth Night banquet on January 6, when a special spiced fruitcake containing a dried pea (or bean) was served. Whoever found the pea would be king or queen of the pea (or bean) and was treated as a guest of honor for the remainder of the evening.

12. Wine and Ale

All this food was washed down with enormous quantities of wine and ale. Historians estimate that 600,000 gallons of ale (enough to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool) and around 75,000 gallons of wine (enough to fill 1,500 bathtubs) were drunk every year at Hampton Court Palace.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS:

Helen Davies, Marjorie Dorfman, Mary Fons, Deborah Hawkins, Martin Hintz, Linnea Lundgren, David Priess, Julia Clark Robinson, Paul Seaburn, Heidi Stevens, and Steve Theunissen