In upper and middle class households, food was prepared by servants in large kitchens.
In these kitchens, at least in large households, many people worked busily on different tasks at the same time. In poorer households food was cooked in a pot over an open fire in one part of the living area; there were no separate kitchens. More
Most meals were still cooked on open fires or spits.
However, changes were occurring throughout the period that made cooking easier. Mass-produced iron goods became increasingly common. Innovations such as metal grates and metal hobs appeared. These made boiling and stewing food much easier. More
Towards the end of the period, kitchen ranges came in.
They had a cast iron oven on one side and a water heater on the other. Baking food became popular. There were also hot closets in some houses, where plates were kept warm by a bath of hot water fed from a boiler behind the fire. More
Copper pans replaced clay cooking pots and china, silver, pewter or tin was used for eating.
The rich ate from silver, pewter and, by the end of the 18th century, china plates and dishes. The poor used wooden plates and bowls or thin tinware. Most kitchen utensils were of copper or wood, china was considered too expensive for such a use. Metal knives, forks and spoons came into general use for all but the poorest classes at this time. More
Most people in this country had an adequate diet.
The end of the 17th century, and the beginning of the 18th, marked the start of a revolution in agriculture that saw increased food production. More
For the upper classes, huge meals were the order of the day.
For all but the very poor, meals were better and more wholesome than they had been in Stuart times. There was a big difference between the food of the rich and the poor but more people could now afford sugar and spices. More
Although servants, rose early, breakfast was not until quite late.
Breakfast was taken around 10 am, and lasted about an hour. It consisted of coffee, chocolate and tea, plum cake, pound cake, hot rolls, cold rolls, bread and butter and toast. In some houses it was a male affair, the women staying in their rooms and eating breakfast there. More
Because breakfast was so late, there was not a regular lunch.
As men were likely to be out during the day, and it was considered effeminate to take Luncheon or Nuncheon, this meal was generally a female affair. More
Dinner was a formal affair and could last several hours.
The family and guests would present themselves, formally dressed, in the drawing room a couple of hours before dinner and talk in small groups, until dinner was served, about 6pm in the countryside and up to 8pm in town. More
Traditional English fare appeared on many tables, e.g. roast beef and vegetables.
During this period there was a change to what we would consider more 'modern' cooking and many of the recipes we would still recognise today. More
Georgian cooking was very rich, with lots of butter, cream and eggs.
A single cake or pudding could use a dozen eggs. However, cakes were smaller and the size of custard cups and syllabub glasses suggest that portions eaten of these were also were quite small. More
Sugar was used in many dishes, both sweet and savoury.
Sugar was one of the most important imports. Great fortunes were made from using slave labour in the sugar plantations. By this time, sugar had become affordable to use in a wide variety of dishes, as well as in tea and other drinks. More
Spices were still very popular and used extensively in Georgian cooking.
Sometimes they were used to make food which had been preserved taste better. Spices - nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, and peppers - were added liberally. More
Foods such as potatoes and tomatoes were now being eaten.
Both had been introduced into Europe from the Americas in Tudor and Stuart times, but both had been regarded as poisonous until the late 17th century. It was only now that they became popular (tomatoes not until the very end of the Georgian period). Jam-making, using fruit, also became popular. More
Presenting food was very important and could be a work of art.
There were intricate moulds for jellies and pastries. Colours and shapes were meant to complement one another on the table, which was laid out symmetrically, so as to be 'a work of art'. More
In the later Georgian/Regency period, the influence of French and Italian cuisine spread.
It is thought that the fine cooks in aristocratic French households found themselves suddenly out of a job, when their masters and mistresses were trundled off to be guillotined or fled abroad, during the French Revolution. Ices were also popularised by French and Italian confectioners, who set up shops in London and a few other cities in the 1760's and 1770's. More
Cookery writers became popular.
They were especially popular with the new middle classes trying to establish themselves in society. Hannah Glasse was the most famous of these and has been called the "mother of the modern dinner party". More
Food storage was a risky business; however, the Georgian era saw the increasing use of ice houses.
These outdoor structures in the gardens of large houses were packed with ice and provided a basic means of refrigeration. Other methods, such as various preservation methods like marinading, slating, smoking, potting and pickling, were still popular. More
The consumption of alcoholic drinks was high amongst both rich and poor.
Rum and wines fortified with brandy, such as Port and Madeira, were drunk in liberal quantities by the rich, and gin and beer by the poor. The ready availability and low cost of gin led to a massive rise in consumption, known as 'the Gin Craze'. In London, an average of 2 pints per person per week was consumed by the 1730's. More