Breakfast: During the Regency era, the first meal of the day was usually served between 8:00-10:00 AM. The working class during this era often ate their breakfast at around 8 AM or earlier so that they could get to work. The upper class on the other hand would eat at around 9 AM because it took several hours for the housekeepers to get the fire going in the morning. Although they ate breakfast very late, most of the upper class would wake up, and start their day several hours before they sat down to eat breakfast. Before breakfast, most people would wake up, get dressed, and start their day. They might take a walk around town, talk to neighbors, or read. To sustain themselves before the real breakfast, women would have some tea, and toast while men might have some ale or they might not eat anything at all. Breakfast was usually a very light meal. Bread, toast, rolls with jam, eggs, and bacon were foods that could be found at a traditional breakfast. Beverages that were served included tea, and chocolate, which was a very expensive drink made from coco beans, and milk. Men would also have a large glass of ale at breakfast to start their day.
This was a traditional breakfast in Regency England. It is very light, and contains some meats, eggs, and toast.
Lunch: Lunch was a relatively new concept at this time. During the Regency era, "morning" had a very different meaning than it does today. It was from dawn until dinner which was the largest meal of the day. In England, dinner had been getting pushed back later and later since the middle ages. During the Middle ages, dinner would typically be served at 3:30, but was gradually being pushed back to around 6;00. This made it so that there would be up to 9 hours between a light breakfast, and dinner. Obviously, people of the time did not enjoy having to wait over 9 hours to eat another meal. Women of that time especially had a hard time making it from breakfast to dinner without any food. So, women started eating a light meal that consisted of some bread,meats, cheeses, and wine at around 1:00. Upper class women often used this meal as a social occasion, and might go to a neighbors house. Men did not take part in this meal, as they were usually out all day. During this time period, the words "luncheon" and "nuncheon" were created. Luncheon was the more upper class, and socially acceptable word, and nuncheon was used by the lower class.
Dinner: Dinner during the Regency era was a huge deal, especially if there were guests. It was by far the largest meal of the day. It was also the most formal meal even if there were only family members in attendance. Dinner was eaten in the dining room, which was the most decorated, and usually the largest room in the house. Diners sat around a large table which would have all of the dishes laid out beforehand. Dinner often consisted of several courses, which had several dishes being served at a time. Dishes at a traditional dinner would often include meats such as pork, chicken, and beef. Fish was also served, as Britain is an island, and was plentiful. Vegetables that were covered with a very thick butter sauce were served because butter was very expensive at the time, and would show wealth especially if there were guests. With the meal coming to an end, dessert was served. This would often consist of puddings, creams, fruits, and a large number of other sweets. A "small" dinner where only the family was in attendance would usually have three courses, and would take around two and a half hours. A very large dinner with guests could take up to four hours.
This is a very fancy dining room that could be found in the homes of wealthy people
Supper: After returning from a night out, members of the upper class might have a light meal. This meal served at around 11 PM, and was to warm people up after a long night out. Typically, some soup or a warm drink would be served. A "negus" which is a hot drink made from spices, jelly, and fat would often be served at supper.
Food in pride and prejudice: In Pride and Prejudice, food is not a very common topic, and I could only find one dish that was talked about. In chapter 11, Bingley says "As for the ball, it is quite a settled thing; and as soon as Nicholls has made white soup enough, I shall send round my cards." White soup was a very expensive dish that only the upper class could afford. It was a very rich creamy chicken soup that also included veal, and almonds. The ingredients of this can show us what was foods were available during that time period. For example, they had access to veal, rice, ham, almonds, and all sorts of vegetables.
Popular dishes of the time: main courses include steak, neats tongue (cows tongue), jugged hare (rabbits), onion soup, roasted chicken, pork ribs, beef ragout. Some snacks include boiled eggs, roasted potatoes, preserved ginger, biscuits, cakes, and even broccoli.
Preparation: Upper and middle class families would have all of their meals prepared by servants. The servants would prepare the meals in large kitchens, where everyone would be doing something different, and would often be a very chaotic place. The amount of servants working for a family all depended on how wealthy they were, and that was a factor in how long the food would take to prepare, and the quality of the food. For poorer families, meals would be cooked in a big metal pot over an open fire in the middle of a room. The whole meal would be cooked in just one pot where bags were used to separate ingredients.
Table Manners: During the Regency era, manners were a very important part of society. During meals, and especially dinner, manners were especially important. For the upper class there was an absurd amount of very passive aggressive, and tedious rules at the dinner table. Be careful to not over eat, but do not under eat because eating too much is gross, and not eating enough is very rude to the host. If someone wanted more tea or coffee, they would but their spoon on their saucer. People were expected to wipe their mouths before drinking from a glass because it was rude to grease the glass with your lips. There are some more rules that are still somewhat tedious, but are not as bad as these.
Dishes in other Jane Austen books: A dish that was mentioned in "Emma" is a roast loin of pork. This is the meat around the rib cage on a pig. This is a dish that is still very common today. Another
“English Heritage.” Georgians: Food & Health | English Heritage, www.english-heritage.org.uk/learn/story-of-england/georgians/food-and-health/. Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.
“Mealtimes.” Mealtimes | The Regency Town House, www.rth.org.uk/regency-period/family-life/mealtimes. Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.
Gooii. “History Cookbook.” Georgians / Regency - Food Facts - History Cookbook - Cookit!, cookit.e2bn.org/historycookbook/34-344-georgians-regency-Food-facts.html. Accessed 29 Mar. 2017.