An Elizabethan Madrigal Dinner (part 1)
A madrigal dinner is a wonderful way of going back in time, it shows just how people lived during the Elizabethan era and here is how it goes.
The Great Hall is where the dinner is held. Ye Order Of Feast
The wassail is to be used as a toast Please refrain from partaking till the appointed time. Although the cost was shocking, there was keen competition among Queen Elizabeth’s subjects to entertain Her Majesty when she passed through their counties on one of Her numerous summer progresses. In 1576 Sir Roger North was honored at his estate by the “Queen Majesty’s coming thither on Monday the first of September supper and tarrying until Wednesday after dinner. “The honor cost Lord North a bundle, most of which was paid to serve the Queen and her enormous entourage meals like the one we are about to be served. The Lords account book showed that among other things he purchased a cartload and two horse loads of oysters, 430 pounds of butter, and 2,522 eggs. In anticipation of the glorious event, he had put up a banqueting house and some new kitchens. He also hired special cooks from London to augment the dozens of people already on his serving and kitchen staff. For most of Elizabeth’s hosts, such generosity paid off, not only in preferment’s, but equally important, in friendship of the monarch.
Fanfare The First Announcing the seating of ye guests by ye jesters
Fanfare The Second Announcing the procession of ye singers, Wassail Bowl, and the Toast to the Occasion
Gloucester shire Wassail… English “Wassail” was an old Angelo-Saxon drinking pledge Waes-Hael which means,” Be in good health.” At early Saxon feasts it was customary to drink a wassail to the Lord of the house, and thus the wassail bowl became a feature of English events. Also, the customs of wassailing the fruit trees were common throughout England. Men went out to the orchards with a large jug of cider and there they drank a toast to the trees, often beating them, bidding them bear fruit in the coming spring. Spain and it’s Canarie Islands produced the Elizabethan favorite wine, Sack, a type of sherry. Some gentry preferred a still sweeter and richer drink called hippocras, compounded of white wine, sherry, nutmeg, cloves, Jamaican pepper and sugar, a concoction that was to survive in later times as a Christmas or New Year’s punch.
Fanfare The Third Announcing the passing of ye viands
The Mince Pie Long before Francis Bacon wrote that “mincing of meat in pies sparest the grinding of the teeth,” mixtures of spices and liquor had been used to preserve perishable meats and fruits. By the seventeenth century, mince pie had a politico-religious connection. At Christmas time, cavaliers would bake rectangular “coffins” or crusts, for the spicy filling and often created monstrous affairs weighing over 100 pounds.