The King’s kitchen cooked for all those in the royal household who had an entitlement to eat at the sovereign’s expense.
Besides the King’s family and guests, they included equerries, pages, the queen’s and princesses’ attendants and servants. In February 1789, this also included the king’s doctor, Dr Willis, his assistants and of course all the kitchen staff.
Although a special diet was prescribed for the King during his illness, the daily menu carried on much as usual, with three courses, each of six or seven dishes.
“Their Majesties Dinner”
Served between 16.00 - 17.00
This would always have included soup with additional dishes of meat stews and pies, poultry and sometimes fish.
This usually featured a joint of meat – beef and mutton were the favourites, but a haunch of venison was also popular and was often presented from a hunt.
This included sweet and savoury dishes. There might have been blancmange and gateau de millefeuille served alongside stewed asparagus, spinach, potatoes and anchovy salad with roasted pheasant or truffles.
All the dishes for each course were put onto the table at the same time so that you helped yourself to what you fancied. When this course was removed, all the dishes for the following course were set out.
As status declined, so did the array of food
The kitchen staff, footmen, dressers, servants and grooms all had just one course – although it was usually roast or boiled beef or mutton, in generous proportions and probably with all the trimmings.
The Clerk of the Kitchen invariably had suet pudding with his roasts – obviously a personal preference, so one would imagine him to be of generous build. Nothing went to waste – heads, tails, marrow bones, ears, feet and lambs’ fryes [testicles] were all consumed with relish.
Small birds such as blackbirds and larks appeared regularly on the menus, especially for the younger princesses, who also had a fondness for dumplings.