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There was a huge disparity in how the rich and the poor ate in Victorian England. The wealthy would eat huge meals of exotic and rich dishes which produced a lot of waste whilst the poor, especially those at the very bottom of the social pile, would survive on little more than scraps.
Those who were unable to find any food for themselves often ended up in the Workhouse where the food consisted of potatoes, bread & dripping and the famous gruel!
For those with money mealtimes became an opportunity to show off their riches through fine crockery and cutlery, servants and a huge of array of dishes. These would include meat, fish and sweet dishes with sorbets and ice creams served in between to refresh the diners.
It was mealtimes that contributed greatly in distancing the rich from their servants – previous to this time they would have taken their meals together but, now that image was an important factor, the servants would eat ‘below stairs’ away from their employers.
My favourite topic of conversation - food!