What Did Rich Victorians Eat?

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Rich Victorians ate French cuisine consisting of rich meats, fish and desserts. The rich people of this era used meals as a time to show off their wealth through fine cutlery, china and up to 20 or more dishes of food, often cooked by a French chef. The dishes were put on a sideboard and brought to the table by footmen.

During the Victorian era, tinned food was available for the first time, but tinned meat was usually consumed by the poor because it was less expensive than fresh meats. Fish was also more widely available thanks to railway lines and ice.

The poor ate potato parings and vegetable scraps unless they got a job in a workhouse, where they would be fed potatoes, cheese, bread and gruel, which was oats and other grains with water. The middle class ate cheese, sausage, bacon, bread and vegetables.

The dining room was the centerpiece of the Victorian home. It was ornately designed to impress guests, and families usually met there three times a day for meals.

Evening meals were traditionally eaten late in the day during this time period, and afternoon tea was started as a tradition to stave off hunger while waiting for the evening meal.