Although dining habits evolved considerably over the course of the century, meat, fish, vegetables and bread were the most commonly consumed foods of the 1800s.
In the early 1800s, hunting and farming were still the primary sources of food. Upper-class meals tended to be protein-heavy, while meals of the poor consisted primarily of vegetables and bread. Having lots of meat was a status symbol, particularly among the English gentry, because it meant that a man owned a lot of land on which he could hunt and poaching laws prevented those living on a landowner's property from hunting without the owner's permission. By the end of the 19th century, factories began to contribute to the rise of processed and tinned foods that could be preserved for longer periods of time.