• Mon. Sep 26th, 2022

Shakespeare from the Lights of Theaters to Being the Course Meal of Every Table

ByKhalida Bendjeddou

Sep 13, 2021

The city that does not sleep haunts its people at night, yet also at daylight, echoes of voices from the ancestors of the land are heard at the Thames River. The spooky and foggy climate of England could not but add to the history of the place that cannot be discussed without mentioning the god of literature “Shakespeare”. The writer that is mostly celebrated in the fences of literature did not stick to one field but went further to nurture the minds and the body of people. While his plays and poems were mainly tackled in literature as unquestionably the best so far, he also managed to go beyond the restrictions put on his kind by entering the world of gastronomy both in the abstract and concrete universe.

What is the Food Introduced in Shakespearean Plays?

As characters development inside the plays of Shakespeare mainly serves the communication of certain ideas and the formation of the plot, sits the dishes and food either consumed or connected to the characters in a way or another as a mystery for the readers. To elucidate the reason behind the choice of some dishes we might need a significant return to some of his famous works. First of all, Shrewsbury cake was the main course meal with vital reference in the play Twelfth Night as Sir Toby Belch enjoys the company of few cakes throughout the play, the famous line: “Dost thou think because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?” hooked almost all English people to embrace the love of the cake daily and inspired others to be more creative with the recipe as they included various mixes like chocolate so that cakes or biscuit and tea time became an English ritual. Secondly, as food is served to please the consumer, giving pleasure to King Henry IV is more than a must, a task achieved by Shakespeare who describes the famous Gooseberry Foyle, a creamy pudding made out of gooseberry, an excellent dessert that matches the luxurious taste of a king who was obsessed with food. This recipe was later on tried in various manners matching the taste of every consumer as the words of Falstaff declares, “all the other gifts appertinent man, as the malice of this age, shapes them, are not worth a gooseberry.”

Shrewsbury Cakes
Gooseberry Fool

On the other side, Shakespeare created this mold of criticizing unbalanced diet as he believed that just like the mind, the body should be taken care of. Besides, gluttony was despised by the Elizabethan society as they still held the old notion that connotes to be one of the cardinal sins, and it was also suggested to be a leading cause of other deadly sins which was a position that was also shared by some counterparts. This stance was also showcased and strongly voiced in his character formation, where he followed the steps of old Greek philosophers and physicians the likes of Galen and Hippocrates, who wanted to create a balance between the mind and the body so they proposed the humor theory which suggests, that what we eat plays an important role in the shape of our personality traits, and affect our moods. This came as a simultaneous reaction toward the movement that arose at the time to call people to pay attention to the quantities of food being consumed. So Shakespearean characters were colored with the food eaten; sour food for example could not be a good choice for people dealing with melancholy, but food that is warm and moist would be helpful for them. The case of Ophelia and Hamlet is a good example that would illustrate the idea behind the choice of food; when Ophelia dies Hamlet is completely lost and will always be committed to one soul so he drinks vinegar as a symbol of eternal love and a sign of grief that drives his soul to the edge of downfall.

Shakespeare’s Obsession Reaching the Kitchen Side.

 To be a reader of the greatest writers in history is an honor and privilege that not many can be able to enjoy, but when you think elucidating the mysteries of his art is not available for everyone, wait to see the unbelievable luxurious set of restaurants that promote the lifestyle and aura of his work. Shakespeare’s Restaurants and pubs at Olde Stonewall Golf Club in the United States host this spirit of Elizabethan time, a structure that promotes loyalty and fine taste where the menu is featuring the American style of cuisine mixed with some medieval themes. The architecture side with the fantastic planning of furniture and decoration inside adds to the prestige of the place. The menu stretches from lunch to dinner filled with dishes such as Castle Salad, King Salad, Castle Burger, Knight’s Pasta. This fairy destination would be the must-go for Shakespearean fans who are dying to experience somehow the time of their favorite author, Though; this is not the only destination that might offer a similar experience, Shakespeare’s Boutique Restaurant in Cape Town promotes in the essence of its creation the famous quote “Mine eyes smell onions- I shall weep anon” which play also into the role of bringing theatre dining experience to the customers.

Shakespeare’s Restaurant and Pub at Olde Stonewall Golf Club
The Interior Decoration of Shakespeare’s Restaurant and Pub at Olde Stonewall Golf Club
Shakespeare’s Boutique Restaurant of Cape Town

Though as the celebration of the great artist will never stop, and from the near past shines the Culinary Complete works of 38 plays reflected by 38 chefs in Chicago, a project that aimed to celebrate the great author with a dish that fits for only gods (a famous reference from the play of Julius Caesar). 38 Chefs took the responsibility of creating 38 dishes inspired by Shakespearean works that were served throughout the entire year to deliver not only delicious food but narrate a whole story through the choices of each ingredient served in the dish. The initial idea was developed by Alpana Singh and Rick Boynton that wanted not only to celebrate the great author but offer an exclusive experience to the lovers of food and Shakespeare.

“Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers”, as the courage and passion to cook might take you to the heart of drama and tragedy, you must be willing to fight the imagination to create the highest form of art.

A Dish Inspired by the Play “Troilus and Cressida”, Create by Chef Tony Priolo
A Dish Inspired by the Play “Othello” Created by Chef John Manion

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