How to Eat (and Drink) Like the Queen: Royal Chefs Reveal Elizabeth II's Favorite Foods

Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images
Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

It’s good to be the Queen. Twice a week, Queen Elizabeth II browses a leather-bound menu of the latest meal suggestions from the royal family’s head chef, Mark Flanagan, and whichever items she checks off, she gets to eat. The Telegraph recently spoke with two former royal chefs who were ready to dish out the Queen’s most personal food tastes.

Mealtime at Buckingham Palace isn’t always the extravagant affair non-royals might assume it to be. As former personal chef to the Queen Darren McGrady told The Telegraph, her royal majesty is no foodie. “She eats to live,” he said. And even the delicacies she does enjoy don’t appear on her plate every day. “The Queen loved scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and a grating of truffle. But she was too frugal to ever order fresh truffles and only really enjoyed them at Christmas when the truffles were sent as a gift.” Instead, she prefers regular cereal like Special K with fresh fruit for a typical breakfast.

But even the most humble meals served to the Queen are held to high standards. When Owen Hodgson, who worked in the palace kitchen in the early 1990s, spoke to The Telegraph, he recalled the level of detail that went into a simple tuna fish sandwich. The crusts were removed, the bread was buttered on both sides, and the sandwiches were cut into eight identical triangles before they were fit for the Queen.

Of course, the royal diet includes the most classic of British culinary traditions, afternoon tea. Queen Elizabeth has a weakness for chocolate, and there’s usually chocolate perfection pie or chocolate biscuit cake included in the spread.

For dinner, she likes to keep things light with grilled fish like sole served with vegetables and a salad. On Sundays, she enjoys a roast, preferring the well-done end slice over something more rare. Ingredients from her farms, like white peaches from Windsor Castle and fillets of beef and venison from Sandringham and Balmoral, are often worked into the menu.

As for her preferred drink, it's a gin and Dubonnet with a slice of lemon. She also sometimes drinks wine with lunch, and reportedly enjoys a glass of champagne before bed.

In 2017, the royal palace made it a little easier to drink like the Queen when they made wine from her royal vineyard available for the public to purchase. Beyond that, you may need to hire a personal chef of your own to recreate her full experience.

[h/t The Telegraph]

Watch a 'Pasta Granny' Prepare This Rare 'Duchess's Little Snails' Dish

Courtesy of Vicky Bennison
Courtesy of Vicky Bennison

By some estimates, Italy has over 350 different kinds of pasta—and that’s only counting the different shapes. You’ll find twisted strozzapreti (literally “priest stranglers”), shoe-shaped ravioli, “swaddled baby” ravioli, and ear-shaped orecchiette.

While some of these variations can be found all throughout Italy, others are prepared only in certain regions, mostly by elderly women who may not have taught these family recipes to the next generation. One of the rarest types of pasta is su filindeu (which translates to “God’s wool”), and only a few people in the world know how to make it.

Vicky Bennison, the creator of the Pasta Grannies website and YouTube channel, wants to change that. By documenting these women (and sometimes men) doing what they do best, she hopes to preserve these centuries-old recipes.

Take, for instance, Anna Faggi, whose signature lumachelle della duchessa (literally “the duchess’s little snails") can only be found in the Pesaro Urbino region of central Italy.

According to the Encyclopedia of Pasta by Oretta Zanini De Vita, legend has it that lumachelle was invented inside the royal court of the Duke of Urbino, a walled city in Italy’s Marche region. The duke’s kitchen servants carried the recipe beyond the palace, where it became popular among nuns in the region.

The dough contains cinnamon and nutmeg, and the preparation is rather time-consuming, making it a dish that’s only prepared for weddings and other special occasions.

After preparing and slicing the dough, Faggi wraps the strips around a bulrush reed to create tiny tubes. Next, she rolls the tubes over a comb to create ridges in the pasta. It’s served in chicken stock, and while it’s traditionally topped with chicken stomach, you can do what Faggi does and add Parmigiano cheese instead.

See how it’s made in the video below:

A Low-Carb Diet Could Shorten Your Lifespan

iStock
iStock

The Atkins, Paleo, and Keto diets may have different gimmicks, but they all share a common message: Carbs are bad and meat is good. Yet a new analysis reported by New Scientist suggests that anyone who buys into this belief may later come to regret it. According to the paper, published in The Lancet Public Health, people who eat a moderate amount of carbs actually live longer than those who avoid them.

For their study, researchers analyzed data previously collected from 15,400 participants in the U.S. They found that people who received about 50 to 55 percent of their calories from carbohydrates had the longest lifespans, roughly four years longer than those who got 30 percent or less of their energy from carbs.

This doesn't necessarily mean that the key to a healthy diet is to stock your pantry with pasta and croissants. The study also showed that people who got up to 70 percent or more of their energy from carbs died one year earlier on average than subjects in the 50 to 55 percent group. A closer examination at the eating of habits of people who ate fewer carbs revealed another layer to the phenomenon: When people avoided carbohydrates in favor of meat, their chances of early death rose, but the opposite was true for people who replaced carb-heavy foods with plant-based fats and proteins, such as nuts, beans, and vegetables.

These numbers point to something dietitians have long been aware of: Eating a diet that's based around animal products isn't ideal. Getting more of your protein from plant-based sources, on the other hand, can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risks of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Nonetheless, fad diets that forbid people from eating carbs while letting them eat as much steak as they want are still popular because they're an easy way to lose weight in a short amount of time. But as the research shows, the short-term results are rarely worth the long-term effects on your health.

[h/t New Scientist]

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