Life as a royal is no doubt incredibly different than mine—and probably yours, unless of course you’re a royal yourself. But for most of us, there are significant variations, with most involving the things that come out of the kitchen. Let’s start with a little bit of trivia from our friends across the pond.
The quintessential item to come out of any kitchen is probably the wedding cake, and the Royal family has excelled in that area for hundreds of years. Queen Victoria and Albert’s wedding is credited with starting several traditions, one being a large cake that was sent home in slices as party favors. Their particular cake was a 300-pound fruitcake that was so well preserved with alcohol and dense ingredients that you can still find slices of it popping up for auction to this day! Since then, the cakes have only gotten more grand and exquisite, with the largest weighing in at 500 pounds and standing nine feet high.
Different royals have different culinary traditions and kitchen setups, depending on where in the world they reside. Today we are going to take a walk through the Spanish and English Royal Families’ kitchens and compare them with what you might find in your own home.
Yours: You and maybe your spouse are most likely the only chefs in the house.
Royalty: Depending on the occasion, there can be a few hundred chefs all working in the same kitchen. Isn’t there a saying about that…?
Yours: If you are a parent of small children, the chances are pretty good that you have a lot of plastic dishes in your house. If your kids are grown, you probably have a single set of everyday dishes and cutlery, and you may even break out your granny’s china for special occasions.
Royalty: Reigning from 1509 to 1547, King Henry VIII’s cutlery drawer only had knives because forks had yet to be invented. At the table, guests would use their fingers and knife to delicately eat their meal. Nowadays, royal guests might have 13 different pieces of cutlery at their place setting. In England, it is not uncommon for a royal reception to involve hundreds of dinner plates and over 1,000 glasses.
The Pots and Pans
Yours: You may have a few saucepans, a few frying pans, a cast-iron skillet, and a couple of pots hanging out in your cupboards. You probably also have a couple of 9×13 pans, a bundt pan, a cookie sheet, and some muffin tins.
Royalty: A few years back, the Spanish Royal Family opened up their doors for tours of the old kitchens, and boy, were there a lot of differences! So many cake molds! Baskets, copper bowls and pots, saucepans, frying pans, egg pots, multiple large paella pans, pie safes, mortars and pestles, and more.
Yours: I don’t know about you, but the smallest kitchen I have lived with was a little less than 40 square feet. Yours may be smaller (though I hope not for your sake) or larger depending on the style of home you own or rent.
Royalty: The kitchen in the Royal Palace of Madrid rings in around a whopping 21,500 square feet. Of course, that includes the pantry, cooking area, bakery, assembly area, and wine and liquor storerooms.
Yours: Most kitchen tables in America measure somewhere between four and eight feet long, and many collapse to be much smaller so that you can conserve valuable kitchen space.
Royalty: The current British Royal banquet table measures an incredible 175 feet long and can take up to two days to set correctly before a banquet. Not only that, but in Queen Victoria’s time, her and Albert’s chairs were slightly taller than everyone else’s even though they shared the same basic design.
Yours: When I was growing up, you knew dinner was extra special when my mom brought out one or two candles, set them up in the middle of the dinner table, and turned out the rest of the lights. You might have grown up with a little bit of music playing during dinner, or you might have eaten your dinner by the light of the television.
Royalty: In the past, English royalty have dazzled guests with performances by jesters and theatre troupes. In Victoria’s time, there were even galleries set up for spectators to observe the feast (but not partake). Another interesting tidbit about the ambiance during Victoria’s feasts is that the Queen was always served first, and when she was done eating, so was everyone else. This proved particularly troublesome for some because Victoria happened to be a speedy eater, so some guests didn’t even get to taste their meal before it was whisked away for the next course.
Yours: If you hosted a large get-together, it might take you a few hours to clean everything up and put your house back in order. Between handwashing and the dishwasher, you probably can make relatively quick work of most daily messes.
Royalty: When the Queen of England hosts a large get-together, it can take multiple weeks to clean every single piece of the service (plates, cups, cutlery, etc.)
Just because the Royal kitchens are different than yours, doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the family gathering spot to its fullest. If you’re tired of your existing kitchen and want to remodel it to improve its aesthetics and function, contact an experienced kitchen remodel contractor in the Seattle area.