Roundheads enjoyed a square meal

CHRIS BISHOP A school chef travelled back to the 1640s to cook up a Roundhead recipe for a new TV documentary.


A school chef travelled back to the 1640s to cook up a Roundhead recipe for a new TV documentary.

Food consultant Alison Sloan, who teaches at Wisbech Grammar School and writes a fortnightly column for the EDP, was called in to rustle up a mouth-watering menu from the period of the English Civil War for a BBC2 programme about 17th-century eating habits.

Set at Pepys's Farmhouse at Brampton, near Huntingdon, the show compares the right royal tastes of the Cavaliers with the plain rural fare of the Roundheads.

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Mrs Sloan, who is a past pupil of Wisbech Grammar School, was asked to try her hand at the Puritans' country cooking.

She dished up a mouth-watering menu featuring roast chine of beef on buttered cabbage, Scotch collops, consisting of slices of veal, and whitepot, a kind of bread and butter pudding made from marrow instead of butter.

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Another delicacy was marrow pudding, which became popular in the 17th century following the English invention of the pudding cloth. She was also filmed in the kitchen preparing cawdel, a mixture of ale and oatmeal, which attracted the nickname 'reflux porridge' during the filming.

Mrs Sloan explained how the Puritans' approach to cooking, which was once derided, had now become best practice in the kitchen.

She said: "In those days they ridiculed the Puritans, making them look like silly country folk whose food was very simple, whereas now we are all trying to use our country ways and our local food that has been grown next door."

She added: "It was good fun. I just like showing people about food and the history of it and why we do what we do.

"I also find it fascinating to see how the diets have changed in some ways, but how what we are doing today can be very similar to what they were doing then."

The programme, which currently has the working title Renaissance Super Size Me, is due to be screened at the end of May.

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