When it comes to sitting down for a meal, we all have our likes and dislikes. In that regard, Queen Elizabeth II is no different from the rest of us. When preparing a feast for the queen, her kitchen staff must not only work around Her Majesty’s tastes but also royal protocol. Darren McGrady was a chef for the royal family from 1982 to 1997. Additionally, he is the author of the book Eating Royally: Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen. Chef McGrady, and others, share insights into dining with the queen, and foods you probably won’t find at her table.
According to Chef McGrady, Queen Elizabeth avoids eating starchy foods like potatoes, bread, and pasta. In an interview for RecipesPlus, McGrady noted that Her Majesty avoids consuming these starchy foods unless it is a special occasion. Instead, he notes that Queen Elizabeth’s typical fare at home includes vegetables, fruit, and grilled fish or chicken.
You needn’t worry about offending the queen with garlicky breath while dining in her presence. Chef McGrady has stated that Queen Elizabeth banned the aromatic bulb from palace kitchens. This statement was confirmed by the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker-Bowles, on an episode of MasterChef Australia.
8. Rare Meat
While Her Majesty enjoys beef, lamb, and venison, she prefers her meat to be well done. The Telegraph reports that the queen particularly enjoys the well-done ends of a roast for her Sunday dinner. Therefore, you won’t find any especially pink, tender, juicy hunks of meat on the royal buffet. Making sure meats are thoroughly cooked may also be a way to ensure Her Majesty doesn’t come down with a tummy bug. An illness would interrupt her busy schedule of keeping up with correspondence, taking meetings, and making royal appearances.
7. White Eggs
While eggs are popular with the royal family, you are more likely to find brown eggs than white ones at the queen’s table. According to The Guardian, the queen feels that brown eggs are tastier than their paler counterparts. Rumor has it that although the queen enjoys a simple breakfast of Special K cereal, on occasion, she prefers to start the day with eggs scrambled with salmon. Another fun fact is that Queen Elizabeth is as comfortable eating fruit from a plastic container as from gilt-edged plates and saucers. At home, you might find her snacking from a simple Tupperware bowl.
6. Bread Crusts
While the queen reportedly does not indulge in starchy foods, she does enjoy tea sandwiches with the crusts removed. Hello! Magazine quotes former royal chef Owen Hodgson as saying the royal kitchen staff assembles the Queen’s tuna sandwiches according to precise specifications. First, staff butter both sides of the bread before adding the tuna filling. Next, they apply thin slices of cucumber and a dash of pepper. The final step is the removal of the crusts and the cutting of the sandwiches into perfect triangles.
5. Fruit Out of Season
To ensure that fruit is at its peak freshness and not genetically altered, Her Royal Highness eats fruit only in season. Furthermore, she declines to pick up a piece of whole fruit and munch it from her hand. Word has it that the queen cuts open and slices her banana with a knife before consuming the fruit with a fork. It takes effort to maintain one’s dignity, after all.
4. Sugary Tea
Queen Elizabeth enjoys a morning pot of Earl Grey tea, according to BT. While she does take milk with her tea, she skips the sugar. This isn’t to say that Her Majesty doesn’t have a sweet tooth. The article goes on to say the queen enjoys Dundee cake at high tea time. This cake contains marmalade, almonds, dried, fruit, and cherries. Chef McGrady reports that another one of the queen’s favorite cakes is the chocolate biscuit cake. In fact, McGrady says Her Majesty would have this cake sent along on her travels so she could finish the entire dessert.
Like garlic, onions are a no-no at royal gatherings. Again, the Queen appears to be fastidious about maintaining fresh breath. This seems wise for someone whose schedule is jam-packed with meetings with various officials, ambassadors, chiefs of states, bishops, ministers, presidents, and more. While she doesn’t eat onions, Chef McGrady reports that the queen is fond of other vegetables. She usually enjoys two types of veggies along with a piece of fish or chicken for her lunch.
While Queen Elizabeth does enjoy fish, she avoids shellfish. Travel+Leisure reports this may be in an effort to prevent the ravages and schedule interruptions caused by foodborne illness. Therefore, if you are invited to dine at the palace, you should not expect to enjoy lobster, crab legs, mussels, or oysters. However, you may find goodies such as the ones experienced at the Singapore State Banquet. The Royal Collection Trust menu lists fillets of Dover sole, salmon mousse, Sandringham Estate pheasant, and crushed root vegetables, followed by chocolate and praline ice cream and seasonal fruit.
1. Tomato Sauces
You may have experienced slurping your spaghetti and ending up with a permanent tomato stain on your shirt. If so, you can understand why Queen Elizabeth declines tomato sauces. A BBC news article, reports that while the queen was visiting the Italian president in 2000, chefs were told to refrain from serving “long pastas and ‘messy’ tomato sauces.” Good advice for when you are eating out with important business associates who you wouldn’t want to face with a big, red tomato splotch on your front.