Really Weird Rules The Royals Have About Food


It seems like being royalty would be the easiest
job ever. Sure, you get to travel the world, never have
any financial worries, and eat all kinds of amazing food… but there’s a catch. It turns out, mealtimes are so complicated
it’s enough to make anyone grateful they’re not a royal. Even if you know your salad fork from your
main course fork, you’re only a fraction of the way through royal utensil etiquette. Royals aren’t even allowed to use forks like
most of us do. Diners hold forks in their left hand, knives
in their right, push food onto the back of the fork and eat from there. And it’s the way the rest of the British population
prefer to eat, as well. That’s not all. If a royal needs to excuse themselves, they’re
expected to cross their utensils to signal they’ll be back, and they expect their plate
to still be there. When they’re done, utensils are placed with
the handles at the bottom right side of the plate, at an angle. Technically, this is the proper way for everyone
to leave their utensils, but it’s definitely expected at royal functions. According to Darren McGrady, who was Queen
Elizabeth’s personal chef for 11 years, it doesn’t matter how fast or slow anyone else
eats. The only thing that matters is when the Queen
is done. He told The Huffington Post, “As soon as she put down her knife and fork
from the first course… the footmen come in. The course was over and they’d start clearing,
even if you hadn’t finished, they’d be clearing the table.” So, when you’re dining with the queen at a
formal banquet, eat quickly. How do you know when a Queen is actually done
delicately chowing down? Just look to her purse. When it comes to mealtimes, it’s often hung
from the underside of the table on a convenient hook she carries just for that purpose. When she places her purse on the table, that’s
a sign she wants the entire meal to come to an end within the next five minutes, and what
the Queen wants, the Queen gets. But it turns out that diners aren’t the only
ones who have to follow the queen’s whims, because when the Queen sets foot in the kitchen
to see what’s going on, all meal preparation stops. McGrady said that it didn’t matter what sort
of dish you were working on when the Queen stopped by. All pans are moved off the stove, the chefs
take three steps back and bow to the monarch, answering any questions she might have. Something’s burning in the oven? It doesn’t matter. It’s only after she leaves that cooking can
resume. There’s a way to make Royal tea, and it’s
very specific. The tea goes into the cup first, then the
milk is added. When you’re stirring, in can only with a back-and-forth
motion while never touching the sides. There are rules that need to be followed when
you’re drinking that tea, too. Royals have to hold the cup a specific way,
and contrary to popular belief, the pinkie should never, ever be held out. And if you slurp, or make any sound when putting
the cup in its saucer? Sorry, you’re unworthy of sipping with the
Royals. There are a ton of old traditions beyond tea
ceremonies that are still followed in the Royal Family, and one of those is giving Christmas
gifts to staff. George V was reportedly the one who first
gave royal staffers a Christmas pudding for the holidays, and it’s a gift-giving tradition
that continues. The royals give out about 1,500 puddings every
December to their entire palace staff. For a long time, the puddings were sourced
from Fortnum & Mason, the royal grocer, but recently, the royals have started shopping
at Tesco. That’s sort of like giving everyone a fruitcake
you bought at Walmart. “Fruitcake?” “Mm-hm.” Like long-time employees and some staffers
stationed at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle get something a little extra, but Christmas
puddings? It might not sound like much, but they’re
actually pretty delicious. A world without garlic and onions is a world
most people wouldn’t want to live in, but that’s exactly the kind of situation the royals
find themselves in. Camilla Parker-Bowles explained on an episode
of MasterChef Australia that the reasoning is partly about hygiene and politeness: garlic-breath
doesn’t make the best impression. It’s said that the Queen’s personal dislike
of garlic has something to do with the ban as well, but there’s a bit of good news. The Daily Express says this rule only applies
to ultra-formal settings like state banquets. Still, if you’re dining with the Queen even
casually, it’s probably still off-limits. It’s no secret: the royals like their eggs. “I can eat 50 eggs.” “Nobody can eat 50 eggs.” According to Prince Charles’s former chef,
there was one unbreakable rule for preparing his eggs: they needed to be boiled for exactly
four minutes. Eggs are served with every royal breakfast
and for tea, but it’s usually brown eggs for the Queen. She says they simply taste better. The royal obsession with eggs goes back at
least to Queen Victoria, who used to eat her boiled egg from a gold cup with a gold spoon,
which is possibly the fanciest way to eat such a normal food. “Eggs are easy as 1-2-3. Eggs! In the middle of the day, anytime, anywhere,
any way! Eggs are great!” If you expect royal dinners to be all caviar
and steaks, you might be surprised to find that’s not always the case. Former chef Carolyn Robb revealed just what
got served up to royals when it was time for just small, private meals, saying that they
preferred game they killed themselves in hunts, vegetables from their gardens, and wild mushrooms
gathered from the property. When it came to what they actually wanted
to eat, it was small portions of hearty meals, and best of all? There were no fancy dinner settings. Meals also included roast chicken and fish
fingers for the boys, who sometimes pushed their way into the kitchen themselves to whip
up some spaghetti. And when it was just the family, meals were
often on trays in front of the fire, with presumably no rules about which forks were
off-limits.

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