Gluttony then and now


Millions of North Americans are obese. They art most of the time and all the wrong foods that consist of salt, sugar, fat, and flour.

Fast food corporations are making money hand over fist.

All of the above is true, but few, if any writer, mentions that obese people live short lives.

But modern Americans are not the first gluttons of the world.

The elite inhabitants of Rome were the first absolute gluttons of the world.

Emperor Heliogabalus (218 – 222) was famous for his sumptuous banquets serving venison, swan, shellfish, pork, chicken, mutton, beef, hams, bream, hare, goose, dusk, crane, lettuce, mushrooms, asparagus, porpoise, swordfish, magpies, cockles, goat, and milk fattened snails that overgrew their shells.

Then his guests (we don’t know how many) would be served delicacies like lark’s tongues, and parrot heads, cocks’ combs ripped of live roosters, mullet’s penises, slices of conger eels fattened on the bodies of Christian slaves, sows’ udders and dormices.

After this long eating frenzy, guests wiped their fatty fingers on the hairs of naked wine-boys and proceeded to the sweet table laden with apples, quinces, pears, oranges, walnuts, almonds, pastries, cheeses and baked seabirds.

When their stomachs could no longer accommodate food and liquid they went to the vomitorium and tickled, by mans of feather, their throats to vomit all the food and continue eating!

Chefs who botched a sauce were forced to eat it, and any dishes that Heliogabalus deemed failed had to be eaten by their respective creators.

Heliogabalus was an eccentric and married five times. It is recorded that he was gay and the army disapproved of his sexual orientation. Eventually, his mother arranged for his assassination.

Once a slave servant broke a crystal goblet. The wealthy Vedius Polio who counted Emperor Augustus as his friend, chopped off the servant’s hands and live body was thrown into the pond that contained live lampreys.

As we now know, Romans ate themselves to oblivion.

Then came the French nobility whose extravagant meals have been meticulously recorded for posterity, but their specialties were more refined.

Louis XIV, the “Sun King” attended a banquet for 2000 given by Prince de Conde at the Chateau Chantilly. The presiding chef was famous Francois Vatel who had ordered fish that failed to arrive on time , whereupon he committed suicide.

Since then, in France food is handled as priority when shipped from anywhere.

For hundreds of years French gastronomy ruled, but then English kings took over starting 1840’s.

King Edward VII (1841 – 1910) started his day with a glass of Guernsey milk in bed, and then went down to his dining room for breakfast consisting of bacon rashers, eggs, poached haddock, chicken, toast, and lashings of butter.

Later, when hunting, he savoured hot turtle soup.

The came lunch of cold meats, game stew, salad, and vegetables, followed at 4 p.m. by tea, petit fours, preserved ginger, poached eggs, scones, hot cakes, cold cakes, sweet cakes, and Scottish short bread.

At 8.30 p.m. dinner consisted of salmon, or turbot, potages and soups, roast saddle of mutton, sirloin of beef, ortolan, plover, goose, hare, woodcocks, devilled herring fillets, cream cheeses, Madeira wine, ports, nuts, liqueurs and chocolate.

We don’t know when he went to bed and how well he slept after eating all of the above.

In comparison to Romans, French nobility, and 19th century English kings, obese North Americans eat very little, but they all the wrong foods day-in-day pout “poisoning” their bodies with highly refined food devoid of fibre and nutrients.

Think about when you think about lunch or dinner!


Comments are closed.