A 16th Century Feast in a 16th Century House

Fireside banquet

Dear Cath

We love history and we love food. Put those two things together and you have this feast! It was put on by The Fireside Collective (making delicious pop-up suppers around Edinburgh) in one of the historic buildings off the Royal Mile — practically spitting distance to Edinburgh Castle.

The idea was to 1) eat delicious food 2) raise money from said meal for the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust (they are raising funds to refurbish Riddles Court — the beautiful building where we ate) 3) pretend that we were 16th century lairds and ladies.

The first banquet to ever take place in Riddles Court was back in 1595 with King James IV, his wife Anne of Denmark and her brother, the guest of honor, the Duke of Holstein. Apparently they spent the equivalent of £150,000 — on that one meal (thank gawd for modern and slightly more egalitarian societies, eh?)!

Our own Riddles Court banquet wasn’t nearly so spendy, but I wager that the Fireside’s take on King James’ 16th century menu was way better (and much less let-them-eat-cake — seriously, how did the peasants not constantly parade around with pitchforks in threat of revolt?! £150,000 for a meal — totally criminal.).

16th century banquet

Our menu was so delicious and way more budget-friendly than good ole James’:

Mulled Mead Shots

Three Birds Pies with Bramble Sauce

Slow cooked pig’s head and shoulder with rustic root vegetables and garlic buttered greens

Frangipani Pears wrapped in delicate pastry served with salted caramel sauce

Cheese, nuts and dried seasonal fruits with a glass of port

As you can see, delicious, but not at all my usual vegan-friendly, gluten-less diet. I figured I’d splurge and pretend I was a 16th century lady, frilly collar, paneled corset (how did they fit food in their smushed organs?), brocade dress and all. #worthit

pomander ball

three birds pie

roasted veg and pig

pear caramelcheese plate

I think eating in a house museum, beautifully decorated, surrounded by lovely people and music — it doesn’t get better than that! Unless! Unless . your twinie were there. You and Troy would have loved, loved, loved it.

Edinburgh may be dark and rainy, but this is really the most magical city of stone and grey. Where else can you have a meal in such a beautiful and historic place? We’re trying very much to soak up the magic and not just moan about how dark and dreich the winter is (the sunlamps, exercise and vitamin D are working — they’re working! Delicious experiences like this one don’t hurt either.).

Wouldn’t it be cool if Atlanta could do something similar? Like what if you could have Martin Luther King, Jr.’s favourite meal IN HIS HOUSE! Wouldn’t that just blow your socks off?! You’d get to feel closer to an incredible visionary — and eat some really good food. Or what about going to The Wren’s Nest and sharing a plate of chicken (not rabbit) with the ghost of Joel Chandler Harris? History and food belong together, I’ve decided.

Speaking of feasts, I hope you had the most wonderfulest Thanksgiving ever! I so hope we’ll be together for it next year.

Love you like King James loved fancy food,


10 thoughts on “A 16th Century Feast in a 16th Century House”

  1. I would LOVE to attend to such a dinner!!! It is a wonderful idea! The food looks delicious, especially the pear, wrapped in pastry with finesse! I have to inquire if such things exist in Paris.

  2. HOW GORGEOUS! I am salivating as I scroll back and forth, just ogling at the yumtastically looking food. You look gorgeous and so chic and sleek in that outfit, and your hurr, gurl! Your hurr is so pretty!

    1. Awwww, Laura, you are sooo sweet. I’m still battling with how to control the hurrs — you can’t see in the photo, but I’m frizz-tastic. And the foood, oooo it was so good!

  3. OMG, the setting! the food! the ambiance! Everything looks so magical. Probably for the best that Troy and I weren’t there since we would compare every dinner with that one.

    I wish we had something like that in Atlanta – if only. But history is kind of glossed over here. So that just means that next time i visit (hopefully!) we’ll have to go to something similar. Love, love, love the idea of pop suppers.

    Also, you and matt make such a great looking couple – so glamorous! I’m so glad you two are taking advantage of such amazing events in your adopted home town 🙂

    xoxo, Cath

    1. Hi Kitcath!

      Oh you and Troy still MUST do one of these when you guys come for a final visit — if you can. OR we can recreate something when we are all home together.

      Thank you for calling us glamourous. Matt certainly is with his new tweed blazer. I’m wearing a turtle neck (or polo, as they say here — so confusing) from H&M that’s about 10 years old, over a £7 H&M dress from 2 years ago and charity shop shoes!

      I hope you and Troy get to eat lots of delicious things to celebrate you finishing school soon!


  4. Hi ladies!!! Been lurking for awhile and not leaving comments – sorry about that 🙂

    LOVE this whole concept and think it’s amazing. I have to ask though (forgive me in advance) — when you go off your diet, does it upset your tummy? You’re so dedicated otherwise, I just wonder if the richness of the food/the meat/alcohol sits well with you? I find that sometimes when I deviate from my non-strict diet (basically anything new), I pay the price for it.

    on that disgusting note, hope you all had a lovely thanksgiving!!! 🙂

    1. Hi CL!

      We love lurking — well, when it’s done by you! But so good to hear from you again!

      That is a really good question about the diet thing. I would have thought the same exact thing because that used to happen to me when I wasn’t on such a strict diet. But it seems like if I’m pretty good about eating mainly veg and gluten-free and then I deviate a meal or two (with pizza or hoity toity supper clubs) — I have no trouble! If I were to go off of it for a week or so, I would probably run into trouble though.

      It’s a weird balance thing. The other week I was doing a lot of high tea-ing and rich food eating and I could tell if I had one more spoonfull of double creme, I would be sick. So I took it easy and was totally fine. I seriously think it’s all down to eating very healthy most of the time. It’s like making healthy calm deposits in your body bank (that sounds ridiculous, but you know what I mean) and that means I have more backup reserves to draw from.

      Sorry for all the long-windedness, CL! I hope that answers your questions though.

      Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving too!



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