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King George III’s Taste for Kebabs Shown in Essex University Data

Turkish kebabs have been revealed as an unexpected royal favourite dish by an academic study.

Detailed analysis involving the University of Essex looked at food eaten by kings including George III and his son, the Prince Regent, George IV.

It resulted in a database of 43,000 dishes served in royal households between 1788 and 1813.

Dr Lisa Smith, of the university, said the royals were late adopters of kebabs.

They were the surprise dish alongside a top five of chicken broth, sweet tarts, roast capon, roast mutton and asparagus.

“Turkish kebabs might seem unexpected but they are part of a group of foods enjoyed by the kings and their households that demonstrate the impact of the British Empire, travel, and trade on eating habits,” said Dr Smith, co-author of the study, which also involved Leeds Beckett University, the University of Birmingham and University College London.

“If anything, it is quite late to see them at the royal table as recipes had already been in circulation since the 1750s.”

The researchers used data from two kitchen ledgers from Kew Palace and Carlton House that detail the daily food allocations of every table in the two palaces.

They found George III’s favourite dish was chicken broth, whereas George IV favoured richer food including deep-fried cream and potatoes with chicken, a forerunner of chicken and chips.

Dr Smith, of the university’s School of Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies, worked alongside Dr Rachel Rich, Dr Sarah Fox and Dr Adam Crymble while undertaking the analysis, with their findings being published in the Food & History journal.

Dr Smith added: “Our project looks at the royal table as a key location for nation-building at a time when Britishness was being defined.

“And crucially, the absence of certain foods, such as curry, can tell us as much about British food and changing tastes as the King’s occasional taste for kebabs.”

Source : BBC