Old theater food does sound a lot more interesting than hotdogs, pretzels and slimy popcorn. But what’s up with the periwinkles?
The preferred snacks for Tudor theatre-goers appear to have been oysters, crabs, cockles, mussels, periwinkles and whelks, as well as walnuts, hazelnuts, raisins, plums, cherries, dried figs and peaches.
Some clues even suggest that 16th-century fans of William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe also ploughed through vast quantities of elderberry and blackberry pie – and some may even have snacked on sturgeon steaks.
The evidence has emerged from the most detailed study ever carried out on a Tudor or early Stuart playhouse. Archaeologists have been analysing the thousands of seeds, pips, stones, nutshell fragments, shellfish remains and fish and animal bones found on the site of the Rose Playhouse on London’s South Bank.