With thanks to Jo Rothery for the words and Arundel Museum for the photos
The aroma of a soup flavoured with herbs from Roman times is making visitors’ mouths water at Arundel Museum today. And there are plenty of people eager to taste it, accompanied by a piece of spelt bread – and to tuck into the apricot hors d’oeuvres and date sauce.
Our ancestors may not have had the incredible array of produce we can choose from today, but A Taste of the Past certainly opens up one’s eyes to the fact they made the most of what was available to them.
The exhibition and tasting session follows ordinary folks’ diets from Roman times right up to the second world war. From the Elizabethan era there’s a tasty medieval pottage, with Elizabethan apples for those with a sweet tooth.
The tables devoted to the second world war are fascinating, and include a marvellous comic menu for an ARP Christmas dinner, hand-drawn by members of Arundel’s Air Raid Precaution Unit.
An intriguing dish there for everyone to taste is a Walton Pie. This was devised by Lord Walton, who lived in Walberton and was the wartime minister of food. He cooked up a recipe for a pie similar to a sheperd’s pie but made with mainly vegetables and very little meat which was in short supply in those days.
Bread pudding was another wartime favourite, and visitors could even dip into a jar of wartime toffee.
While the Roman dishes were served up by an appropriately-clad ‘slave’, there was an elegant touch to the Victorian afternoon tea thanks to a very stylish young lady who had made her own costume as part of her A-level textiles studies.
The teatime treats included finger sandwiches filled cream cheese and cucumber or pineapple and walnut, as well as yummy traditional Yorkshire parkin.
More details about Arundel Museum including upcoming events and opening times can be found on their website: www.arundelmuseum.org or by calling 01903 885866.