Famous Feasts in History Banquet of Earl of Carlisle

About the famous feasts the Banquet of Earl of Carlisle, history, menu, and description.


The Occasion: The Earl of Carlisle gives a banquet, England, C. 1622.

The Host: The 1st Earl of Carlisle, known as "the English Heliogabalus."

The Menu: The earl, who rode a horse shod with silver horseshoes, gave feasts that were planned to please the eye as well as the palate. Silversmiths, decorators, confectioners, and cooks worked for weeks to prepare a meal which was so stunning that no one ate it. It took the guests so long to admire its beauty that finally it grew cold.

Table Talk: The guests were speechless when this first meal--called the antemeal--was cleared off the tables and another hot meal, an exact duplicate of the one removed, was served in its place. Carlisle, who died in 1636, "spent a very jovial life" indeed; it is estimated that he received well over $2 million in compensation from the Crown alone, and yet "he left not a house nor an acre of ground to be remembered by." He gave a lot of parties, though.

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