Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds My name is Vicki Cooke. And I am the keeper of the kitchen garden here at Hampton Court Palace. And we’re sitting in a recreation of a head gardener’s office in the kitchen garden. My role in creating the garden was to come up with a planting plan for all of the vegetables, particularly looking at heirloom types and things that would have been around in the 18th century, which is the period that this garden is trying to recreate. So this garden was originally built in 1689, which is when William and Mary came to the throne. And they made Hampton Court Palace their principal residence.
Skip to 0 minutes and 38 seconds And being that they were going to spend a lot of time here, they wanted to have a kitchen garden on site that would provide them with all of the fresh vegetables and fruit for the table. So in the 18th century, they were growing a lot of what we’d recognise now in a kitchen garden. In fact, all the vegetables from the new world were already here and were becoming established by that time. So things like potatoes and tomatoes, they were being grown. They were being eaten with a bit of suspicion in some quarters. But things like runner beans and French beans, they were sort of a well-established part of the diet by that time.
Skip to 1 minute and 13 seconds So, yeah, I think it would have looked quite familiar to anyone gardening today. So there are quite a few things that maybe aren’t familiar to gardeners today. We grow things like hartshorn and scurvy grass. We’ve got Alexanders, salad burnet, purslane, corn salads. These are things that were really popular back in the 18th century and would have been used as an ingredient in many of the salad dishes of the day. There’s a great quote by the head gardener to King James II who said, a salad should consist of no less than 35 ingredients. So they really were pushing the boat out with what you could combine in a salad.
Skip to 1 minute and 50 seconds They’re eating things like rocket and radicchio and basil, things that we think of as being quite modern additions, you know sort of like Italian imports we’ve only just come across. But actually they were very popular even back in the 18th century. Now that packaging has caught up, it’s like sort of 20 years ago suddenly you can buy a bagged salad. So you can get now this sort of fresh leaves. But there was this huge gap where unless you had a garden, you weren’t able to get this sort of very fresh, just picked that day sort of produce.
The new Royal Kitchen Garden
In this video, Vicki Cooke, Keeper of the Royal Kitchen Garden at Hampton Court Palace, shows us the garden that was recreated in 2014, based on William and Mary’s original design.
Vicki talks about how a salad might be expected to consist of up to 35 ingredients, and we have featured below one of her favourite of these ‘grand salad’ recipes for you to explore. Although this recipe only calls for 19 distinct ingredients (not including the garnishes and decorations), it does ask the cook to make a castle centre-piece from a turnip, which should be adapted to reflect the season it is being served in! Certainly not a recipe for the time-poor.
You can view a PDF of the ingredients and processes for making a Grand ‘Sallad’ for the Spring. Previous learners also provided the below links to offer even more information on the Grand ‘Sallad’, and what it would have looked like:
‘Food History Jottings’ is a food blog that contains some wonderful re-creations of grand salads.
The ‘Hearth to Hearth Sallets’ article offers more on the history of ‘sallets’.
© University of Reading and Historic Royal Palaces.