Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in 1952, saying, “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”—and she was able to do just that for the next seven decades.
While our friends in England (including all territories everywhere) continue to mourn, we sit across the pond, helpless. Mourning with them. Not exactly knowing how to bring comfort or how to honor her life and help the world remember all that she’s done.
But food. Food is a love language. It’s the first thing we think of when a friend or family member experiences a tremendous loss. It’s how we show we care. It’s how we share a bit of comfort with those who are hurting.
And so, we’ve decided to honor and remember Her Majesty by sharing with you some of her favorite foods, beloved memories of her around a table, and the events that brought Queen Elizabeth comfort and happiness in life. These celebratory dishes may not be as extravagant as you may have suspected–in fact, most are dishes you can enjoy at home.
What was Queen Elizabeth’s favorite food?
As a young girl, Princess Elizabeth’s favorite food was jam pennies–tiny, crustless sandwiches made with white bread, strawberry jam, and butter. The affinity for these little finger sandwiches extended into her adult life and throughout her reign. In fact, one of her former personal chefs declared that the Queen had eaten jam pennies every single day of her life since she was five years old.
At the age of 25, following the passing of her father, King George VI, Princess Elizabeth assumed the crown and began her political and diplomatic career. Over the years, she developed lasting relationships with national leaders and Prime Ministers. One such friendship was with Dwight D. Eisenhower. After their first meeting, they shared regular mail correspondence and a warm friendship for years, the Queen even sharing her personal recipe for griddle scones with him.
What did the Queen eat every day?
Queen Elizabeth started her days simply, most mornings began with a bowl of Special K or a slice of toast with marmalade–although it’s reported that most of the toast went to her four beloved corgis. Occasionally, she would request scrambled eggs topped with smoked salmon and grated truffles. And, breakfast was always served with a pot of Twinings Earl Grey Tea.
Her majesty enjoyed teatime and was a big fan of tea sandwiches, always with the crusts removed. Her favorite filling was smoked salmon and cream cheese.
The Queen also had a fondness for gin, even releasing her own gins made from ingredients from her gardens at Buckingham Palace and Sandringham House. She enjoyed it in a cocktail, such as a martini or a gin and Dubonnet.
When it came time for tea, the Queen had a sweet tooth. She adored her tea cakes and biscuits. And while we don’t know what type of biscuits she preferred, we quite like to imagine that she adored shortbread for its buttery richness and simplicity. Regarding tea cakes, her former chef once said, “chocolate biscuit cake is Her Royal Majesty the Queen’s favorite afternoon tea cake by far.”
A sweet side note–chocolate biscuit cake was also the dessert Prince William chose for the groom’s cake at his wedding, because he enjoyed it so often with his grandmother at teatime.
Dinner at the palace
Dinners were typically a simple affair, unless she was entertaining special guests or hosting an event. The Queen preferred grilled fish or chicken, served simply with vegetables. She generally skipped starches like potatoes, grains, or rice during her evening meal.
Like most people, Her Majesty also loved a great Sunday roast, and American hamburgers made with a dignified twist: she preferred fresh venison burger patties, no bun, and a side of cranberries instead of ketchup.
Her favorite dessert
Her favorite formal dessert was said to be Chocolate Perfection Pie, but she adored anything chocolate. Chocolate Perfection Pie is actually a flan that’s made with a pâte sucrée crust which is loaded with a richly decadent chocolate filling.
A few other favorites
Queen Elizabeth was the hostess of multitude state dinners attended by royalty, sitting and former presidents, emirs, dignitaries, diplomats, and other distinguished guests, and, of course, she was a cherished guest at events across the globe. Through it all, she was the constant epitome of grace under pressure, elegance, and poise, with a bit of clever wit mixed in.
In 2021, the Queen travelled to Cornwall to attend the G7 leaders’ reception at the Eden Project. She was heard to joke with visitors while cutting a cake with a sword, even after being told a knife was available. “Well, this is a bit unusual!”
A surprising revelation is that despite all her official duties, the Queen still had time for hobbies, one of which being collecting pepper grinders. One of her favorite grinders was a gift from a friend. It came from an Italian restaurant and was in the shape of a waiter. When the head was turned to grind pepper, it shrieked with a mock Italian accent: “You’re breaking my neck!” which the Queen is said to have found most amusing.
The Queen also collected good luck charms from her children, including miniature dogs, horses, and family photos, and kept them in her handbag, which was always held close.
Speaking of her handbag–who could forget her delightful, endearing Jubilee tea party with Paddington Bear?
In short, Queen Elizabeth was remarkable. She was likeable, quick-witted, relatable, and well-loved. She adored her family, her country, and her corgis. She is the only monarch 80% of Britons have ever known, and her passing marks the end of an incredible reign. The end of a long life, well lived. A life full of dutiful, heartfelt service to others. This evening, we raise a toast to her memory.
Well done, Your Majesty. May you rest in eternal peace. God Save the King.
The Chocolate Biscuit Cake recipe is featured in this book, “A Royal Cookbook: Seasonal Recipes from Buckingham Palace”, a selection of recipes from Royal Chef Mark Flanagan. I made this recipe for Christmas a few years ago, topped with a white chocolate ganache. It is so simple, but delicious. You can find the recipe here: https://cookingbooksblog.blogspot.com/2014/12/feliz-natal-merry-christmas.html
I have seen the chocolate biscuit cake online entitled, “Duke of Cambridge Cake” after Prince William’s groom’s cake. I made it, although I was a little frightened of the raw egg in the chocolate ganache. I don’t think they have problems with Salmonella in the UK the way we do. It was good, more of a confection really, rather than cake-like.
Chocolate Biscuit Cake is very simple to make, and can be made without the raw egg. Still tastes great, keeps for many days at room temperature (unless it gets super-hot!). There are different styles — using whole biscuits (cookies); using broken biscuits; raw egg; no egg; ganache to bind it together; or ganache on the outside… and so on. It is very similar to “Tiffin,” which is biscuits, nuts, candies, and more suspended in a chocolate and butter and sugar emulsion, pressed into a cake pan, and eaten when cool/solid. YUM! May Her Late Majesty rest in peace.
That sounds great, Ann. Thank you!
That’s interesting, AliceK. Thanks for commenting!
She was also a very serious lover of horses as a rider, breeder and racing.
I want to know what Girdle Scones are. Love the name
Yes, she was, Leslie. Girdle scones are actually the same thing as griddle scones, which are made in a griddle or on the stovetop. They are often referred to as “girdle” in Scotland.
The only way I can imagine the sting of her loss here in the States was the loss of President John F Kennedy, as an American and a young girl I always would imagine the life of Queen Elizabeth would be like a real-to-life Disney movie lol. Always gracious and never missed a beat. She’s with her beloved Phillip, and now it’s the end of an era and a beginning of a new chapter for England.
Giselle, I agree: JFK would the closest for me, too. I was too young to remember it, but I know my family mourned.
I remember seeing the actual assassination. Remember, everything was live back in the day. I was just so taken aback my Mom came over and just covered my eyes and took me from the TV. It’s burned to memory. I can relate to their mourning.
Giselle, wow. I forgot it was live, and the whole country was watching….
Yes, live in real-time.