Welcome to Episode #002 of That Shakespeare Life, the podcast that takes you behind the curtain and into the life of William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare’s daily diet might have varied a great deal from what you and I eat in a typical day, but those differences didn’t stop Francine Segan from trying out the many foods we find in Shakespeare’s plays. Francine Sega is a noted food historian, writer, public speaker, and author. In addition to writing Shakespeare’s Kitchen: Renaissance Recipes for the Contemporary Cook, Francine is a James Beard-nominated author of six books including Dolci: Italy’s Sweets, Pasta Modern, and Shakespeare’s Kitchen. She is the host on New York City’s popular weekly TV series “Americans who Love Italy” and appears on many other TV programs, including Today Show and Early Show. Francine has been featured on specials for PBS, Food Network, History, Sundance and Discovery channels. Francine Segan is a frequently consulted expert and has been quoted in newspapers and magazines including the New York Times, USA Today, L.A. Times, and Chicago Tribune.

She joins us today to discuss food in the 17th century exploring what Shakespeare might have ate and drank during his life in turn of the century London nearly 500 years ago.

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Francine Segan lectures across the country, was a food judge for the Fancy Food Show, Baccardi Cocktail competition and the International Pesto Competition. Ms. Segan writes for numerous online publications and magazines including Epicurious and Saveur. She writes extensively on chocolate and authored several chapters in Rutgers University’s catalogue Bitter Sweet: The Chocolate Show and contributed the chapter “Italian Desserts” for the Oxford Encyclopedia of Sweets. She also recently wrote a twelve-page cover feature on Italian chocolate desserts for La CucinaItaliana magazine. Learn more about Francine and her work here.

Inside this episode, I ask Francine about:

  • The source of these recipes and how we know what people were cooking in the 16th century
  • Peacocks, plumes, and other feathered recipes found in Elizabethan England
  • Ale, Drinks, and Beverages
  • the surprising significance of spices in cooking, and the one ingredient you may want to skip when you try these at home!

Books Francine Recommends:

A Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King
Room by Emma Donahue

 

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And remember: In order to really know William Shakespeare, you have to go behind the curtain, and into That Shakespeare Life. 

What’s Inside:

  • Francine Segan has donated a recipe from her book to our patrons! You can download that inside the detailed show notes.
  • See a video of Francine cooking one of the authentic recipes from her book. 
  • Check up on Francine’s latest project with links to her and her work
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Francine’s Latest Project:

Francine is on her way back to Italy, touring some of the countryside there as research for her next book on Italian food. You can follow Francine at her website, www.francinesegan.com, to see when one of her tours or presentations will be happening in your area. If you’re interested in food, recipes, and history, you can find all of Francine’s books listed here.

Francine in Action:

Click the link below to direct-download (no subscription neccessary!) the gift from Francine Segan. It’s a sample recipe direct from her newest cookbook, Shakespeare’s Kitchen. 

Salmon in Pastry Francine Segan
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