Henry VIII

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“Happy New Year someone said, and then the bottle hit my head, it was a dream of all things past, the end of a year that could not last. Dreaming of losing holiday weight, from all the fine wine and food like Henry the Eighth. When I awoke I found myself still here, so all is well and full of good cheer, Happy New Year.”

Once upon a time you belonged to special clubs and no one thought about diets, just good food and lots of fine wine. Such were the courts of Europe where people indulged themselves on food and drink. Henry VIII had an appetite that inspired those in his court circles to eat everything in sight. Stuffing their palates followed by vast amounts of vintage wine.

Interestingly enough, Henry VIII was once a thin young man and well-bred in the English Court, where pheasant was generally the main dish, followed by a stuffed goose or two, freshly plucked game hens, fish stuffed with caviar, and all sorts of goodies culled from the kitchen.

The result of being master of the house was to eat every thing on your plate, with nary a bite left. So, thin little Henry soon learned that by the time he reached manhood he was required to eat everything on his plate, and so he did. As the perpetual ritual of dining (which was in reality stuffing oneself) went on and on, little Henry grew and grew and grew! In actuality he preferred veggies fresh from the palace gardens and did not care for rich foods or wine. That soon changed!

As he became older and socialized and dined at other palaces, he would find platters of foods that in order to be polite, he had to eat. Thus he ate to keep up with his plump hosts, or keeping up with his own guests, resulting in now becoming a rotund man. His clothing was constantly being re-made to fit his now growing physique and as his wardrobe was made of the finest silk satins and brocades, when he now tended to get a bit sloppy, well it was another new wardrobe fitting.

It is difficult to imagine that Henry VIII was once a thin person, forced by his tutors to eat all the succulent meats, etc., and leave the potatoes for the help. He no longer liked salads from the palace gardens and could not get enough sweets. It’s no wonder he grew up with bulges in all the wrong places. He loved creamed lamb dishes and stuffed beef roasts, barbecued beef, and dishes with hams and poulettes, pigeons stuffed with truffles. Whipped cream atop a dish of chocolate was his favorite desert. The rich dark sauces were his gradual undoing.

They say he could not resist chocolates and would hide them in his bed and under his pillows. It is said he died with a smile on his face that could not be erased, with just a smudge of chocolate on his lips.

“So now that we’ve gathered ‘round the tree, drinking mulled cider and eggnogs with glee. After feasting on turkey and stuffed roast beef, caviar toast points, escargot, and brie. Fruit cakes and chocolate bark, pies, cakes, and whipped cream. Our New Year resolution, one we all hate, which never occurred to King Henry the Eighth. Lose some weight!”

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