Princess Margaret has never been forced to be hungry in her life—she has never even been limited to a small selection of food—that is, until she selfishly decides to run away from the palace the night before her father is set to announce whom she would be marrying.
After Princess Margaret leaves the palace, food begins to play an important part in building relationships. Around meals, the atmosphere is a time to connect, learn, and reflect.
Princess Margaret’s first meal outside the palace is with Huntley, a commoner, in a local tavern run by Ackley, a good cook of local foods. Princess Margaret has only had meals served in the palace dining room or that had been brought to her room, so the atmosphere of a tavern, the smells of unfamiliar foods, and even the process of selecting what foods to order from a menu are all new to her. Princess Margaret wants to experience the food that her people eat so when Huntley orders shepherd’s pie, she is surprised and delighted by the smell and taste of the dish.
The food adventures do not end with trying new foods. During the first days at sea, Wes, one of Huntley’s crew members, teaches Princess Margaret how to cook a pot of stew. He shows her how to prepare the meal, how and when to add spices to the stew, and how to taste it as it simmers and cooks—an intimate time between two new friends.
While cooking and having a conversation with Wes, Princess Margaret realizes her people are poor and many must steal food to survive in her father’s kingdom. Cooking time also becomes education time for Princess Margaret, which is ironic because she has been taught by the best tutors, and now by these poor, common fishing men who have had little to no formal education.
In another scene, Huntley offers the chicken-killing job to Princess Margaret since she has expressed that she is strong and can perform labor same as a man. The conversation held as this task is performed teaches Princess Margaret that her people often barter for foods.
Food becomes not simply a form of sustenance for Princess Margaret, but also a time for learning more about the people she will someday lead, and this connection helps her discover her true self.
Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, April!
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