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A Spicy Caribbean Stew Is Queen Elizabeth’s New Food Obsession, Royal Chef Says

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Most of us assume that Queen Elizabeth has a fairly modest and, well, bland menu when it comes to her daily meals. Former palace chef Darren McGrady revealed a lot about her majesty’s eating habits in his book, Eating Royally: Recipes and Remembrances From a Palace Kitchen ($39.90, Amazon). 

Along with a fondness for slices of chocolate cake and simple breakfast cereals, McGrady claimed the Queen isn’t too picky about most foods — except when it came to onions and garlic, the latter of which he said was strictly forbidden from all meals. He didn’t elaborate much on the reason, but we can only assume the royals don’t want to end up greeting important guests with garlic breath.

Apparently, Elizabeth has recently made an exception for both of the notoriously pungent ingredients after tasting a popular Caribbean dish called callaloo. In the newly released documentary Queen of the World, her current head chef, Mark Flanagan, discusses how the royal has taken a liking to the leafy green stew. As it so happens, a group of Caribbean visitors whipped it up with several of their traditional dishes to give the queen “a little idea of what we eat at home.” 

Flanagan explains that “the callaloo soup was an absolute sensation. I had email after email telling me that it must now feature more regularly.” The name comes from the stew’s main ingredient of callaloo leaves, or taro leaves, but you can use spinach if those aren’t available in your area. Other ingredients include spicy peppers, tons of garlic, half an onion, and two whole crabs. Shellfish is another food that the royals have traditionally shunned in the past due to its reputation for causing food poisoning, making the whole meal a surprising favorite for the monarch.

It seems Elizabeth’s taste buds have grown more adventurous, which we don’t blame after so many decades on the stodgy throne. Maybe she’s embracing more of a “why not?” attitude in her golden years. Whatever the case may be, we can’t wait to see what other fun tidbits we’ll learn about her and the rest of the royal family when HBO airs the documentary stateside on October 1!

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