Shakespeare’s plays are full of food and drink quotes. As usual with Shakespeare, he uses such everyday things to characterise the people who populate the world of his plays. He also uses food and drink as metaphors to create accurate impressions of the times he lived in. No Sweat Shakespeare has browsed through the plays to delight you with the top 20 Shakespeare quotes on food and drink.

Do you think because you are virtuous, that there shall be no more cakes and ale?

Twelfth Night: Act 2, Scene 3

Good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be well used.

Othello: Act 2, Scene 3

I would give all my fame for a pot of ale.

Henry V: Act 3, Scene 2

Truly, thou art damned like an ill-roasted egg, all on one side.

As You Like It: Act 3, Scene 2

Why, sir, for my part I say the gentleman had drunk himself out of his five senses.

The Merry Wives Of Windsor: Act 1, Scene 1

Eight wild boars roasted whole at breakfast, but twelve persons there.

Antony and Cleopatra: Act 2, Scene 1

Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers.

Romeo and Juliet: Act 4, Scene 2

I am a great eater of beefd and I believe that does harm to my wit.

Twelfth Night: Act 1, Scene 3

He hath eaten me out of house and home; he hath put all my substance into that fat belly of his.

Henry IV Part 1: Act 2, Scene 1

Drink sir, is a great provoker of three things….nose-painting, sleep and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes the desire but takes away the performance.

Macbeth: Act 2, Scene 3

O, he is as tedious as a tired horse, a railing wife; worse than a smokey house: I had rather live with cheese and garlic in a windmil, far, than than feed on cates and have him talk to me in any summer-house in Christendom.

Henry IV Part 1: Act 3, Scene 1

Unquiet meals make ill digestions.

The Comedy Of Errors: Act 5, Scene 1

My lord of Ely, when I was last in Holborn I saw good strawberries in your garden there; I do beseech you send for some of them.

Richard III: Act 3, Scene 4

And, most dear actors, eat no onions or garlic, for we are to utter sweet breath; and I do not doubt but to hear them say, it is a sweet comedy. No more words: Away! Go, away!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Act 4, Scene 2

A’ shall answer it. Some pigeons, Davy, a couple of short-legged hens, a joint of mutton, and any pretty little tiny kickshaws, tell William cook.

Henry IV Part 2: Act 5, Scene 1

Mine eyes smell onions; I shall weep anon.

All’s Well That Ends Well: Act 5, Scene 3

They call for dates and quinces in the pastry.

Romeo and Juliet: Act 4, Scene 4

A man cannot make him laugh – but that’s no marvel; he drinks no wine.

Henry IV Part 2: Act 2, Scene 4

I pray you, do not fall in love with me, For I am falser than vows made in wine.

As You Like It: Act 3, Scene 5

O thou invisible spirit of wine! If thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil!

Othello: Act 2, Scene 3

painting of an elizabethan feast

Painting of an elizabethan feast

What do you think of these Shakespeare quotes on food and drink – any that we’re missing? Let us know in the comments section below.

15 replies
    • Sven Diamond
      Sven Diamond says:

      Or, Peter, you could maybe do that bit of homework yourself, instead of making a ‘cavil on the ninth part of a hair’ . I’ll let you discover which character said that on your own shall I? :-)

  1. rose
    rose says:

    thanks for the info, i have to write an essay! I’m only 12, I shouldn’t have to spend my entire weekend writing it.

    • Martin
      Martin says:

      I wrote a book to make Shakespeare fun and accessible called ‘To Be Or Not To Be, Innit. A Yoof-Speak Guide to Shakespeare. It became an unexpected best-seller.

  2. Sarah Stillion
    Sarah Stillion says:

    Several of those quotes are attributed to the wrong play.
    Drink sir, is the provoker of three things…. is from Macbeth the Porter says it.
    And most, dear actors, let us eat no onions or garlic… is from Midsummer and Bottom says it.
    My lord of Ely… is from Richard III said by Richard.
    I suspect one or two more are incorrect, but those are the ones that I know.

  3. Max Wilson
    Max Wilson says:

    Henry V I.1
    Bishop is Ely:
    “The strawberry grows underneath the nettle,
    And wholesome berries thrive and ripen best
    Neighbor’d by fruit of baser quality”

    I suspect there is a connection to the RIC III bit where the Bishop of Ely (again) is praised for his strawberries. Do strawberries grow particularly well in Ely?


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