Nothing says winter like getting everyone together for a little party indoors. But when that means providing the food and drink, it can be hard to want to step up to the plate. But we have good news: pleasing your guests does not have to be such a complex affair!
In fact, sometimes the greatest of edible pleasures require the simplest ingredients (and easiest prep – need we say more!). And few things are tastier and easier to prepare than a dip.
These dips are seasonally friendly with all your favorite winter-friendly flavors.
1. Root Vegetable Ranch Dip
All of the winter roots came to play in this dip: roasted carrots, parsnips, and turnips only need a dash of olive oil and salt along with that ranchy zest and a creamy base to bring out their best.
INGREDIENTS 1 container sour cream (16 ounces) 1 packet (1 ounce) Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dips Mix 4 medium carrots, roasted with salt 2 parsnips, roasted with salt 1 turnip, roasted with salt
DIRECTIONS Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Once your carrots, parsnips, and turnips are washed and sliced, toss them with olive oil and salt before cooking for 30 mins. While they soften up, combine the ranch dip mix with sour cream. Once the veggies have cooked and cooled, dice them up and mix with the ranchy sour cream thoroughly.
2. Pumpkin Ranch
The cold months are pumpkin season all across culinary culture. But even if you love pumpkin, let’s face it — we’re all a bit tired off of pumpkin pies and pumpkin spice lattes. But add pumpkin and a dash of garlic to a creamy ranch base, and it’ll be your favorite seasonal special all over again.
INGREDIENTS 1 container sour cream (16 ounces) 1 packet (1 ounce) Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dips Mix 15 ounces pumpkin puree 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1-2 teaspoons salt
DIRECTIONS Ready to be done? You’re already almost there. Start by baking a clove of garlic for confit. While that cooks, blend the ranch mix with sour cream, then blend one can of pumpkin puree into the ranch sour cream mixture. Once cooked and cooled, add the confit into the mix to taste, along with 1-2 teaspoons of salt.
3. Mashed Cauliflower Dip
Just like mashed potatoes, except far healthier and with even more of a flavor punch – this ultra cheesy, equal parts chunky and smooth cauliflower dip is going to be a winner.
INGREDIENTS 1 packet (1 ounce) Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dips Mix 1 container sour cream (16 ounces) 1 head cauliflower Fresh chives, chopped 3/4 cup gruyère cheese
DIRECTIONS Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Wash and slice cauliflower, toss with olive oil, and put in the oven on a sheet to bake for 30-45 minutes (until tender and light, golden brown). Blend in a food processor until cauliflower has formed smaller chunks, but stop before it’s pureed. While cooling, melt 3/4 cup gruyère cheese in the microwave. Remove melted cheese from microwave, let cool, and then blend with the ranch sour cream mixture, followed by the cauliflower and then diced chives.
40 Eating Habits Followed By the Royal Family
Virtually every aspect of Royal family life is laden with rules and restrictions. Some believe that’s why Meghan and Harry decided to step down as “senior royal members.” However, it seems like the most rules apply to what and how royal figures eat. Also, certain members of the royal family have specific personal eating habits that they adhere to. Here are some of the strangest examples…
Philip Loves Garlic, But Queen Hates It
It is well documented that Queen Elizabeth II can’t stand garlic, with Duchess Camilla having confirmed on MasterChef Australia that the food item is banned from all royal events. “I hate to say this, but garlic,” she said. “Garlic is a no-no.”
However, her husband tends to have a very different feeling toward garlic. Philip can’t get enough of it. Chef Darren McGrady said the following: “We’d actually put a little bit of garlic in [the food] for Prince Philip.”
Kate Loves Bacon on Her Pizza
Another royal figure who likes a bit of fast food every once in a while is Kate Middleton. Specifically, William’s wife enjoys a slice of pizza from time to time. “I think they’re some of the best things to make, pizzas at home,” Kate said while visiting King Henry’s Walk Garden in January 2019.
“It’s such fun, you can choose what you can put on them – all the different toppings.” Apparently, the Duchess of Cambridge adores putting bacon on her pizza, “or some other meat.”
The Queen Eats Out of Tupperware?
Most of the time, The Queen does enjoy her meals out of solid gold or diamond-encrusted plates. However, Darren McGrady has gone on record saying that there have been times when Elizabeth II likes to keep things a bit simpler.
“At Balmoral she’d eat fruit from a plastic yellow Tupperware container,” he said. Moreover, it is believed that she even eats corn flakes out of a plastic container from time to time. However, she will always have a cup of Darjeeling on the side.
It’s Polite to Swap Meals With Royals
One of the weirder traditions that have emerged from the royal family came from Prince Philip. According to Darren McGrady, The Queen’s husband went into the kitchen one evening and asked what he was cooking.
When McGrady told him he was cooking chops for him and the staff, Philip asked if they could swap them for the dishes he and the family were eating. “I ended up giving him these big meatier pieces, and the staff had the other pieces,” he said.
William & Harry Love Fast Food
While you’d normally associate a prince’s diet with only the best dishes and the perfect balance of healthy and gourmet, Prince William and Prince Harry have been known to do things a little differently from time to time.
Even The Queen’s grandsons enjoy fast food, every once in a while. Although chef Darren McGrady insisted on making burgers for them, their late mother Diana told him that she was taking them out one day to have lunch at McDonald’s.
The Queen Prefers Her Steak Well Done
It’s difficult to imagine The Queen feasting on a large steak but this has certainly happened many times. In January 2020, Darren McGrady revealed that while Elizabeth II likes steak, she doesn’t eat it rare.
“One of the things that really amazed me was that The Queen actually likes her meat well done and chefs, we cook medium-rare all the time,” he said. “It was really, really important that we got a really good sear on the steaks and cooked her steaks well done.”
The Queen Doesn’t Do Pasta
Apparently, The Queen is vehemently against having any pasta dishes. She also feels the same way for rice and potatoes, which suggests that she just isn’t a carbs person. This never boded well for Meghan Markle, who absolutely adores pasta.
In fact, she is believed to slow-cook zucchini, before turning it into a delicious pasta sauce. “The sauce gets so creamy, you’d swear there’s tons of butter and oil in it, but it’s just zucchini, water, and a little bouillon,” Meghan said.
Meghan & Kate Both Had Pre-Wedding Diets
One thing that Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton have in common is that they both adopted strict diets in time for their respective weddings. The former Suits star used the same diet she lived by when she was filming the popular TV series.
Apparently, she tried to eat vegan throughout the week, while adding some flexibility at the weekend, treating herself with ice cream and fries. As for Kate, she reportedly had lots of protein and minimal carbs.
No Lipstick Stains
While royal figures such as The Queen and Kate Middleton are well within their rights to wear lipstick, they are under strict guidance not to make a mess of the glasses they drink from. By that, we mean that they must not smother their glasses and teacups with lipstick.
Of course, this is unavoidable at times. In order to limit the damage, royals are expected to lightly sip at the same spot in order to ensure that the entire rim isn’t covered in lipstick.
William’s Strange Relationship With Spicy Food
Seeing that he is a British prince, it makes sense that William has had his fair share of Indian food over the years. Apparently, he was overheard at a London event speaking about how excited he was to try out some food during an upcoming trip to Pakistan.
However, he can only tolerate medium amounts of spice. “Me and heat, not so good,” he said. Despite this, Kate has since admitted that she doesn’t mind her curry being spicy. In fact, she encourages it.
Meghan Loves Roast Chicken, & For a Good Reason
One dish that Meghan can’t wait to cook again now that she is no longer a senior royal figure is roast chicken. There is a specific recipe that she learned from Ina Garten.
In fact, it is believed that Markle cooked the dish the very night that Prince Harry got down on one knee and asked for her hand in marriage. “Without me, it never would have happened,” Garten jokingly said. “Isn’t that a wonderful story? How powerful is that?”
Philip Is the Most Adventurous Eater
Prince Philip has certainly tasted his fair share of exotic foods over the years. Many experts believe the Duke of Edinburgh is by far the most adventurous eater in all the Royal family. Not only does he get cooks to smuggle garlic into his food, but Philip also has a fervent love for truffles.
Over a decade ago, The Queen’s husband planted truffle spores on the grounds of Sandringham estate and has been enjoying the fruits of his labor ever since.
Shellfish Is a Big No-No
There are a number of foods that are frowned upon in the royal circles. While The Queen is opposed to carbs being served, in general, she also orders the chef to refrain from serving any form of shellfish.
Officials agree that shellfish can easily lead to food poisoning and the royal family’s health is in their best interests. This is something that Meghan Markle will be relieved about after stepping down as a “senior royal.”
Kate & William Both Like Cooking
While some partners might take the reigns when it comes to cooking, both William and Kate seem to enjoy getting their hands dirty in the kitchen. Kate really enjoys teaching her children how to cook.
She told Mary Berry that she uses cooking as a way to teach her kids creativity and independence. Kate also shared that William is best at making breakfast, but also admitted that he cooked a lot more during their time at university together.
Dark Chocolate Is The Queen’s Favorite
Is it that surprising that The Queen likes chocolate? Surely it would be weirder if she didn’t like it. However, what many might not realize is that dark chocolate is actually Elizabeth II’s very favorite food item. According to Darren McGrady, The Queen always selects the chocolate option whenever it’s time for dessert.
“Anything on the menu that had chocolate, she’d choose, especially chocolate perfection pie,” he said. Apparently, the darker the chocolate, the better.
The Napkin Rule
Another item at the dining table that has a specific rule of how to use it is the napkin. Whenever members of the royal family are sitting together to eat, they are expected to fold their napkins in half.
Then, when they need to use them, they will use the part that is inside the fold to wipe excess food away from their faces. This ensures that their formal attire isn’t stained. Using the inside fold also prevents the napkin from looking too dirty.
Kate Has a Favorite Dessert
The Queen isn’t the only royal family member who has a sweet tooth. In fact, it seems to be promoted to enjoy sweet things at Buckingham Palace. Kate Middleton is another lover of desserts and Darren McGrady claims that her very favorite is sticky toffee pudding, which is a British classic.
The royal version of the dessert has dates instead of apricots and is covered in a Muscovado sugary sauce. Kate has loved it ever since marrying William.
The Queen’s Dogs Eat Gourmet
Is it really that surprising? If royal family members eat only the best food, then surely royal dogs would as well, right? Apparently, The Queen’s beloved corgis eat food prepared by a chef. According to the book Pets by Royal Appointment, the corgis are fed at 5pm, eating either chicken breast or a filet of steak.
A daily dog menu is typed up for the kitchen to prepare and a footman hand-delivers the food to the corgis. Sometimes, The Queen pours gravy over the food herself.
No Tap Water
It is not exactly an eating habit, but it is a rule that pertains to what the royal family can and cannot consume – so it counts. Basically, whenever members of the royal family are traveling, they are not allowed to drink tap water. The reason for this is pretty simple.
During royal tour duties, there is no allocated time for royal figures to recover from illnesses. Therefore, The Queen and her family members only drink bottled water.
Prince Edward’s Unique Cake-Cutting Method
One royal figure who doesn’t quite get the sort of media attention that his relatives get is Prince Edward. However, it was important that we included this detail about him on this list.
In 2019, The Queen’s youngest son showed off his strange cake cutting technique to a community in Northern Ireland. Instead of cutting a piece of cake, the Earl of Wessex impaled the cake with a knife, similar to the way one would gut a fish.
Princess Diana’s Strict Diet
Many people out there are aware of the health issues that the late Princess Diana dealt with over the years. For this reason, she had an extremely strict diet. Darren McGrady claims that he’d make her fat-free dishes and fellow guests were convinced that she was eating the same thing as they were.
Apparently, Diana told him to take away all red meats and to serve dishes such as stuffed bell peppers and stuffed eggplant. It is also believed that she was a huge fan of fish.
A Simple Breakfast Is Promoted
It is widely believed that The Queen has pretty much kept her breakfast routine the same over the years. Many would feel like English Breakfast Tea and corn flakes aren’t enough to start the day. Not The Queen though. And it seems like the “simple breakfast” mantra has also influenced other royal family members.
During a visit to a London nursery in January 2020, Kate Middleton revealed that she prepares a pretty simple breakfast for her three kids every morning, giving them “apples and cereal.”
Charlotte’s Favorite Things
It makes sense that William and Kate’s kids get a well-balanced, varied diet. However, it seems like there is a lot of information out there surrounding specifically what Princess Charlotte enjoys to eat. Kate revealed that her little girl’s favorite thing to eat is olives. “[She] loves olives,” she said.
That’s not all though. Kate also explained that the family grows their own vegetables. “We’ve got carrots, beans, beetroot — a massive favorite,” she said. Charlotte is a big fan of potatoes.
The Queen Always Has to Approve the Menu
Unsurprisingly, the royal family has a dining menu. However, the most shocking part of that is that The Queen always has to approve what stays and what goes from it. According to Darren McGrady, the kitchen provides a pre-assorted selection, which Her Majesty would choose her most-preferred dishes from.
“The book would come back to the kitchen and we’d prepare them,” he said. “The Queen’s menus are done three or more days ahead and she sticks with them religiously.”
So Much Tea Etiquette
Unsurprisingly, the royal family has a very strict etiquette when it comes to tea. The Queen and all of her closest relatives are supposed to have tea poured first into their afternoon cup, followed by milk. Also, whoever is preparing the brew can’t touch the sides while stirring and slurping is forbidden.
Moreover, royal figures must hold their teacups with the forefinger, with the thumb resting against the top of the handle. Prince Charles specifically likes his tea made with loose leaves in a teapot.
The Palace Always Has Mangoes
Another former chef who worked at the palace, John Higgins, claims that The Queen is a huge fan of mangoes. So much was the case that she requested to have mangoes stored at all times. “The Queen really enjoyed mangoes,” he told The National Post.
“She could tell you how many mangoes were in the fridge at Buckingham Palace.” There is a chance that Elizabeth II may have developed a love for mangoes from her trips to East India and Myanmar.
Rules Only Apply in the Palace
While there is a general code of how to eat wherever you are as a royal figure, most of these rules only apply when you are eating within the confines of a royal building.
This is mainly down to practicality reasons. The royal administration would struggle to maintain all of these rules outside of the palace. The Queen and the rest of the royal family are more lenient in public out of sheer courtesy.
No Eating at Non-Royal Events
It is believed that members of the royal family are not allowed to accept food offers at events that are not royally-sanctioned. If you see a photo of a royal figure eating in public, it’s most likely a royal event. On the flip side, if they are offered nibbles at a royal event, they must accept.
This rule is purely for security reasons so that no royal figure is poisoned. This means that The Queen and company can go an entire day without being fed.
There Are Never 13 Guests
While The Queen has never been one to be superstitious, there is one important rule that seems even irrational by her standards. She is very specific about how many guests are in attendance at her dinner parties. Apparently, the number of people at the dining table has to be either less or more than 13.
But it can never be that specific number. The reason for this is that she knows of the number’s connotations in various cultures and often hosts guests from around the world.
Prince Charles Loves Organic Food
Due to Prince Charles’s love of the environment and a passion for healthy living, he seemed to be responsible for introducing organic food to the royal family. According to chef Darren McGrady though, Prince Philip wasn’t too keen on the idea, at first.
When he first saw that his son had brought home a hamper of organic goods to the royal kitchen, he simply shook his head and stormed out. These days though, The Queen and Prince Philip love living healthily, eating plenty of local fish and vegetables.
There Is a Seating Formula
Unsurprisingly, every little detail about dinner seating is meticulously thought-out. The Office of the Marshal of the Court is the team solely dedicated to ensuring that all royal figures are sat exactly where they are supposed to.
When the entire family is sat and ready to eat, they also need to be careful about who they speak to. The Queen only speaks to the person on her right until the second course is served. Then she speaks to the person on her left.
Of course, an article about royal eating habits wouldn’t be the same without some traditional manners that are still maintained today. Royal family members will never eat with their hands at a palace dinner. Moreover, they will always keep their mouths closed while chewing their food.
Royals also have a way of holding utensils, with forks going in the left hand and knives going in the right. They are also encouraged to scoop food with their knives onto the backs of their forks.
The Queen Can Pause the Kitchen
This applies to virtually any setting that involves The Queen. Basically, whenever Elizabeth II enters the kitchen, whatever the reason might be, all staff members must halt and stop whatever they were doing.
Whether they have just started cooking or if it is moments before the dinner – chefs, cooks and cleaners alike must stop in their tracks and pay respect to The Queen. Only when she leaves can staff resume preparations, which has often led to devastating consequences.
The Order of Precedence
One of the most “royal” rules that applies to dining revolves around the Order of Precedence. This basically concerns where you are in line to the throne, which means that Meghan and Harry were always two of the last people to enter the room.
Although this will also apply to them whenever they return for royal dinners, they will not have to deal with this as often now that they have relocated to the United States.
Strict Dress Codes, Always
A typical royal feast requires the highest standard when it comes to clothing. When The Queen is in attendance, everyone must be dressed in their very best. Cleavage is a big no-no and modesty is the name of the fashion game.
“They’d come down in dressy ball gowns, and sit at the table—like a Downton Abbey dinner,” Darren McGrady said. However, the chef did once mistake Prince Philip for a gardener, based on the way he was dressed.
Time Is of the Essence
Many of us will trick certain family members into coming earlier in order to stop people from waiting. This is also a trick that Charles and the rest of the family abide by. They even used to do it for The Queen Mother. “Dinner was at 8:30 in Balmoral when Her Majesty the Queen Mother was in attendance,” Darren McGrady said.
“They used to tell her that dinner was at 8:15, and she’d be the last one down. They told everyone else 8:30 because they knew she’d be late.”
They Like to Stay in Season
Not only are the royal family passionate about organic foods these days, but they also like to eat whatever’s in season. Darren McGrady can vouch for that. “You can send strawberries every day to the Queen during summer at Balmoral [Castle] and she’ll never say a word,” he said.
According to the chef, The Queen takes the farm-to-table sentiment seriously all year round. If strawberries are on the menu in January, she won’t hesitate to cross it out.
The Queen Eats Small Portions
Another eating habit that is frowned upon in royal settings is to eat a lot at any given time. The Queen will never be seen wolfing down a full plate of food. Instead, she tends to eat relatively small portions of whatever she orders from the kitchen.
As a result, she tends to have four smaller meals per day as opposed to three big ones, which a lot of people do. However, when it comes to chocolate, Elizabeth II is known to make an exception.
Signs That They Have Finished
Royal figures can give subtle hints that they have finished their dinner. While a royal family member simply has to say “excuse me” to get up and go to the bathroom, the same can’t be said if they are done completely.
In this case, one must cross their fork and knife on their plate, otherwise, the meal is still in play. If they want to communicate this to the staff, they simply have to point the utensil handles at the bottom right of the plate.
No One’s Done Until The Queen’s Done
Ultimately, none of those signs really mean anything unless The Queen has finished her meal and is happy to leave the dining table.
It is considered to be extremely rude to leave dinner before The Queen has finished her food. While she has been known to be lenient on that rule from time to time, it is generally enforced. There is one key sign that The Queen has definitely finished her dinner and that is if she puts her purse on the table.