The unlimited voracity of Emperor Charles V in Yuste

He ate a large number of dishes throughout the day and always alone, because of the difficulties he had in doing so due to his prognathism

That Emperor Charles V liked to eat well is beyond doubt. But anyone who thought that because the Monastery of Yuste was retiring, his tastes in food would change is very much mistaken. And that is because his voracity never had any limit.

On one occasion in this blog we also talked about the foods that made up the Emperor Carlos V’s diet and how they reached the Monastery of Yuste. Because eating is something that he always liked, and without any qualms. Therefore, despite his retirement to a monastery, this hobby was not going to diminish.

The day-to-day life of the emperor

Thus, in the morning, before getting up, he would take a bowl of milk soup with bread prepared with sugar and spices. Once his appetite was satisfied, he would sleep for another while. Then at midday, he would eat a large number of dishes -up to 20, some of his chroniclers go so far as to say- and then eat another meal at Vespers. In the evening, he would eat a copious amount of anchovies and other delicacies with a strong flavour, which he enjoyed to excess.

Monasterio de Yuste.

An intake that would satisfy anyone, but not a person like Emperor Charles V. What was going on? Such voracity forced his chefs to use their imagination to invent rich and highly seasoned dishes to surprise and please him. In this respect, William Prescott -one of his great historians- tells us the following: «One day, his Maître d’hotel, perplexed, told his discontented master, knowing his passion for watchmaking, that he did not really know what to do, unless he wanted him to serve him a fricassee – French meat stew – of watches». And Carlos laughed at the comment, which he approved. Something very strange, that he laughed, already diminishing his existence.

And to digest this food nonsense, ice-cold beer. Which he sometimes drank in the morning as soon as he got up. And if he didn’t have enough, he resorted to Rhine wine. He had little use for the warnings of his confessor, Cardinal Loaysa. It was not difficult for him to obtain the dispensations from the fasts prescribed by the Church, which would have saved him from the ailments of gout, whose attacks continued to plague him in Yuste.


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