Why Watercress Was Popular during the Victorian Age

Watercress may not be as popular as other greens, but it has its glorious days when it was treated with esteem – and that is during the Victorian age.

During this period, children take watercress sandwiches to school as their snack instead of meat buns.  Cooks during Queen Victoria’s era also cooked and garnished using this aquatic plant.

But it’s not only the upper class which enjoys the tangy, spicy flavour of watercress.  They are also the favourite of the Victorian working classes.

This inclination to watercress can be accounted to the fact that it was sold at a relatively cheap price.  At that time, watercress was sold at only a few pence per bundle – a price even the cheapest labourer can afford.

It was packed in wicker flats which street sellers would buy in bunches.  Workers eat watercress in the hand like you would an ice cream cone and was considered the first “on-the-go food.”

They eat it with plain black bread sometimes or if situations were really bad, they it alone, thus, it was tagged as a “poor man’s bread.”

The proliferation of railway constructions made watercress easier to be transported from city to city, becoming available to everyone in Britain.

It continued to be popular through World Wars I and II where it became a staple member of meals, salads and sandwiches.  It’s not only flavourful, it also contributed a lot to the health of early Victorian workers, the children and practically anyone who included watercress in their diet.

However, watercress went down from being the star to being just a garnish and a side dish over the years.