Six Reasons Why the Tudors Are Awesome to Study (and Why You Should Study Them): A Listicle

As part of my (lapsed) membership in the #EdublogsClub, I was prompted this week to write a “Listicle” entry. If you don’t know what a Listicle is, let me enlighten you. In a sense, it is an informative list about any topic. Often times, the subject of the list is titillating or sensational in some way like this one. Or, the list can be specific to a topic that a specific reader might have an interest in, and the list might help one to deepen their understanding about the topic, like this one. (mental_floss is one of my favorite places to view listicles, by the way.)

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

So, without further ado, here is my list:

  1. Henry VIII had six wives. Yes, six. That alone is amazing, especially for a guy who lived in the 1500s. Most people didn’t get divorced back then. Really, though, if you think about it, he only divorced two times. His third wife died, and his last wife survived him. The other two wives? This leads me to . . .
  2. Henry VIII had two of his wives’ heads chopped off. Our 21st century notions of marriage include deep, abiding love. Back then, marriage was more of a business transaction, but it still goes beyond the pale to think that dissatisfaction with the marriage could result in execution.
  3. Henry VIII started a religious reform movement in England. He wanted to annul his first marriage to his wife, Catherine, daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. The Pope said, “No.” Henry VIII didn’t like to be told that, so he said the the Pope, “You’re not the boss of me anymore!” and separated himself and his country from the authority of the Roman Catholic Church in Rome. He became the head of his own church, the Church of England, later to be known as the Anglican Church. In reality, it wasn’t too much different than the Catholic church, and there were great debates during Henry’s time about how much of the liturgy should be changed. It was pretty rocky for a while, depending upon whether or not one was a Catholic or a Church of England member (Protestant), which leads me to . . .
  4. Wanna know where the moniker “Bloody Mary” comes from? It actually is a reference to Henry VIII’s  oldest daughter (from his first marriage), Mary. Henry VIII started England on the path toward Protestantism, but when he died and Mary took over, she zealously brought England back into the Roman Catholic fold. She persecuted people of the “new faith,” killing and torturing so many that she earned the nickname.
  5. Elizabeth, Henry VIII’s second daughter (from his second marriage to Anne Boleyn), is an awesome example of a strong woman in history. She was a strategic thinker — albeit sometimes overthinking things — and she had a coterie of spymasters and advisors helping her out. She even kept her own cousin, Mary Queen of Scots (not to be confused with Elizabeth’s sister, Mary) under house arrest for more than eighteen years.
  6. Henry VIII has an awesome Twitter account. Seriously. It is truly laugh-out-loud funny. Henry’s followers get to read snarky posts about world leaders, his favorite foods and activities, and prescriptions for truly living the #TudorLife. The online feud he has with Richard III is delightful reading for #Nerdy Tudor enthusiasts like myself.

Delicious Chicken Piccata

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

Chicken Piccata is a delicious chicken dish that is easy to make on a weeknight after a long day of work. Follow these steps to make Chicken Piccata on your own or for company! First, get two chicken breasts. If they have skin, make sure to take off the skin. Cut them in a butterfly style (giving you four pieces total), and then season the chicken with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Just a light sprinkle of each seasoning is enough. Then, let the chicken rest on a clean plate while you go to your cupboard and get some flour. Pour some flour into a dish, and then take the chicken and cover the chicken on all sides with the flour. Shake off the excess flour from the chicken and set it aside. Repeat with all of the chicken breasts.

Meanwhile, the next thing to do is to get out your pan that you will use to cook the chicken. Also get out some butter and olive oil. Put the pan on the stove and turn on the heat! As the pan warms up, get two tablespoons of butter and three tablespoons of olive oil. Put them in the pan to melt and heat up. When the butter and olive oil are very hot, place the chicken in the pan to cook. Cook the chicken for about five minutes until it is browned, and then turn it over to cook and brown on the other side. After the chicken is nicely browned, you’ll need to transfer it out of the pan to a clean plate while you cook more of the chicken you prepared in flour. Add two more tablespoons of butter and another two tablespoons of oil to the pan. Add more chicken to the pan and cook these pieces of chicken the same as you did the previous pieces. When these pieces are done, add them to the plate containing the other pieces of chicken.

One the chicken is cooked, the last step is to prepare the lemony caper sauce for the chicken. To do this, you’ll need to add a third of a cup of fresh lemon juice and one-half cup of chicken broth to the butter and olive oil already in the pan. If you like, you can also add in 1/4 cup brined capers. These are like little olives or peas, but if you don’t like them, leave them out — the Chicken Piccata will still taste delicious! Let the mixture in the pan heat up, and stir the concoction occasionally to get the cooked bits at the bottom of the pan mixed up in your sauce. It will add to the overall flavor. Remember the chicken resting on the plate? Put it back into the pan now, and make sure to coat the chicken with your zesty sauce. Let the chicken sauteé in the pan for about five more minutes or until totally cooked. The last step is to take it out of the pan, now that it is cooked, pour the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with parsley, and serve it with one of your favorite side dishes.

You’ll love Chicken Piccata, especially if you like foods with a hint of lemon. Not only is the chicken tender and delicious, you’ll also feel good knowing you’re eating something that is healthy for you. Stay in tonight — and make Chicken Piccata!