Dinner, with the queen, could be an ordeal. The simple meal - soup, fish, cold beef and the cream puddings of which Victoria was particularly fond - began at 9 and usually lasted precisely thirty minutes. The queen was served first and gobbled her food. Slow eaters, such as Gladstone, who was said to chew every mouthful thirty-three times, found their plates snatched away by the servants when they had barely begun.
from Victoria by Jane Ridley