Our Five Part Series on Merrie Olde England
Blighty's history reporter, Morris Bell, has dug up some fascinating facts about the Elizabethans this week. In this five part series Blighty's Blog presents a vignette of life in Merrie England half a millenium ago.
Legends of Old England - Part Three: Food Glorious Food
Inside the castles and stately homes of Olde England, barons, sheriffs, lords and ladies enjoyed the finest foods their money could buy. Quail's eggs, roast partridge and swan, boar's head and venison, washed down with fine French wines and brandy.
It was a completely different story for the commoners. Lowly peasants ate from a large kettle hung over a fire inside their cottages. Each day it was topped up with vegetables, grains and -occasionally - a rabbit or hare caught in the wild or ensnared by poachers. The kettle never emptied; it was reheated each day. It was from this tradition that the rhyme "pease pudding hot, pease pudding cold, pease pudding in the pot nine days old" derived.
We'll be right back after this commercial message from our sponsor:
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And now - back to our blog post ...
Chew the Fat - about bringing home the bacon
One of life's luxuries was considered to be hog meat. A man that could provide well for his family would "bring home the bacon". Guests would be invited to share in the family's good fortune and the side of bacon would be on proud display. A little bacon was cut and shared among the guests who would sit around the table and "chew the fat".
Mad About Pewter
Mugs, plates and dishes were made of pewter - an alloy of tin and lead. Pewter is an attractive metal but the lead can leach out into the food and cause poisoning leading to madness and death. Foods with high acidity were particularly susceptible. Until lead poisoning was understood many years later, tomatoes were considered to be poisonous.
Use Your Loaf
Bread was baked in an oven heated by hot coals below the baking racks. The lower portion would often burn before the rest of the loaf was fully baked. The burned portion was given to the lowliest ranks - the labourers. After the burned portion had been removed the "upper crust" was reserved for the VIPs.
"Comedy always works best when it is mean-spirited" - John Cleese
Author John Corby also writes as "Bulldogge" for the British Canadian newspaper.
|A Farthingsworth of Tall Tales from Blighty's Fameless Blog
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