Sunday, November 09, 2008

SUNDAY Life in the 1500's (part 2)

Part 1 was posted last Sunday, November 1.



In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, 'Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.'


Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could 'bring home the bacon.' They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and 'chew the fat.'


Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.


Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or 'upper crust.'


Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a 'wake.'


England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a 'bone-house' and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the 'graveyard shift') to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be 'saved by the bell' or was considered a 'dead ringer.'



Enjoy your day. Please.

8 comments:

J-Online said...

This freaks me out a little. It's interesting to know where all these "sayings" came from though. I feel educated today! thanks!

Lou said...

I worked the graveyard shift for many years! Thank God no one ever rang the bell on my watch.

Scott W said...

Are those for real?

Mary Christine said...

You will always be an Upper Crust kind of guy to me Daave.

Bill said...

Are you making these up? I suspect I'm being fed peas porridge cold.

♥Shann♥ said...

I did the graveyard shift back in the day lol I remember reading these last year!

AlkySeltzer said...

I'm here to tell y'all, these are for REAL. (I was there!)

old-a-roni

Syd said...

These are interesting. I won't think of dead ringer in the same way again.