This is a good example of a hoax, and how you can't take anything you read about food history without checking the refrences.
This nice little essay on the origins of some famous sayings has been passed around by email a great deal since 1999.
This can sound really convincing at first , but after reading this GO here
and find explanations on some of the real origins of these sayings.
time you are washing your hands and complain because the water
tempisn't just how you like it, think about how things used
Here are some facts from the 1500s.
Most people got married in June because they took their yearly
bath in May
and were still smelling pretty good by June. However, they were
to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the
Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man
of the house
had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other
men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the
then water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it,
saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."
Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw, piled high, with no wood
underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so
all the pet
dogs, cats and their small animals: mice, rats & bugs -
lived in the roof.
When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals
would slip and
fall off the roof, hence the saying, "It's raining cats
There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house.
This posed a
real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could
mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and
a sheet hung
over the top afforded some protection. That is how canopy
beds came into
The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than
the saying, "dirt poor."
The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the
wet. So they spread thresh on the floor to help keep their footing.
winter wore on they kept adding more thresh until when you opened
it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed
entryway, hence a -"threshold."
They cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung
fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot.
ate vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the
dinner leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and
over the next day. Sometimes the stew had food in it that had
there for quite a while, hence the rhyme, "peas porridge
porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."
Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite
visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off.
It was a
sign of wealth and 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
Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with a high
caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead
death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next
or so tomatoes were considered poisonous.
Most people did not have pewter plates, but had trenchers, a
wood, with the middle scooped out like a bowl. Trenchers were
and lot of times worms got into the wood. After eating off wormy
trenchers, one would get "trenchmouth."
read was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt
bottom of the
loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination
sometimes knock them out for a couple of days. Someone walking
road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They
out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family
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 they started running out of places
people. So, they would dig up coffins and would take their bones
house and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, one
out of 25
coffin were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they
they had been burying people alive. So they thought they would
string on their wrist and lead it through the coffin and up
round and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in
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."