Posts tagged: stew

CLICHES/SAYINGS FOR OLD FOLKS

THIS AND THAT 

The following information was gleaned from the internet and who knows, there may be a kernel of truth in it.  At any rate I found the possibilities suggested here to be entertaining, if not factual.

Cliche: A phrase or opinion that is overused and lacks “original” thought.“You don’t miss the water ‘till the well runs dry.”

Interesting.  Maybe it’s because I’m’ OLD that I pause when I hear some of these sayings. I’ve begun to wonder just where they originated.  Recently I received an e mail that educated me on some of the more interesting origins.  It was taken from a webpage:  DateHookup.com  I share this information.

My older sister is always saying that she has “never had a pot to piss in.”  Of course I know that she is discussing her “worldly wealth” not the ownership of a POT.

What I have learned, (never too old): The beginning of this saying was “piss poor.”  Where did this saying come from?  In the old days urine was used to tan animal skins, so poor families used to all pee in a pot and sell it to the tannery, thus, “piss poor.”

$pot to pissNow you might think they were the poorest of the poor…WRONG!  The really poor folk couldn’t afford to buy the pot!  They didn’t have a “pot to piss in” and were the “bottom of the totem pole.”

Most poor folks had dirt floors…”Dirt poor” but the rich folks had slate floors, “slippery when wet.” Solved by spreading straw on the floor.  Adding straw throughout the winter was necessary, but it would slip outside when the door was opened.  Solution?  A piece of wood was placed in the doorway, hence a “Thresh hold.

Why is June the most popular month to get married?  In the 1500’s May was the month most people took their YEARLY bath and they still smelled pretty good by June…not great mind you, thus the custom of carrying a bouquet when getting married to hide the bride’s body odor.Roses

And that bath?  Baths were taken in a large tub filled with water heated on the stove…and…well, the man of the house got first bath, then the sons, then the wife, then the children in order of age. (At least my sisters and I drew straws so that I, the youngest, wasn’t always last. I’m old but I wasn’t born in the 1500’s.) The very last to get their bath was the babies, hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” old-wash-tub-galvanized-metal-washtub-original-vintage-Wheeling-label-Laurel-Leaf-Farm-item-no-k72971-2

In those early days some area houses had “thatched roofs,” thick straw piled high with only strips of wood as a framework to hold the straw.  The roof was the only place for animals to sleep warm, thus the cats, even dogs, (not sure how the dogs got on the roof?) and other small animals like mice (bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained, the straw would become slippery and sometimes the animals would fall off the cats and dogsroof, hence…“its raining cats and dogs.

And, that’s not all…the small animals and bugs often fell through the roof which really messed up your bed.  So–the “four–poster bed with a canopy” was born.

Food: Ah, we’ve all seen movies of the big pot hanging in the fire.  Since meat was scarce, the stew usually consisted of mostly vegetables.  The leftovers were kept in the pot and new items were added as available which meant some of the food had been there for sometime.  Hence the rhyme: “peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.”  Sometimes they could obtain pork which made the meal special.  When visitors came over, they hung up their bacon to show off.  It was a sign of wealth that a man could Man baconbring home the bacon.”  They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and “chew the fat.”

The wealthy often had plates and mugs of pewter.  High acid food leached lead into the food causing lead poisoning, death.  For over 400 years tomatoes were thought to be tomatopoisonous.

Bread was divided according to status.  Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family the middle, the guest got the top.  Hence, “Upper Crust.”

DEATH: In the taverns whiskey and ale were served in Pewter/lead mugs. Imbibers were often knocked out for a couple of days.  Passerbys would find them along the road, mistake them for dead and prepare them for burial.  The family would lay them out on the table for a couple of days, gather around drinking and eating waiting to see if they would wake up.  Hence, “Holding a wake.body wake

Burial ground in England became scarce.  Coffins were dug up,   the bones went to a “bone house” and the grave reused.  In one out of twenty-five graves the coffins were found to have scratch marks, evidence that people were being buried alive.  A cautionary routine was initiated.  A string was tied to the wrist of the corpse, fed through the coffin up through the soil and tied to a bell.  A person was assigned to sit in the graveyard for wake upthe night “The graveyard shift” to listen for the bell.  Someone “saved by the bell” was considered a, “Dead ringer.”

And now you know (a little bit more anyway.) Country of origin for these sayings? England.

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