hist-brewing: FW: Life in the 1500's

John Purdy John_Purdy at Jabil.com
Thu May 6 11:00:52 PDT 1999


Well...This might not be too on topic but for some of us it's quite period.
I'm not vouching for the validity of all of it but I just received it and
thought some of you might enjoy it and/or it might bring to mind a few other
phrases.

Mongo


>Life in the 1500's
>> > >
>> > > 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  starting to
>> > > smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to
>> > > hide the b.o.
>> > >
>> > > Baths equaled a big tub filled with hot water.  The
>> > > man of the house  had the  privilege of the nice clean water,
>> > > then all the other sons and men,  then the women and finally
>> > > the children.  Last of all the babies.  By then the  water    was so
>> > > dirty you could actually lose someone in it.
>> > > Hence the 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 pets ...  dogs, cats  and other 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 and dogs."
>> > >
>> > > 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  really mess  up your nice
>> > > clean bed.  So, they found if they made beds with big
>> > > posts and  hung a sheet over the top, it addressed that
>> > > problem.  Hence those  beautiful  big 4 poster beds with canopies.
>> > >
>> > > The floor was dirt.  Only the wealthy had something
>> > > other than dirt,  hence the saying "dirt poor."
>> > >
>> > > The wealthy had slate floors which would get
>> > > slippery in the winter when wet. So they spread
>> > > thresh on the floor  to  help  keep their footing.  As the winter
>> > > wore on they kept adding more thresh until  when you
>> > > opened the door it would all start slipping  outside.  A piece of
wood
>> > > was placed at the entry way, hence  a "thresh hold."
>> > >
>> > > They cooked in the kitchen in a big kettle that
>> > > always hung over the  fire.
>> > > Every  day they lit the fire and added things to
>> > > the pot.  They  mostly  ate  vegetables and didn't 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 the
>> > > stew had food in it that had been in there  for a  month.
>> > > Hence the rhyme:  peas porridge hot, peas porridge
>> > > cold, peas  porridge  in the  pot nine days old."
>> > >
>> > > Sometimes they could obtain pork and would feel
>> > > really special when  that happened. When company came
>> > > over, they would bring out some bacon and  hang it to show it off.
>> > > It was a sign of wealth and that a man  "could  really
>> > > 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 a high acid  content caused some of the lead to leach
>> > > onto the food. This happened most  often with
>> > > tomatoes, so they stopped eating tomatoes ... for
>> > > 400 years.
>> > >
>> > > Most people didn't have pewter plates, but had
>> > > trenchers -- a piece  of  wood  with the middle scooped
>> > > out like a bowl.  Trenchers were never washed  and
>> > > a lot of times worms got into the wood.  After eating off
>> > > wormy  trenchers,  they would get "trench mouth."
>> > >
>> > > 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 the  "upper  crust."
>> > >
>> > > Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey.  The
>> > > combination would  sometimes  knock them 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 they started running
>> > > out of places to  bury people.  So, they would dig up coffins
>> > > and would take their bones to  a  house  and reuse the grave.
>> > > In reopening these coffins, one out of 25  coffins were  found
>> > > to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had
>> > > been  burying people alive.
>> > > So they thought they would tie a string on their wrist
>> > > and 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
>> > > to  listen for  the bell.
>> > > Hence on the "graveyard shift" they would know that
>> > > someone was  "saved by the bell" or he was a "dead ringer."
>
>
>
>




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