Interesting Sayings!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by A'sta at Hofstead, Oct 11, 2006.

  1. A'sta at Hofstead

    A'sta at Hofstead Turkey Wrangler

    Sep 20, 2006
    New Hampshire USA
    This was sent via email to me, I think some may be true, some not- what do you think??

    The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the 1500's:

    These are interesting.

    Most people got married in June, because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

    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 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 cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained hard it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and 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 mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into existence.

    The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance way.

    Hence the saying a "thresh hold."

    (Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

    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 whiskey. 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."

    And that's the truth... Now, whoever said that History was boring! ! !

    Educate someone...Share these facts with a friend.
  2. holleegee

    holleegee Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2005
    Wow! I'm not sure if they are true or not but they are interesting!

  3. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

    Oct 18, 2005
    N. TX/ S. OK
    You've posted a variation of THIS
  4. MarleneS

    MarleneS Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2003
    You can't miss something you've never had.

  5. kenuchelover

    kenuchelover Well-Known Member

    Sep 29, 2005
    SE Oklahoma
    It's a mixed bag, I've commented on those I have knowledge of.

    I've heard this is true..... although there were also other contributions. One is that flowers symbolized fertility & youth, and were often associated with marriages even BEFORE Christianity entered Europe & prudishness started causing people to stop bathing. Another possible factor was the Black Plague.... folk were generally ignorant of it's cause, felt "malignant miasmas" ("evil air") was likely the cause, and started wearing or carrying flowers to ward off the plague. Brides & others in public venues were thus likely to carry flowers or highly scented floral/herbal sachets.

    Nope, canopy beds were pretty well restricted to the wealthy.... who didn't use thatched roofs. The canopy beds were similar to having mosquito screens or privacy screens..... they were thought to protect against disease ("malignant miasmas" again) as well as provide a certain amount of privacy when the servants came into the room to build up the fire or empty the chamberpots (wouldn't do to have the hired help seeing the mister & missus in their skimpies, or OUT of them engaged in various activities).

    Now this one is pure fiction. Tomatoes were sometimes erroneously considered poisonous, but it was because they were members of the nightshade family, and related to some highly poisonous plants. (Tomatoes are only a mildly poisonous member of the family, the fruit is fine but the leaves are toxic enough to make you sick if you ate them. Ditto re potatoes, another nightshade..... the tubers are edible, but the rest of the plant will make you sick if you eat it).

    In reality, the Spanish Conquistadores saw Mexican Indians eating tomatoes, tried them & liked them, and consequently sent seeds back to Spain. They WERE eaten in countries like Spain & Italy from the 1520's onward, & in England, France, and the American colonies from at least the early 1700's onward.... just less commonly. Here's a funny tidbit, to start out, tomatoes were actually more popular in Europe as an ornamental plant.... the dark green foliage, bright yellow flowers, and brilliant red fruit led them to be planted in flower gardens & window boxes. (It's possible that the rumor about them being a poisonous member of the nightshade family originated with ornamental gardeners trying to prevent poaching of their plant display!)

    Here's another rebuttal..... Europeans didn't realize lead was lethal until much later, note how recently lead paint was still in use, and how it's only that warnings against heavily leaded glassware & glazes on china (like on much Mexican dishware) became mandatory. And lead poisoning is slow, they'd not be able to tell WHICH dish caused it, or even associate it with food in general. (The Roman Empire fell in part because rich families used lead sheeting as a leakproof lining for the bulk storage tanks that held their wine.... and favored highly acidic wines, which they'd sweeten to taste. The wines were so acidic that they dissolved away the thick lead lining in 4-6 months..... so you can imagine the dose of lead poisoning that family members were getting. The result? The Roman upper crust had a high incidence of sterility, infertility, insanity, and birth defects.... this adversely impacted the quantity AND quality of Roman leadership..... contributing significantly to the fall of Rome.)

    (Sheesh.... think about it folks, acidic foods like pickled dishes, sauerkraut & pickled beets & the like, are far more acidic than tomatoes..... and acidic vinegar was used as a condiment! These are foods widely eaten in Europe for untold centuries BEFORE tomatoes were introduced. If a problem was recognized re the use of pewter dishes, it would have been noted with THOSE foods long before tomatoes were introduced.)

    Also fiction, the wake is tied to the old superstition that the soul didn't leave the (dead) body for several days. During that time, it had to be watched (by people who were awake, hence the term) to prevent demons or other malignant spirits from harming the soul trapped within the unburied corpse and/or preventing them from possessing the body & animating it (certain Native American tribes had the same custom, oddly enough). The socializing & drinking was part memorial/rememberance, and partly a means of staying awake during the corpse watch.
  6. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

    Oct 18, 2005
    N. TX/ S. OK
    What I read recently in a history book about bathing, the reason people stopped bathing for a few centuries was the result of persecution of the Jews.

    Jews were being imprisoned or executed over every flimsy excuse that could be conceived of. Jews were (and are) very well known for being very clean people. Things got so bad, that innocent people were accused of being Jews by disgruntled neighbors. The "proof" that they were Jewish was that they were exceptionally clean.

    People became afraid to be clean and stopped bathing.

    I don't know if that's really true, I'll try to look it up, but that's what I read about it.
  7. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

    Oct 22, 2005
    Forests of maine
    Coming out of the depression, my family did this. As a child I was the last to use the bath water.

    I do not know about this having anything to do with poor or wealth, it was common for everyone to spread thresh to the floors to absorb the mud.

    I have eaten in restaurants in Spain where spreading thresh on the floor is common, and you have to use a thresh-hold or else it flows out the room.

    Those with money eat on silver.

    Those with pretensions of wealth ate on pewter, and they got gout.