Saturday, December 18, 2010

Why do we say...

why do we say..
SIT AROUND AND CHEW THE FAT
During Medieval times bacon was very expensive to buy. When you did get some, it was customary to display or store it over the fireplace in the parlor. When important guests came over, it would be taken down and chewed during conversation. People would ‘sit around and chew the fat.’

In the kitchen they would cook over the fire, they had a fireplace in the kitchen/parlor, that was seldom used and sometimes in the master bedroom. They had a big kettle that always hung over the fire and every day they would light the fire and start adding things to the pot. Mostly they ate vegetables, they didn't get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner then leave the leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes the stew would have food in it that had been in there for a month! Thus the rhyme: peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."
Sometimes they could get a hold of some pork. They really felt special when that happened and when company came over they even had a rack in the parlor where they would bring out some bacon and hang it to show it off. That 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 they would all sit around and "chew the fat."
If you were going traveling and wanted to stay at an Inn they usually provided the bed but not the board. The bread was divided according to status. The workers would get the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family would get the middle and guests would get the top, or the "upper crust".

1 comment:

Sister--Three said...

Bring home the bacon?