I realized recently that there are a lot of food related sayings or old wives tales that didn't really make sense, so I was interested to find out more about these and where some of them come from.
I remember my mum saying to me occasionally “hard cheese” when there was something I wasn’t allowed to do that I protested against, but I never gave it a second thought. Oscar being way more inquisitive than I ever was, often asks me what things mean, so I thought it was time to explore them further and here are some of my favourites:
Cool as a cucumber.
Due to the cucumbers high water content it makes it one of the coolest vegetables around :) hence placing slices on your eyes to sooth them after a bad nights sleep or heavy night out is one of the best cures. Even at room temperature the cucumber will have a very soothing cooling effect drawing the heat away from the skin.
Bringing home the bacon.
In 1104 a couple from a small village in Essex so impressed the town mayor with their marital devotion to each other, that he rewarded them with a side of bacon. Unbelievably this tradition still continues today!
The proof is in the pudding.
Dating back to 1605, the pudding in this saying refers to a savoury pudding like black pudding, which had to be tested to prove it was edible and not poisonous, because the skin concealed what was inside.
Too many cooks spoil the broth.
This is one of the oldest recorded proverbs, which literally means one person can do the job of many just as well whereas too many people can mess up the job of one.
Literally meaning, hard luck, as in when faced with a piece of hard dried up cheese!!
Easy as pie.
There is nothing particularly easy about making a pie! However this saying refers to the eating of the pie, which I must agree with as it’s very easy to eat a good pie especially apple pie, which is the pie this saying was referring to :)
In a pickle.
This phrase referred to someone who was in trouble, and thus being as muddled up as the mix of vegetables that were stewed to make pickles.
Take it with a pinch of salt.
Quite simply the saying comes from the idea that food is more easily eaten if seasoned with salt. I couldn’t agree more!
Sadly many of these sayings are now considered a little archaic, however some of them still exist in our household; one regular one I remind Oscar is “you are what you eat.” Very early nutritionists believed your health was controlled by what you ate. Which is still true today and which is why at Oscar and Jemima’s we are such strong advocates of buying, preparing and cooking your own healthy food (hint, hint!!).
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