10 Strange Bits of British Food Folklore

10 Strange Bits of British Food Folklore

Meals and folklore go hand in hand. From telling kids that the crusts on bread will make their hair curly to the concept that carrots make it easier to see in the dead of night, there are myths and tales about nearly every little thing we eat. Among the tales are innocent enjoyable, however there are older and stranger bits of folklore surrounding a few of our favourite—or not-so-favorite—meals.

The worldwide view of British meals shouldn’t be all the time complimentary, to place it mildly, however the lore of the UK’s dishes is as wealthy as any on the earth.

Associated: 10 Meals That Can Trigger Dangerous Goals

10 Fairy Meals

Should you’re something like me, you like to get free meals. Folklore, nonetheless, provides a stern warning—by no means settle for from the fairy folks! Besides that it additionally warns concerning the risks of not taking meals when provided by fairies. Folklore shouldn’t be an actual science.

Should you settle for fairy meals, there’s the hazard that you may be trapped within the realm of the fairies and unable to flee. Within the story “Childe Rowland,” the wizard Merlin warns somebody venturing into fairy-land that they need to “chunk no bit, and drink no drop, nonetheless hungry or thirsty you be; drink a drop, or chunk a bit whereas in Elfland you be and by no means will you see Center Earth once more.”

Should you encounter fairy meals in the actual world, although, it’s sensible to just accept it. In a story from the isle of Arran, two farmers jokingly wished for the fairies to put out a feast for them. When the meal magically appeared, they have been too scared to eat it. For refusing the provided meal, the sector went barren, and nothing ever grew once more.[1]

9 Cockle Bread

cockle bread

Bread has all the time been a staple meals for most individuals. Getting the components, mixing them, kneading the dough, and baking it took an excessive amount of time. Each stage was crammed with the possibility for folklore to creep in. If a gap shaped in the course of your loaf, it was referred to as a “coffin” and predicted a coming dying. If the yeast didn’t rise, you then had been cursed by a witch—however they might be saved off by marking the bread with a cross on prime.

One type of bread was made in a really peculiar manner. Cockle bread was utilized by younger girls as a solution to win a lover. Whereas they made the bread, they’d chant the next rhyme:

My granny is sick, and now’s useless,
And we’ll go mould some cockle bread.
Up with my heels and down with my head,
And that is the best way to mould cockle bread.

So as to guarantee their love went into the bread, the dough was kneaded with the woman’s buttocks. A morsel of this bread fed to the specified boy would guarantee he fell in love together with her.[2]

8 Sizzling Cross Buns

Sizzling cross buns are one of the vital scrumptious points of a British Easter. The buns are filled with dried fruits and spices and marked with a cross on the highest. It’s the presence of that cross that has impressed a lot of the folklore surrounding them.

Based on custom, a scorching cross bun won’t ever go moldy. There are lots of examples of historical scorching cross buns which recommend they do final a very long time. In a number of London pubs, scorching cross buns are hung up yearly and nonetheless look remarkably good. Their sanctity preserves the buns from rotting, it’s mentioned (although it might be the spices as nicely), and in addition provides them magical properties.

In former years, preserved scorching cross buns have been grated into foods and drinks as a remedy for all method of illnesses. They have been additionally hung in homes to forestall fires. When hung in barns, the buns cease evil spirits from attacking the livestock. Sailors wanting to make sure their ship didn’t sink would all the time have a scorching cross bun on board.[7]

7 Marriage ceremony Cake Predictions

Marriage ceremony truffles are an important truffles in many individuals’s lives. The act of slicing the cake collectively alerts the primary joint act of a pair’s lives collectively. Many {couples} would hold one of many tiers of their marriage ceremony cake to serve on the christening of their first youngster to carry it luck. However there are different magical makes use of of a marriage cake.

Should you can resist consuming your slice of cake, then you should use it to foretell who your personal partner will probably be. Take your little bit of cake and place it below your pillow earlier than you fall asleep—be careful for crumbs; that’s the way you get ants. While you sleep that night time, an apparition of your eventual companion will seem in your desires. Some say that you do not want a full slice of cake. All you want is a bit of the cake that has been handed by means of the brand new bride’s marriage ceremony ring.

There’s additionally a practice {that a} woman ought to put a bit of marriage ceremony cake in her pocket at some point of the newlyweds’ honeymoon. If she does, then she will probably be married earlier than the 12 months is out.[4]

6 Dumb Desserts

Maybe the preferred technique of divining who your lover will probably be is to bake a dumb cake. There have been quite a lot of variations of the ritual, however all concerned the makers of a cake working in absolute silence, therefore the identify dumb.

In a single model, three women come collectively, and all place a handful of flour and salt right into a pile. With somewhat water, they work it right into a dough and mark the cake with their initials earlier than baking it. As soon as it was prepared, the women wait till midnight. On the stroke of 12, a ghost will enter and level to the initials of the woman who will marry subsequent.

One custom includes solely two women working in silence, and so they chant:

Two to make it,
Two to bake it,
Two to interrupt it.

That night time the cake is positioned below the pillow, and a imaginative and prescient of their future partner will come to them. Most dumb truffles weren’t supposed to be eaten. Most likely correctly, as some recipes name for them to comprise bits of fingernail, hair, mud, and often an unhealthy quantity of salt.[5]

5 Vegetable Cures

There’s something magical about rising greens. You plant a number of seeds and watch them seemingly develop from nothing into one thing you could harvest and eat. However some individuals put their crops to make use of in precise magic.

Small potatoes have been generally worn on a string across the neck to guard individuals from rheumatism. Even right now, you will discover examples of individuals placing bits of potato on individuals with fevers and claiming that they draw out fever, turning black within the course of. The truth is, that is simply the oxidation of starch, however some choose the folklore clarification.

Onions have been put to comparable use. For instance, when smallpox broke out in Sheffield in 1927, many homes hung up onions of their residence. It was believed that onions absorbed the pestilence. Some even used onions to keep off plagues of their cattle.

When you have an earache, you may contemplate warming an onion within the fireplace till it’s delicate and taking out the guts within the center. This, inserted into the ear, was thought to remedy the ache. Most likely greatest not to do that at residence.[6]

4 Salt Lore

One of the crucial generally acted out superstitions is carried out at dinner tables throughout the nation. Should you occur to spill the salt, it’s essential to take a pinch of it and solid it over your left shoulder, or catastrophe is bound to comply with. That is alleged to be as a result of once you spill salt, the Satan takes it as an invite to affix the meal. Throwing it over the shoulder hits him within the eye and retains him at bay.

Salt is also used to drive off witches. In some locations, a pinch of salt was thrown within the fireplace, and the next allure was spoken: “Salt! Salt! I put thee within the fireplace. Could the one who has bewitched me neither eat, drink, nor sleep till the spell is damaged.”

Salt was additionally helpful to the useless. When graves are dug up, plates are generally discovered on the skeleton. These plates have been crammed with salt and left with the physique as a result of they have been thought to maintain the soul secure from the Satan as “the satan loveth no salt along with his meat.” Which sits at odds with the custom of spilling salt. Folklore is allowed to contradict itself, it appears.[7]

3 Marriage ceremony Shortbread

Large and elaborate marriage ceremony truffles haven’t all the time been the middle of a marriage feast. In Scotland up to now, an important aspect of the day was the Infar-cake. This was a embellished piece of shortbread that had quite a lot of folkloric makes use of.

The marriage shortbread was historically baked by the mom of the bride. On the day of the marriage, it could be held over the heads of the brand new couple and damaged. Because the items fell round them, the variety of fragments was examined. The extra bits it shattered into, the extra kids the couple have been destined to have. Typically the items of shortbread have been tossed over the heads of the bride and groom earlier than they entered their new residence. Although it does appear to be a little bit of a waste of shortbread.

The bits that have been left on the ground might nonetheless be used, nonetheless. Visitors would scramble to collect some up, particularly those that have been single. These have been then carried residence and positioned below the pillow (once more) in hopes that they’d provoke a dream—a dream of future love.[8]

2 Turnips

Turnips usually are not essentially the most pretty of greens. This maybe explains why they have been as soon as carved into punkies—lanterns that kids carried round as they went begging from door to door. The outcomes might be extremely spooky and way more uncanny than the extra acquainted pumpkin.

In case your youngster had whooping cough, then there was a technique for turnips to be a remedy. Take a turnip and slice it into half-inch strips. These have been then layered with brown sugar between them. The thick liquid that oozes out was then fed to the sick youngster.

In Wales, a turnip might be used to foretell who a woman would fall in love with (this appears to be a theme). The woman needed to sneak out at night time and steal a turnip from a neighbor’s subject. This turnip then needed to be peeled in a single piece. The peeling was then taken into the backyard and buried. The turnip itself needed to be hung behind the bed room door and was supposed to provide the woman a dream of her husband.[9]

1 Satan’s Blackberries

If there’s one character that’s positive to offer an excellent little bit of folklore, it’s the Satan. In folks tales, he’s all the time as much as some mischief or different. However given his again story, you possibly can perhaps forgive him for a few of his naughty methods.

Michaelmas, the 29th of September however the 11th of October within the previous calendar, is a celebration of the archangel Michael. It additionally historically marks the day when Michael solid the Satan out of heaven. Based on British folklore, the Satan not solely had a protracted fall, however he additionally had a really painful touchdown in a blackberry patch, getting torn by its thorns. This gave Lucifer an enduring hatred of blackberries.

Folklore says that blackberries must not ever be picked after Michaelmas as a result of on this present day, the Satan takes his revenge on the berries. In some tellings of the story, the Satan touches the berries then and poisons them, however in others, he does one thing extra excessive. Whether or not he spits on them, urinates, or defecates is determined by who’s telling the story. Nonetheless, most likely greatest to not threat it.[10]

Initially Printed by – Jamie Frater

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Written by Harry Rosen

Harry Rosen is an accomplished explorer, photographer, creative director, speaker, and author.

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