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 1500s:

Houses generally had the bare ground for a floor. 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 [ed. note: wheat stalks after the wheat
had been beaten out] 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 in the entry way-hence, a “thresh holder (threshold)”.

A big kettle hung in the fireplace in the kitchen. 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 the 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”.

Only occasionaly did average folks obtain meat, usually 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 a high acid
content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead
poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for
the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Most people did not have pewter plates, but had trenchers, a piece
of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl. Often trenchers
were made from stale paysan bread which was so old and hard that
they could use them for quite some time. Trenchers were never washed
and a lot of times worms and mold got into the wood or old bread.
After eating off wormy moldy trenchers, one would get “trench

Bread was divided according to status. Workers and servants 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 lead poisoning and
alcohol combination would sometimes knock one out suddenly and for a
couple of days. Someone else 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”.

Mrs Lucy s Tête Rouge Cake



Tête Rouge Cake

1 box Pillsbury yellow cake mix with pudding mix inside
teaspoon baking powder
1 cup oil
1 beaten eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla
10 ounces mandarin orange sections, juice included
1 oil and flour for coating
string of sewing thread

Pour cake mix in a large bowl. Add baking powder, oil and eggs. Beat
well together on medium high for two minutes, scraping sides
occasionally. Add vanilla flavoring and beat one more minute. Add can
of mandarin orange sections plus juice and mix by hand until well
blended. Pour into two 9-inch round cake pans which have been well
floured and greased, or sprayed with PAM if you prefer, and bake at
350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks
or large dinner plates. Take a long string of sewing thread and slice
each layer with it, going across the layers towards you in a slow
sawing motion. Lay out on a cake plate and spread each layer with
frosting below.
20 ounces crushed pineapple
3-1/4 ounces vanilla instant pudding
9 ounces cool whip

Mix well crushed pineapple with juice, instant vanilla pudding and
cool whip. Stir well until blended. Spread over each layer.