I took a break from writing midday yesterday and did a little light web surfing while I had lunch. Too late I discovered I missed International Kiss a Ginger Day on Monday. I laughed when I saw the event was made in response to the International Kick a Ginger Day. Kick? really? Hmm. This redhead would welcome a kiss but likely clobber the person who tried to kick me over the color of my hair. lol Who makes up this stuff?
Following wacky things…Did you know January is National Oatmeal Month? No kidding. The humble oat wasn’t always a delicious belly-warming good-for-your-heart meal. Prior to the early 1800’s, oats were considered horse and cattle fodder and therefore suitable grain for the poor only. I couldn’t find out why that was. So belly up to the breakfast table, add that dash of brown sugar and cinnamon and maybe a spoonful of almonds and raisins to your porridge. I have a mini history post for you to read while you eat.
The oldest known oats as they relate to man were found in Egypt and date to the12th Dynasty ( 2,000 B.C. E.). These were uncultivated oats, meaning they were harvested from the wild. Evidence of cultivated oats date back to the Bronze Age. Of people who would know such things, many believe our present cultivated oat developed as a mutation in wild oats in Asia Minor or southeastern Europe some 2000 years ago. Perhaps one patch of wild oats had more grains or larger ones and that difference made it worthwhile to pick and grow the grain on purpose. (Man has been tweaking plant output for a very long time. Were you to compare the first corn with today’s hybrids, you wouldn’t think they were the same species). In North America, oats were first grown on the Elizabeth Islands, off the coast of Massachusetts in 1602. Even George Washington got in on oats. Between the Revolutionary War and his presidency, he “sowed 580 acres of oats on his land” in Virginia.
So, oats were grown and consumed all across Europe, but it wasn’t eaten the ways we enjoy it today. Only salt was added, if that. Whole or cracked grains were often cooked into a thick porridge and consumed over several days. When the porridge was firm enough, it was sliced and fried. So essential was this grain, there were even superstitions about cooking it wrong. One of these says the porridge should be stirred only using the right-hand and in a clockwise direction to ward off evil spirits.
Here’s a fun site with more.
The Great Exchange
I often wonder where certain words and sayings come from. For the next few weeks this word collector is going to examine some familiar phrases to get at their heart. I think you’ll be surprised.
The phrase for today is ~ Cat got your tongue?
This phrase is directed at anyone caught being curiously quiet. This one makes an appearance in print in the early 1880s, though there is some thought that it’s actually much older than seeing it 1800s’ print suggests. There are many urban myth origins surrounding Cat got your tongue. Here are three:
- One myth comes from a sailor being unable to speak as he was being flogged by the cat-o-nine-tails.
- A myth from the middle ages that says a witch’s cat will curl up by a sleeping baby to steal the baby’s breath. No breath, no voice.
- Another says the phrase originates with a cat’s “irreverent view of property” — as in they’d even take the tongue right out of your mouth!
Likely, as cat’s move quick when they pounce on their prey, your sudden quiet could only mean you were pounced upon and your tongue was taken before you realized it was gone. Phrases of lighthearted imagery like this are often attributed to children and referred to as playground parlance. They don’t make sense and that’s okay.
Today is Author Fran Lee’s blog day. http://romancebooks4us.blogspot.com/
Romance Books ‘4’ Us ~ Our January contest is on!
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