Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sharing a Drink.

You know how sometimes, when someone around you is cock-a-hoop, you want to take them down a peg or two? Well, it turns out that both of these phrases have their origins in the taverns of old, when beer mugs were shared, and each drinker was supposed only to drink down to one marker – a ‘peg’ or hoop on the tankard.

The same fascinating source as yesterday - Things Not Generally Known, Familiarly Explained, by John Timbs et al (1867), explaines it all.

Hoop was the old name for a quart-pot, such pots being anciently made with staves bound together with hoops, as barrels are. Nash, in his Pierce Penniless, says : " I believe hoops in quart-pots were invented that every man should take his hoop, and no more." There were usually three in number to such a pot; hence one of Jack Cade's promised reforms was, "the three-hooped pot shall have ten hoops; and I will make it felony to drink small beer" (2 Hen. VI. act iv. sc. 2). Nares asks: " Will not this explain cock-a-hoop better than the other derivations?" A person is cock-a-hoop, or in high spirits, who has been keeping up the hoop, or pot, at his head.
Pewter pots are made with hoops to this day; but formerly, the hoop outside seems to have served the same purpose as the pegs inside in the older Peg-Tankards.

Thankgoodness for a plenitude of drinking-ware!


Please also consider buying a raffle ticket in the Menu for Hope (see the side-bar). The School Lunch Program in Lesotho is a wonderful project of the United Nations World Food Program. One of the prizes is my book The Pie: A Global History (due in March.)

Also: I am tickled pink that The Old Foodie is featured in the Naxos (music label) Christmas podcast. Old recipes to match the era of the music. What fun. You can download it from the Naxos site HERE, or the direct link is HERE.

Quotation for the Day …
Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.
Washington Irving


Liz + Louka said...

Congratulations on being chosen by Naxos for their podcast! And have a very merry Christmas, with plenty of Christmas cheer.

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Liz
Yes, I was delighted. What fun. Have a wonderful safe and happy Christmas yourselves. I am going to have champagne for breakfast .... not too much as "everyone" is coming for dinner ...