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Bacon is the cured and smoked fat and lean meat from the side of the pig after the spareribs have been removed. Before the miracle of refrigeration bacon was a mainstay in the diets of the Anglo-Saxon world. A bit of bacon, easily carried, went a long way in making bland food, such as beans, into a palatable and appetizing dish, adding much nutrition as well. Bacon was no doubt a familiar food to ancient Greeks because Aesop mentions it in his fable of the town mouse and the country mouse which dates from 550 B.C. The phrase, “Bring home the bacon,” dates from Norman times in England where at the monastery of Dunmow a flitch of bacon was offered as a prize to any man who could swear before the church that for a year and a day he had not quarreled with his wife nor wished himself single. The phrase is still used, albeit with a different connotation.
Dunmow there was an ancient custom in the priory, that if any person from any part of England, would come thither, and humbly kneel at the churchdoor, before the convent, and solemnly take the ensuing oath, he might demand a stitch or gammon of bacon, which should be freely given him.
You shall swear by the custom of our confession
That you never made any nuptial transgression,
Since you were married man and wife,
By houshold brawls or contentious strife;
Or otherwise, in bed or at board,
Offended each other in deed or in word;
Or since the parish clerk said amen
Wished your selves unmarried again;
Or in a twelvemonth and a day
Repented not in thought any way;
But continued true and in desire,
As when you joined hands in holy quire.
If to these conditions, without all fear,
Of your own accord you will freely swear;
A gammon of bacon you shall receive,
And bear it hence with love and good leave;
For this is our custom at Dunmow well known.
Though the sport be ours, the bacon's your own.
Dunmow is near Londons 3rd Airport(Stanstead mountficit) on Stane street (Roman Route)
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