Old Tom Parr

ImageOld Tom Parr was an English man who supposedly lived for 152 years.  He subsisted on a diet of milk, cheese, dry bread and whiskey. Here is a poem about him.

Old Parr of Shropshire

That green cheese was most welcome (with an onion),

Coarse maslin bread; and for his daily swig,

Milk, buttermilk, and water, whey and whig,

Sometimes metheglin, and by fortune happy,

He sometimes sipped a cup of ale most nappy.

Here is help decoding the poem:

Green cheese– doesn’t mean the cheese is green in color.  Rather that the cheese is a ‘new cheese’ that hasn’t ripened.  Or a cheese made from whey that is eaten without ripening such as cottage cheese, Neufchatel, mozzarella, or chevre.

Maslin: Medieval bread made from a wheat and rye mixture.

Whey:  The liquid remaining after milk has curdled.  Little Miss Muffet eats curds and whey which is the curdled milk and the liquid left afterwards.

Whig: Don’t know!  Do you??

Metheglin: Is a flavored honey wine.  Plain honey wine is called mead.  If you flavor the mead with a fruit or a spice it is called a metheglin.  It was originally a welsh word meaning medicinal liquor.

Nappy:  is a shallow serving bowl.  The word comes from the Middle English word nap, meaning bowl.  Nappies used to be placed under a foamy beer to catch the overflow. In the case of the poem it means that the beer was foamy.


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