petrusplancius (petrusplancius) wrote in unusual_words,
petrusplancius
petrusplancius
unusual_words

Cockle-bread

This was bread prepared in a rather special way, women would knead the dough between their naked thighs before baking it; it was supposed to serve as a love-charm or aphrodisiac. Here is John Aubrey on the matter:

" Young wenches have a wanton sport which they call moulding of
Cockle-bread, viz. they get upon a table-board, and then gather up their
knees and their coates with their hands as high as they can, and then
they wabble to and fro, as if they were kneading of dowgh, and say
these words, viz.

My dame is sick and gonne to bed,
And Fie go mould my Cockle-bread.

I did imagine nothing to have been in this but meer wantonnesse of
youth. But I find in Burchardus, in his "Methodus Confitendi," printed
at Colon, 1549, (he lived before the Conquest,) one of the Articles (on
the VII. Commandment) of interrogating a young woman is, " If she
did ever, subigere panem clunibus and then bake it, and give it to
one she loved to eate, "ut in majorem modum exardesceret amor." So
here I find it to be a relique of naturall magick an unlawful philtrum.

White Kennet adds, in a side note, " In Oxfordshire, the Maids,
when they put themselves into the fit posture, sing thus,

My granny is sick, and now is dead,
And wee'l goe mould some Cockle Bread,
Up with my heels and down with my head,
And this is the way to mould Cockle-bread." "

It is mentioned in this poem by George Peele:

Fair maiden, white and red,
Comb me smooth, and stroke my head;
And thou shalt have some cockle bread.
Gently dip, but not too deep,
For fear thou make the golden beard to weep.
Fair maid, white and red,
Comb me smooth, and stroke my head;
And every hair a sheave shall be,
And every sheave a golden tree.
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