Saturday, 24 October 2009

Knives and spoons bring pantaloons . . .

I grew up with a very superstitious mother, although at the time I would not have known that was what it was. I only knew that everyday occurrences were always accompanied with a "saying" or two . . . like for instance "Knives and spoons bring pantaloons, and forks bring gentle ladies." If we were to drop any cutlery at all, it meant a visitor was coming. A fork meant it would be a lady and knives or spoons would bring gentlemen. It was good luck to put on a piece of clothing inside out, but woe betide us if we dast to change it around to right side out . . . for our luck would then change as well. Shoes on the table??? Definitely bad luck, as was spilling the salt. You had to throw a pinch over your shoulder without looking to undo the spell . . . although I cannot remember exactly which shoulder it took! I thought it would be fun this morning to mention a few others that I can remember.

The opening of a door of it's own accord indicated that a visitor was on the way, whilst the slamming of the same door would damage the spirit of the house and not allowed.

When baking bread, it is wise to remember . . . "She that pricks bread with fork or knife; will never be a happy maid or wife." A loaf that splits open while it is in the oven warns of a death to come in the family; a loaf with a hollow centre presages a death; it is unlucky to turn a loaf upside down after cutting the first slice, for this will cause the head of the household to fall illl; if a loaf crumbles in your hand as you are cutting it, there is going to be a quarrel before too long; and if you drop a slice of bread buttered side up . . . a visitor will arrive in due time!

When you have finished eating your boiled egg this morning, be sure the crush the shell or push a spoon through the bottom to avoide bad luck. This stems from the belief that witches collect up the empty shells and use them to go to sea and wreak havoc on hapless mariners. Also, make sure you don't bring any boiled eggs into the house after dark . . . it's bad luck!

To stir a teapot anti-clockwise will stir up a quarrel. If two women pour from the same pot, one of them will have a baby within a year. (uh oh) My mother believed in "reading tea leaves" to predict the future and also cards. Many hours were spent in these pursuits. She had a special deck on cards on the dresser in her bedroom, and God help the person who dared to tamper with them!

Crossing two knifes was bad luck as was giving a knife to someone as a present, or receiving one as a present, for that act would mean a "cutting" of the friendship . . . an action remedied only by passing a coin in return.

If two spoons are found in a teacup, there will be a wedding in the family. If you drop one and it lands with the bowl upwards, you are in for a pleasant surprise.

Members of the opposite sex should never dry themselves with the same towel as this will invariably lead to a quarrel between them.

When washing up, if you break a plate or cup you can expect another breakage before the day is through . . . unless . . . you deliberately break or smash some other small item to avoide the bad luck!!

When rising from the table take care not to upset your chair, for this is a sign that you have lied at sometime during your dinnertime conversation! Anyone who lies down on a table will die within a year; any engaged girl who sits on a table whilst talking to her fiance risks losing him. To place your chair back against the wall or fold your napkin after a meal at a friends home, will prevent you from ever visting there again.

To break a mirror resulted in seven years bad luck. Be sure to cover over any mirrors in a room where someone has died, for to look in such a mirror means that the seer will similarly die.

It's extremely unlucky to pass anyone on the stairs. (be sure to cross your fingers if you do!) Stumbling on the staircase is said to be good luck though and there will be a wedding in the household before too long!

Singing in the bath leads to sorrow before day is through, and sadly the girl who splashes water on herself whilst she is washing up . . . well, she will marry a drunkard.

Make sure you always get out of your bed on the right side, to get out on the left is associated with the devil. But, if you can't avoid having to do so . . . make sure you put on your right sock and shoe first!

Place any china ornaments of animals so that they are facing away from the doorway. If place facing it, they will allow all the luck to run out of the house. It is extremely unlucky to sweep any dirt or dust directly out of the house as this will carry any good luck out with it. Sweet such waste into the centre of the room, and collect it up in a pan to avoide such repercussions! However if you bring a new broom home, make sure you sweep some dirt into the house first, for this is good luck!

A bird that flies into a house, fortells an important message, whereas if one hits your window and dies . . . there's sure to be a death in the family. If a bird poops on your car, it's good luck! Likewise if it poops on your head!

Seeing one crow is bad, two is lucky, three means good health, four brings wealth, five mean sickness and six . . . well bad luck to you, you're a goner for sure!

A peacock feather has an evil eye at the end. Never bring one into the house. Wishes made on the first robins of the spring come true. Eating carrots improves your night vision. Fish is brain food, chewing gum swallowed remains in your body for seven years, eating the crust of the bread makes your hair curl, a pimple on the tongue means you have lied, holding a buttercup beneath the chin can indicate whether you like butter or not . . . I could go on and on, but I won't!

This richly embroidered childhood surely never did us any harm, but it did make for an interesting life. Whilst these things may or may not be true, it doesn't really matter much in the scheme of things. I know I shall never drop a piece of cutlery without hearing my mother's gentle voice whispering . . . knive and spoons bring pantaloons . . .

Now, I better go and get dressed. A little bird just sat on the windowsill and I am sure to be getting some company real soon!!

This is a recipe from my Big Blue Binder. I can't remember where it came from, only that it's incredibly easy and very delicious! This was pretty much the only way I could get my kids to eat oatmeal when they were growing up.

*Amish Baked Oatmeal*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

This is probably one of the most delicious ways you are ever going to be able to eat your morning oats! I'm not sure if it's really an Amish recipe or not, but I can attest to it's goodness. I always had to double the recipe as my kids loved it! It tastes very similar to oatmeal cookies. Yummy!!

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 large egg
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
warm milk and fresh fruit to serve

Pre-heat the oven to 350*F/180*C. Butter a 9 by 13 inch pan very well. Set aside.

Combine the oats, sugar, milk, butter, egg, baking powder, salt and vanilla together in a bowl. Mix well. Spread into the buttered dish. Bake until lightly browned, some 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm, spooned into bowls, with a topping of warm milk, fruit and some brown sugar if you wish.

Note - You can add some spices if you wish. From time to time I like to add 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon and 1/4 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg.

There's a tasty upside down apricot cake baking over in The English Kitchen today. Be sure to check it out!!

Happy Saturday everyone. Don't go stepping on any cracks, and do make sure to avoid any black cats!


  1. I thought my grandmother and mother were bad at old wives've topped theirs for sure. I too grew up hearing lots of them. There were some truths to what they said but you know I've dropped lots of silver ware in my day and the company never appeared... I do hope your Saturday is a great one. The baked oatmeal sounds really good and with colder weather I may just have to make some.

  2. My goodness that is one comprehensive list....I remember being told that you had to toss salt over your left shoulder. this was to blind the "god" so he didn't see the waste.

    Have a wonderful day

  3. We must be related!!! LOL My Mom said many of those same lines & had a few others, too. Like "never mend an article of clothing while wearing it". I hear my Mom's voice in many of your sayings. :)

    I hope to try your baked oatmeal this morning & wanted to ask about the sugar. It looks like we're to use regular sugar in the ingredients list but in the instructions you state "use MORE brown sugar if you wish". Are we supposed to use BROWN sugar in the recipe?

  4. Sorry Retta, that should read SOME brown sugar if you wish. My kids always liked some brown sugar sprinkled on top of theirs. Sorry for the confusion! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

  5. Hi Marie,
    My mother was always very superstitious too, but she comes from
    southern Italy, which is known for people being very superstitious.

    She had superstitions related to cutlery being crossed, or bread being put on the table wrong side up too.

    Have a nice weekend.

  6. Thank you for the claification, Marie!
    I didn't want to goof it up on my first go 'round. LOL

  7. i hadn't heard most of those-so funny:) my mom isn't superstitious at all, so thats probably why. thanks for sharing those-very interesting!

    have a great weekend marie!

  8. Wow, that is a huge list of things to remember. My mom used to tell me that eating carrots would help me see in the dark, but that's all I ever heard as a kid. I think that was just a trick to get me to eat carrots. That was a fun entry...thanks for sharing. Linda in Washington state

  9. These old wives tales brought back such memories of my own Mother..and the tea leaf reading !!It is funny how they seem to remain with us and although we have no faith in them at all..we still seem to say them !!
    Love Sybil xx

  10. This post made me laugh as I grew up hearing a great number of these from my own mother, however hers were spoken in Portuguese! You did have some new ones I hadn't heard before.

  11. That was so cool on the reading. What was interesting to say the least is how similar sayings are even clear across the ocean. We are from Guam originally and reading your posts I could also hear my mom and grandmother saying many of the same things how funny is that what's even funnier I find myself like you said reverting to those sayings and jumping to action when one would cross my mind. Too funny.

  12. Oh, those are hilarious! I wish you would share more. :-)


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