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  • Immortal Meals #13: Buttock Eating in Milton (Berkshire) March 10, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    sharp knife

    Patriotism is a very fine thing, but it can also make men and women act like asses: or even worse, chop off parts of their rumps and eat their own cooked flesh…. This patriotic feast, the latest in our immortal meals series, took place in 1650 or possibly in 1649 at Milton in Berkshire. Five royalists ‘out of zeale of affection to their King at Bredagh, would drink his health in blood, and to effect this, unanimously agreed to cut a peece of their Buttocks, and fry their flesh that was cut off on a grid iron.’ Angela McShane who discusses this episode in a recent essay tries to resolve the mystery of why grown men would act like this through almost twenty pages, juggling blood pacts, with sacramental satire and jokes about the Rump Parliament (get it?). But Angela probably has never sniffed glue or stayed after hours in a pub. These were just five idiots out for a good time: once their war and their cause had been lost. Presumably the prelude to this particularly brunch went something like this. ‘I love the King’. ‘Well, I love him more’. ‘Well, I’d give him my best horse and hunting dogs.’ ‘Well, I’d give him my daughter’s maidenhead.’ ‘Well, I’d… ‘ [Ten minutes pass] ‘Well, I’d cut off my own rump and eat it.’ ‘Come on then let’s see you….’ The matter ended in tears, of course, and pretty copious ones at that. The blood loss from the first cutter was so great that a surgeon had to be fetched and because of this summoning one of the wives of these five royalists burst in and prevented her husband from cutting off his own buttocks with some threatening fire tongs. Amazing really that they were still set on doing it after the surgeon was called: perhaps the first cavalier had cut his buttock all wrong?  Nor is this parliamentary propaganda. These five upstanding gentlemen (assuming that is that they wouldn’t sit much in the weeks that followed) were bound over to appear before the local judge, their sentence is unreported, though the hangover was probably very bad. Angela McShane. ‘The Extraordinary Case of the Blood-Drinking and Flesh-Eating Cavaliers’ The Extraordinary and the Everyday in Early Modern England (2010), 192-210 Beach is always interested in interesting meals: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

    And as it has been a while and I showed great self restraint in choosing the image above:

    The Immortal Meals Series

    1) Keats, Wordsworth and the Comptroller

    2) Eating in a Victorian Dinosaur

    3) Immortal Champagne Toast

    4) Eating a French King’s Heart

    5) Mannerheim and the Cigar

    6) Arguments at Tehran

    7) Papal Orgies

    8) The Ash Wednesday Supper

    9) The Discovery of Nero’s Rotating Dining Room

    10) Love Feast in Renaissance Florence

    11) Feasts at Hambledon Hill

    12) The Feast to End All Feasts