Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fairy Tale Fridays - The Food Edition!

There are almost as many fairy tales centered around food as there are fairy tales centered around magical creatures or horrible stepmothers. I recently read several tales related to food - just as with all other fairy tales, they run the gamut from obscure to beloved, very short to long, obvious moral to "what the heck was the point of that story?"

In The Sweet Porridge, once again a child is proven to be smarter than all of the adults around. A little girl and her mother are poor and hungry until a crone in the forest gives the girl a pot that will make sweet porridge just for asking. The girl and her mother never have to go hungry again. Then one day, when the girl is gone, the mother asks the pot to make porridge. Unfortunately, she doesn't know how to "turn it off." It keeps making porridge until all of the village is swimming in the stuff. Only one house remains. Thanks heavens there's a child in it that thinks to say "stop pot." Really, this didn't occur to any of the adults?!

A number of the tales had obvious religious overtones. In The Ear of Corn, there was once a time, when "God himself still walked the earth," where corn stalks bore ten times the number of ears of corn and the ears grew the full length of the stalk. Then one day, as a mother and daughter walked through a field, the daughter fell in the mud. The mother used a handful of the corn to clean the dress. God, seeing the woman using his gift in such an ungrateful way, vowed to allow no more corn to grow. Giving into prayers, though, he allowed enough corn to grow on the stalks to feed the birds.

Perhaps the most famous of all foody fairy tales is Hansel and Gretel, the story of two hungry children lured deep into the forest in search of food. Finding a house entirely made of candies. Lured in by the woman who lived there, the children soon found themselves held by the woman who planned to fatten them up to eat. Once again, the children outsmarted the adult, throwing her into her own oven. No mean stepmother in this one, though. This time it's the children's own mother who tries to rid herself of them. Sadly, Hansel and Gretel weren't able to push her in the oven as well. But at least they were able to return home with their arms filled with jewels and the family never went hungry again.

I'm wondering if my family would like me to read them a foody fairy tale as a Thanksgiving entertainment? Maybe after a few glasses of wine, we'll enjoy them as high comedy!


  1. Hi there, my friend! Sorry I haven't been around lately. Hope all is well with you and yours. =O)

    I enjoyed your post. Hansel and Gretel has always been a favorite.

    Are you going to join me for The Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge (3rd annual) at my Christmas blog? I hope you can!

  2. I think food fairy tales are so interesting, and have never heard the one about the porridge or the corn! It's always amazing to me the strange and exotic fairy tales that you are able to discover for these posts, and I do so enjoy reading about them! This was a great post, and I do think you should read some of them to your family around the Thanksgiving table!

  3. An interesting post. I've never heard of 'The Ear of Corn'. 'Stone Soup', 'The Gingerbread Man' and 'The Enormous Turnip' were the sort I used to read to young children.

  4. Interesting post--"stop pot!" does seem to be a natural :)

  5. when I think of food in fairy tales I always think of Hansel and Gretel. I know--instead of reading the tales, you guys could act them out! ;)

  6. I've often thought that at times children are much smarter than adults! I love Hansel and Gretel...preferably Bugs Bunny's version (I'm hopeless, I know :D)