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Jacob's join

Posted by Masakim on August 05, 2003

In Reply to: Jacob's joint posted by JTF on August 05, 2003

: The phrase is used of a shared meal - where everybody brings something and puts it on a table for people to help themselves.

: It is commonly used in the mountainous area of Lancashire and Yorkshire but I have not found it used outside.

: But what does it mean and is it used elsewhere?

Jacob's join. What is sometimes called a 'faith supper' in church circles, i.e. the eating equivalent of a bottle party, each participant making a contribution to the communal meal. (Cf. the Aus. and NZ invitation 'Ladies, a plate'.) Miss Margaret Pilkington, of Accrington, Lancashire, a teacher of English, from whom I first heard the term, writes 'evidently belonging to a quite limited region. But no one could suggest an origin for it, though all say it should be Biblical' (P.B., 1976). Such terms are difficult to provide with an etym.; for one thing, some of them are far more widely distributed than one has suspected.
From A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, 8th ed by Eric Partridge & Paul Beale
There's only so much of a reheated lentil concoction you can take before you need real food. Which is why I was glad when Thursday evening rolled around and I could go round to my friend Matthew's house to eat a decent home-cooked meal.
My friend Vicky had told me about this thing called Jacob's Join, where each person turns up at a friend's house with a different course. This was tricky with £3 left but I decided it would be a nice gesture and managed to arrive with a very cheap and nasty looking apple pie.
--Lisa Bachelor, "Surviving on a student budget," _The Guardian_, October 4, 200s