The original question...
Posted by Word Camel on January 05, 2005
In Reply to: Crusty tales posted by Word Camel on January 05, 2005
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: : : : : : : I was having trouble understanding the meaning of this phrase, and could really use some help.
: : : : : : : "Did your mother cut off your crusts?" I have also heard "You should eat your crusts"
: : : : : : I don't know about elsewhere in the world, but American schoolchildren eat a lot of sandwiches. Sometimes their mothers cut off the crust. Well, of course, there are restaurants that do the same, but the more common experience has mom cutting off the crusts. Or not. SS
: : : : : Some fussy children refuse to eat bread crusts. An indulgent mother might pamper them by removing the crust from bread before serving it. I haven't heard "Did your mother...," but I can imagine it used as a retort to an adult who expects others to do favors for him. A known catchphrase for the same situation is "What did your last servant die of?"
: : : : In the UK children are, or at least used to be, encouraged to eat their crust by being told, "you won't get curly hair unless you eat your crusts". That worked on me as a tot. I can clearly remember the time that I realised that I didn't want to have curly hair anyway.
: : : Part of our obesity training as children was to be encouraged to join the "Clean Plate Club" or to be reminded of the starving children in fill-in-the-blank. ("Yeah, sure. Name two.") One peculiar manifestation of this was my mother's bland assurance that you could make a wish if you ate the "point of the pie" last. When I was finally old enough for my latent cynicism to bloom, I asked her if she really believed that. No, she assured me, it was just a mother's way to insure that the pie crust got eaten.
: : It's amazing how many people think it's acceptable to lie to a child.
: I'm surprised no one has mentioned the claim that eating the crusts will enable one to whistle like a bird. I suppose this is because birds like bread crusts, though I'm not sure they'd prefer to any other part of the bread. My mother couldn't quite remember all of this and simply told me to eat them because the birds do.
"Did your mother cut off your crusts?" might mean, "did your mother indulge you?" Most kids don't like the crusts in my experience and learning to eat them is a necessary evil.