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Upper crust

Posted by Sir Peter Laurence-Keen on May 24, 2008 at 09:20

In answer to your correspondent's question re: 'the upper crust', who questioned 'when would the upper layers of society eat with the lower orders' - this was common practice at mealtimes in the 15th century when the Lord and his honoured guests occupied the top table, retainers or others who had earned the Lord's favours sat on his right hand at the 'reward' table and all others on his left hand. The bread was not sliced as it is today, starting at one end and logically through the loaf to the end, but horizontally, and the top of the loaf - the upper crust - was considered to be the tastiest part of the bread. The bottom of the bread was often burnt and was therefore given to those on the Lord's left hand, and what was left - the middle - which we consider the tastiest part - was left for the Reward table.