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Rude food and riddles

Professor Andy Orchard presents Anglo-Saxon word puzzles

An Anglo-Saxon tapestry depicting a lute player (public domain image via WikiMedia Commons)

The Anglo-Saxons dominated English history from around 550-1066. During that time, they found many ways to celebrate their various appetites and interests, and riddles were a favourite method for joking about their hunger's bawdy double-meanings.

"I think when most people think of Anglo-Saxons, they think crude and rude," said English and Medieval Studies professor, Andy Orchard. "But in fact the riddles are very sophisticated texts composed both in Latin and in Old English."

Orchard recently presented a lecture titled, "Bite Me: Rude Food & the Anglo-Saxon Riddle Tradition" as part of the Jackman Humanities Institute's food-themed 2012-2013 program.

U of T News asked Orchard to share a few of his favourite riddles about feisty foodstuffs— and their solutions— in the videos that follow.

"TRIPPING UP WITH DISASTER"

 

"I BITE NO MAN UNLESS HE BITES ME"

 

"RECLINING IN FIVE BRANCHES"