Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Goodness Gracious!

Day 3: Goodness Gracious!

In Colonial America, pineapples were a symbol of luxury and abundance. If a hostess could provide a pineapple to display on her table, it showed that she must be a wealthy, or at least resourceful, housewife, so trade in the fruit was brisk. In fact, pineapples were so much in demand that they were sometimes rented for a day's use.

Psychologists in America and Germany have shown that making a facial expression alters our mood. If we make an angry face, our heart rate shoots up. If we smile, we find life much funnier. A Pearl Girl could have told you this without a lot of expensive studies or fancy degrees! We always keep a smile on our faces, and we know that it makes us (an those around us) much happier.

Until 1879, crude curling irons heated over the fire were the only method of bringing a wave to those flat locks. That year, Marcel Grateau invented a gadget that produced marcel wave. In 1906, a German stylist developed an expensive (and often painful) twelve-hour process called the permanent wave. We Pearl Girls don't need to go though pain for a permanent wave, honey--we've already got our hands flapping!

We Southern girls aren't the first belles to love pearls. Cleopatra was reported to have swallowed pearls as a symbol of her endless extravagance, and Elizabeth I of England is said to have worn pearls in abundance to symbolize her virginity.

In the Colonial United States, beverages in taverns were served in pint and quarter containers. When a guest would be a little rowdy, the tavern keeper would shout "mind your p's and q's" to keep them in line. When we tell our rowdy little sons and daughters today to mind their p's and q's, let's hope it's sugar hepping them up, and not ale.

In the nineteenth-century American Southwest, there was a lot of testosterone and nothing much to do but stare at the cattle. Inevitably, this combination produced bulldogging, a form of man-cattle wrestling. If the man had any hope of not being maimed or killed, he had to grab the animal's horns and throw him. From this tactic came the phrase "take the bull by the horns," meaning "to take decisive action."

Drinking liquor and shooting firearms were, until recently, common at funerals in some parts of the South. Unless you plan on having a follow-up funeral, however, I don't recommend bringing back these traditions.

**All excerpts are taken from Puttin' on the GRITS: A Guide to Southern Entertaining, by Deborah Ford.


  1. What a fun series. This book looks like a good read.

    Totally jealous that I'm not a Southern Belle!

  2. I am completely intrigued now. Must pick up a copy. Gotta love the South!!

  3. Love reading about random facts especially anything to do with the south…..since I’m also a southern gal as well. The bit about pineapple was interesting. Look at how far we’ve come!

    Love your name by the way. I hope to someday have a little girl named Hannah Grace.

    Kendra “Domestic Princess in Training”

  4. Just popped over from Shawna's "poppies and sunshine"...Love the random facts...who knows when a girl will NEED to know about the origin of "P's" and "Q's" just never knows
    Cute on Rosie

  5. This seems to be such an absolutely fabulous read!!