People Soup

Yes, I thought that would get your attention. 

But, the mediaeval fear of death and decay doesn’t have quite the same disgustoid appeal, now does it?  But they were.  Terrified of death and decay, that is.  Very.  And everything to do with the whole process–like maggots and rot and all that.  It scared the scabs off them.

Which is why when they talk about sending some king’s body back to wherever he hailed from, the mediaevalists aren’t telling you the whole truth.  Because they didn’t.  Send the whole thing back.  Intact and complete. 

Instead, they removed the heart to preserve it separately, and then chopped up the body parts and boiled them down–made people soup, as it were.  Then, when the flesh had been boiled off, they removed the bones, allowed them to dry, and encased those in a casket and shipped those back. 

Which is why, if you’re ever in Winchester Cathedral and they tell you that the bones of all the early Anglo-Saxon kings and queens are up in the rafters and you peer up there and those caskets look awfully small, it’s not because the Anglo-Saxons were actually pygmies, it’s because the caskets never contained anything but the bones.

And no, I don’t know what they did with the people soup.  Nor do I know what happened to the fellows whose job it was to perform this little human cuisine.  Nor do I know what they were called.  Though they should have had some clever title, don’t you think?

6 comments on “People Soup

  1. O. Maltravers says:

    Bennetts, how many hours has it been since someone told you that you are truly disgusting? Too many, clearly.

    • M M Bennetts says:

      That kind of thing is usually measured in minutes, not hours, do you see?

      • authorsanon says:

        mmmm. Or seconds, perhap. With a sandglass. As for what they were called : bas cuisine chefs ? Bone refiners ? Royal refiner ? Maybe that’s where Royal Jelly really originated from . . . I don’t feel too well now. Only just finished my dinner. Does put me in mind of M.R.James’s ‘A View from A Hill’ though . . . boiling bones comes into that, too. I think I shall go and hide under the duvet. (Curls up so that only whiskers and tips of ears are showing)

  2. How about Putre Factor? A bit like Motor Factor, really, except it was probably easier to deliver the wrong soup than the wrong car part. Or maybe not.

  3. Malcolm Mendey says:

    You’ve grown whiskers? Odd. Very odd.

    Something a little more appetizing next time please, dear M. People soup does not aid the digestive process.


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