Etiquette & superstition: lemon


Do you know that song “Lemon Tree”? It goes, “Lemon tree, very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet, but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat…“. I never understood that song, because my dad could eat an entire lemon. Not like in one swallow or anything, but he could eat the whole thing. Anyway.

ETIQUETTE: It’s hard to find older etiquette tips about how to squeeze a lemon without squirting your tablemates in the eye, maybe because everybody in the past just knew how to do this sort of thing and it seemed as obvious as breathing. I have to admit that it seems obvious to me as well, so let’s talk about lemon slices in the finger bowl. Emily Post is rather precise and withering about this subject, noting that at a fancy occasion some flowers may be acceptable floating in the finger bowl water, but “A slice of lemon is never seen outside of a chop-house where eating with the fingers may necessitate the lemon in removing grease.” Ouch.

SUPERSTITION: If a girl wants to know about her future love life, she should simply take the peel of a lemon and stick it under her armpit for a day. At the end of the day, she should take the lemon peel and rub it on all four posters of her bed (girls without proper beds with posters may be out of luck here). If she is lucky in love, her future lover will appear to her in a dream that night bearing two lemons. I wasn’t able to find any information about what it means if she dreams about a future lover bearing one lemon, or three oranges, or no citrus fruit whatsoever.

Photo by Joe Shlabotnik on flickr; sorry I cropped you out of the photo, Joe.

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