Sunday, January 16, 2011

Word of the Week: Tyromancy

cheeseSo I am a total geek.  I will admit it.  Usually when I drive, I have my radio on NPR.  Yesterday, I was listening to Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s show, The Splendid Table.  I am also a bit of a foodie.  I can talk food anyplace, anytime.  So for me this is a great show, and I can get some good ideas about cooking.  Well, yesterday’s trivia question was about the word Tyromancy, which I found fascinating.

Tyromancy is divination by cheese – by the interpretation of the signs that appear as the cheese coagulates. Unfortunately, no book written by an enlightened one has appeared to help us read those signs, so we must make it up as we go along, or rely on our intuitive interpretation.  The word tyromancy is derived from the Greek tūros ('cheese') and manteia ('prophecy').

job_interview_fortune_tellerDuring the Middle Ages, Tyromancy was used to predict the future by looking at the shape, number of holes, pattern of the mold and other characteristics of the cheese. It was also practiced to prognosticate love, money and death.

Tyromancy was also used by young maidens in countryside villages to predict the names of their future husbands. They write the names of their prospective suitors on separate pieces of cheese and the one whose name was on the piece of cheese where molds grew first was believed to be the ideal love mate.

Another method involves writing the possible answers to a question on separate pieces of cheese and placing them in a cage with hungry rodent. The piece that the mouse ate first will be the answer to the question. This form of divination was related to Myomancy.

Omens were also drawn from the patters and designs formed by the coagulation of cheese.

Here's a recipe that might tell us who our future husband will be:

Camembert Divination Toast
  • 1 Camembert Cheese
  • slices of Graham or Boston brown bread or crackers
  • salt and paprika
  1. Remove the crust from a creamy Camembert cheese, spread the cheese thickly on slices of bread or crackers,
  2. dust with salt and paprika, and bake in a quick oven – 375 degrees F. – from five to eight minutes, or until the surface of the cheese is golden brown.
In Mrs. Allen on cooking, menus, service: 2500 recipes; 1924

5 comments:

jaygeemmm said...

Oh brother! What will they think of next? LOL

Interesting as always, Joe, thanks!

Peace <3
Jay

(captcha: etondead - hmmmm)

djc314 said...

Fascinating...just wonder what they would think of chesse wiz! Hey did you get the pic I sent you for your story friend?

JoeBlow said...

Jay, I'm glad you liked it. I found it very interesting. I never considered looking at my cheese for a husband.

djc: Who knows what they would think of cheese wiz, LOL. I did get the picture you sent me, and it is a wonderful picture. I'm going to try and catch up on all of my emails tomorrow during my day off.

Uncutplus said...

OK, Joe!

Next lesson: "Reading Tea Leaves"

My word verification is "mythry" which all of this is!

JoeBlow said...

LOL, Uncutplus. It's amazing the things people have used throughout history to try and divine the future.