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Where Did The Term Baker’s Dozen Come From?

Where Did The Term Baker’s Dozen Come From?

While weather is most often the first thing people think of when they hear the words “Farmers’ Almanac,” the Almanac is also filled with answers to common sense, practical information, including origins of common phrases and sayings.  Enjoy!

Ever wonder where the term “baker’s dozen” originated?

In early England, it was well known that bakers gave short measures to their customers, because there was no way of checking weight. Consequently, a law was passed decreeing that any baker who sold twelve cakes to one person had to add a thirteenth (a “baker’s dozen”) to make up for the loss.

When women were baking, they soon found themselves caught up in ambiguity when they tried to follow a recipe. To make one of Martha Washington’s famous cakes, for instance, the First Lady advocated a “fistful of butter,” a “nutshell of sugar,” plus the proverbial “pinch of salt.” Thankfully, the adoption of basic units of measurement that are standard through the United States, plus protection of consumers by frequent checking of scales, have made weighs and means much easier

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

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