Friday, April 24, 2009

What would Shakespeare eat?


Lafeu: 'Twas a good lady, 'twas a good lady: we may pick a thousand salads ere we light on such another herb.
Clown: Indeed, sir, she was the sweet marjoram of the salad, or rather, the herb of grace.

- All's Well That Ends Well, Shakespeare

Alas! It appears my favorite big-city mayor, Chicago's own Richard M. Daley declared April 23rd as "Talk Like Shakespeare Day" to celebrate the 445th birthday of the man many consider the greatest playwright in the English language. In a proclamation, Daley encouraged city residents to "screw their courage to the sticking place and celebrate Shakespeare by vocal acclamation of his words."
Although I'm now in Atlanta, I would have happily played along had I known beforehand. Any excuse to unleash the inner bard! My coworkers would have loved it, I'm sure. "Prithee good sirrah! Wouldst thou pass yonder stapler?"

You know what? Who cares if it was officially yesterday? I say every day can be "Talk Like Shakespeare Day." As a matter of fact, if any driver dare cut me off this afternoon, I'll call him or her an "unwholesome plume-plucked scurvy-knave!" (Thanks to the Shakespearean Insults Generator for that gem!)
For all my fellow Shakespeare lovers, if you need assistance evoking his vernacular, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater has unveiled a Web site featuring everything from a rap song about the finer points of speaking Shakespearean to a Twitter feed where generous bards translate your 21st-century English into its 16th-century equivalent. There are also tips on how to gab like Willy. Check it out...

How to Talk like Shakespeare
* Instead of you, say thou. Instead of y’all, say thee.
* Rhymed couplets are all the rage.
* Men are Sirrah, ladies are Mistress, and your friends are all called Cousin.
* Instead of cursing, try calling your tormenters jackanapes or canker-blossoms or poisonous bunch-back’d toads.
* Don’t waste time saying "it," just use the letter "t" (’tis, t’will, I’ll do’t).
* Verse for lovers, prose for ruffians, songs for clowns.
* When in doubt, add the letters "eth" to the end of verbs (he runneth, he trippeth, he falleth).
* To add weight to your opinions, try starting them with methinks, mayhaps, in sooth or wherefore.
* When wooing ladies: try comparing her to a summer’s day. If that fails, say "Get thee to a nunnery!"
* When wooing lads: try dressing up like a man. If that fails, throw him in the Tower, banish his friends and claim the throne.

And since this IS a blog about eating healthy, here are a few modern-day, low-calorie variations of food recipes that Shakespeare just might have enjoyed when he was alive. Thanks to Atlanta's own Shakespeare Tavern for the menu ideas!

Shepherd's Pie

Cornish Pastry

Splenda Brown Sugar Apple Crisp

More recipes with a sugar substitute.

Finally, since it's Friday and I'm heading into a weekend full of festivals, birthday parties and other fun events, here is my stab at a Shakespearean sign-out, courtesy of the afore-mentioned Twitter feed: "By my fay, must end this week, so much imbibing may I partake!"

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