Cockle bread facts for kids
|Place of origin||England|
|Main ingredients||corn or wheat flour|
|Ingredients generally used||Cockle weed|
Cockle bread was an inferior type of British corn or wheat bread mixed with "cockle weed". Cockle bread is also mentioned in a 19th-century nursery rhyme.
Cockle weed bread
The play The Old Wives' Tale by George Peele, first published in 1595, has a reference to "cockle-bread". The editor of a 20th-century edition of the play, Charles Whitworth, points to the "cockle" as a weed found in corn and wheat fields, and suggests that "cockle-bread" was possibly an inferior bread, made from those grains, with the weed mixed into it. William Carew Hazlitt writing in Faith and Folklore: a dictionary in 1905, gives the same explanation of "Cockle Bread" as Whitworth.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, Cockle-Bread became the name of a children's game, played to a nursery rhyme in which the bread is mentioned:
My granny is sick and now is dead.
And we'll go mould some cocklety bread.
Up with the heels and down with the head.
And that's the way to make cocklety bread.
Writing in Observations on the Popular Antiquities of Great Britain in 1854, John Brand describes the nursery rhyme as "modern", but adds that its connection to the earlier "moulding" of cockle bread "is by no means generally understood".