Lesser Known Moments in History: Thou Shall Not Make Bread with thy Butt!

Around the turn of the first millennia, the medieval church was undergoing a process of internal reform (this isn’t the lesser known part). Widespread efforts were made to curb the trend towards material wealth and secular power by some elements within the church, and to restore the church to its original purpose of spreading the faith amongst the people.

Burchard of Worms, then the powerful bishop of that city (Worms is near modern Frankfurt), got involved in these reforms. He is credited with penning some of the major religious tracts of the era. He was also known, however, as having a few, shall we say, “quirks.”

Burchard had this great concern and fear about medieval women tempting their husbands into sinful behavior through the use of magic or wanton behavior…while in the kitchen. His concerns were so great that he even wrote a penitential, advising women not to be naughty while making bread.

Translated from the original Latin, he insisted that a virtuous woman “would refrain from inflaming her husband’s passions by kneading the dough with her buttocks.”

True story.

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