meat, raucous spectacle, custom, Chaucer, and wedded bliss
January 2, 2023 8:19 AM   Subscribe

There's a now-revived old tradition that happy married couples are eligible for a "flitch" of bacon (basically half a pig), as decided and awarded at "the Dunmow Flitch Trials -- "if they can satisfy the Judge and Jury of 6 maidens and 6 bachelors that in 'twelvemonth and a day', they have 'not wisht themselves unmarried again'". The trials involve counsel for the claimants arguing against counsel for the bacon, cross-examinations, and a lot of laughs. 2-minute clip of a trial from 1930; 43-minute video of a 2016 trial (spoiler for results).

Successful claimants swear an oath, and then receive the flitch:
If to these conditions without all fear,
Of your own accord you will freely swear,
A whole gammon of bacon you shall receive,
And bear it hence with love and good leave:
For this is our custom at Dunmow well known,
Tho' the pleasure be ours, the bacon's your own.
The next Dunmow Flitch Trials will be in July 2024.
posted by brainwane (16 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I have watched Made in Heaven, a farcical 1952 British comedy that uses the flitch trial as a major plot device. If you like cartoony farce it's fine!
posted by brainwane at 8:26 AM on January 2, 2023 [3 favorites]

This is absolutely wonderful.
posted by thivaia at 8:53 AM on January 2, 2023 [2 favorites]

"counsel for the bacon"

2023 career goals confirmed.
posted by mhoye at 9:40 AM on January 2, 2023 [10 favorites]

Not to be confused with a Fletch, which is bacon from a laid-back wisecracking journalist.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:52 AM on January 2, 2023 [1 favorite]

Regulatory capture has been out of control for some while, but I'm pretty sure supplying bacon made from laid-back wisecracking journalists would still get you a spot on the naughty list.
posted by flabdablet at 11:03 AM on January 2, 2023

But what if he's also a ham (or a Hamm)?
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:21 AM on January 2, 2023 [2 favorites]

I think this is what the romantic comedy folks call the 'meat-cute'?
posted by bartleby at 11:24 AM on January 2, 2023 [12 favorites]

Stop trying to make flitch happen.
posted by dr_dank at 11:33 AM on January 2, 2023 [9 favorites]

Fair is fair.
posted by rhizome at 11:36 AM on January 2, 2023

Also, in the July 2016 trial, counsel for the bacon argues that this couple, married just under two years prior, cannot actually know what marriage is like yet and is still in their honeymoon period, and will surely start arguing shortly. In response, a counsel for the claimant calls his opponents old and bitter, appeals to his fellow younger people on the jury, and pleads: "They dragged us out of the EU -- don't let them drag us out of believing in love!"
posted by brainwane at 11:37 AM on January 2, 2023 [7 favorites]

Hmm... I seem to be owed a pig and a half. Makes sense. Who do I talk to?
posted by Splunge at 11:46 AM on January 2, 2023

I think there is a lifetime limit of one flitch per couple. Email for more info! Including if you want to claim at the 2024 trials!
posted by brainwane at 12:00 PM on January 2, 2023

"A pig and a half" implies a certain amount of...discord, on multiple occasions!
posted by rhizome at 12:04 PM on January 2, 2023 [1 favorite]

"bring home the bacon" certainly has a much more specific context suddenly
posted by NoThisIsPatrick at 12:23 PM on January 2, 2023

Obligatory link to the Citation Needed episode about the Flitch of Bacon Custom.
posted by wanderingmind at 1:33 PM on January 2, 2023 [1 favorite]

I’m getting married this year; we should look into this! But a year and a day seem an awfully short time to try what is, after all, a lifelong commitment. There should be a seven-year flitch.
posted by TedW at 8:47 AM on January 3, 2023 [2 favorites]

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