English: Bakers Oven Early 19th century shop and dwelling on the corner of Bailgate and Westgate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As we swing into the season of baking I thought this bit of idiom history would be of interest. Mmmm, coconut macaroon, anyone?
BAKER’S DOZEN: HISTORY Once upon a time in long ago England bakers cheated. At least some of them did. Weighing out their goods some of these dishonest bakers would employ short weights which meant paying out more money when buying buns, breads, and cakes. The powers of weights and measures thought this quite wrong and decreed heavy penalties for bakers who practiced weighing short on their goods. Not wanting to incur the wrath of the law bakers decided to increase their popularity by giving away an extra when purchasing twelve. A baker’s dozen became a custom and carried over into modern times.
Who doesn’t like getting an extra tasty bakery treat?
I’ve heard of bakers dozen used in many different ways–anywhere from describing that odd extra to receiving a freebie. I’m wondering how bakery goods were sold way back then if weighing were involved. I like the per piece myself. “Wait, I’ll that one (the BIG cookie), yeah, that one right there.”