(Here are two loaves of bread–leavened and unleavened. The bread of those earlier times was ‘unleavened,’ meaning it didn’t rise to great heights, as bread does now. All the more reason the upper crust was so valuable.)
We all know the “upper crust” are those folks who rose above others, economically and socially: the nobility, the patricians, the aristocrats. They had the wealth and the blood lines (it was said to be ‘blue’) to command a different station than the rest.
But do you know the real meaning of the term (not the colloquial meaning)? Apparently, in the days of castles, knights and fiefdom, at castle dinners, unleavened bread was cut and given out to folks in order of their rank. The top slice, the upper crust (the preferred) was given out to the highest among them; the others received inferior cuts of bread, as they descended in importance in life.
The servants got the crumbs…
Now, you know how the term came about. It’s just another valuable tidbit you’ll glean from “Rick Steve’s Europe” (I love this show.) For all who can’t travel to other world regions, just put him on (he’s on PBS) and discover a wealth of knowledge and some really interesting facts and local folklore (he’s not all stodgy.)
All the more reason why we need to support these types of programs (PBS) with our donations. The quality is unparalleled and they provide terrific public service. Click on this link for general information about Rick Steves.