Families that could obtain pork considered themselves quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was an outward sign of wealth that a man could "bring home the bacon." Another indication was to cut off a sliver of bacon to share with guests and sit around to "chew the fat."
Those with money had plates made of pewter. Unknowingly at the time, food with a high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.
Most people did not have pewter plates, but had trenchers, a piece of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl. Often trenchers were made from stale bread, which was so old and hard that they could be reused for quite some time. Trenchers were never washed, and worms and mold got into the wood and old bread. After eating off wormy, moldy trenchers, one would get "trench mouth."
Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or "upper crust."
Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days. Someone walking along roadside would often take them for dead, and prepare them for burial. The "deceased" were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days, and families would gather around, and eat, drink and wait to see if the party would wake up, thus began the custom of holding a "wake."
England is old and small, and the locals started running out of places to bury people. They would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a "bone-house" and reuse the grave. When re-opening coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside. Realizing they had been burying people alive came the thought of looping a string around the wrist of the corpse, through a hole in the coffin, and up through the ground attached to a bell. Someone had to sit in the graveyard all night (the "graveyard shift") to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be "saved by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer."
And that's the truth, folks. Who said History was boring?!