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Your questions answered?

Last week we asked what does humble pie consist of and who baked the first one?

When the posh folk of old Northumberland tucked into their roast venison, everyone else made do with the umbles, deer offal, which consists of the entrails, heart and liver.

Umbles are apparently at their best when baked in a pie with beef suet, apples, currants, sugar, salt, nutmeg and pepper.

But even dressed up with all these ingredients the dish was very much second best compared to tender venison.

A pie made from offal was originally a numble pie (from the French word nombles and Latin lumbulus meaning a little loin).

But by mistaken word division the word became umble. The H seems to have been added by mistake before the invention of the phrase meaning to be humiliated or made to be submissive.

The implication was that umble pie was very much meant for lowly class citizens.

People were certainly eating it in the mid-seventeeth century.

There were mentions of humble pie in literature from 1648.

The phrase to eat humble pie first appeared in print in Forby's Vocabulary of East Anglia in 1830.

We also asked, how much does one person eat in a lifetime?

In a lifetime you'll eat an average 2,000 to 2,500 calories a day, although obviously lots of people consume much more.

But those who over indulge can relax, you cannot keep eating until your stomach bursts.

Once food gets into the stomach, it is mixed with gastric juices and becomes a soupy liquid called chyme.

The stomach has elastic walls and can expand as you eat to hold up to seven pints of chyme.

Any more and you will start to feel full and your body just won't let you carry on.

If you live for 75 years, this is the equivalent of about 250,000 slices of bread thickly spread with butter.

This week, Kay Craig, of South Gosforth, asks: Can you predetermine the sex of your child?

There are three schools of thought on this, without resorting to tampering with sperm.

Professor Stolkowshi's diet method states that women who want to increase their chances of conceiving a boy should eat a diet rich in sodium and potassium (salty foods, white bread, pasta, rice, fresh fruit and vegetables.)

Those who want a girl should stick to a diet rich in calcium and magnesium and low in salt (milk, fresh cream, yoghurt, and only a little meat or fish.)

French scientist Patrick Schoun believes that timing is everything. For a fee he will work a love-making calendar based on a woman's polarity cycle.

According to his research, the human ovum carries an electrical charge, either positive or negative, which changes during the fertile period.

A positively charged egg attracts `X' sperm, giving a baby girl, whereas a negatively charged egg attracts `Y' sperm, producing a boy.

A certain Dr Jonus from the Czech Republic says women have two periods of fertility every month: The well known biological menstrual cycle, and the second rather less well-known one, which he claims is controlled by the gravitational effects of the moon in relation to the sun at the time the child is born.

Some posers for next week: When was food first preserved in tin cans?

And why, in football when a footballer scores three goals is it called a `hat-trick'?

If you know the answers, or would like to ask a question of your own, write to Your Questions Answered, Evening Chronicle, Features, NE1 1ED.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 10, 2004
Words:588
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