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Why You Should Never, Ever Turn a Baguette Upside Down

Better safe than sorry.

<p>Getty Images</p>

Getty Images

If you've ever tossed a little salt over your shoulder, or seriously considered hanging garlic on your door frame to protect you from evil, then we've got one more food-focused superstition to add to your roster. And it involves never — ever — placing your bread upside down.

Specifically, there's an old French superstition that says it's very bad luck to ever place a loaf of bread — and even more specifically, a baguette — upside down on a table. Like most good superstitions, this one has a murky enough history to make it all sound believable without giving enough detail to either prove it or refute it.

As The Connexion explains, the belief begins with a tale dating back to the Middle Ages, when executioners had rather busy schedules. This meant they rarely had time to go into a bakery in the morning, so the baker would instead leave one specific loaf out for them, placing it face down so the executioner knew which loaf was meant only for them, and so the public knew which loaf to avoid.

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What would happen if you touched this cursed bread? Those who believe in the superstition say that placing a baguette face down means a hunger curse may befall you or anyone who eats it. But according to Flavors of Paris, you can undo the curse simply by drawing a cross with your knife on the flat side of the baguette before eating it.

Though this tradition now appears to only apply to baguettes, The Connexion noted it must have included all kinds of bread when the belief began, as the baguette wasn't invented until the mid-1800s, long after the Middle Ages.

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“Although this superstition is still prevalent today, there is a small hitch in the story,” Lisa Rankin, founder of Flavors of Paris, shared in a post. "Well, actually, a significant one … The story is said to have begun during medieval times, but the baguette only originated roughly between 1830 and 1900. If you do the math, it doesn’t add up, but the story is still a good one, nonetheless.”

So, next time you're out with friends, throw some salt over your shoulder — the left one — look everyone in the eye when you cheers, and check your bread. It's better to be safe than sorry. 

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