Fortune-Telling and the Meaning of Food in Dreams in the 1800s

One popular way to determine a person’s fortune in the 1800s was through dreams. Dreams supposedly could foretell what would happen to a person and whether the person would have good or bad luck. For instance, if a person had a dream about barking dogs it was considered a sign of misfortune whereas a dream about playing cards signified good luck in the future. People also had dreams about food, which could indicate good or back luck, as indicated below:

ALMONDS – Dreaming about these nuts signified embarrassment, although it was also said that embarrassment could be avoided with care. Moreover, to eat them in a dream foretold good fortune.
APPLES – It was stated that “if you take them from the tree, it signifies that you will be persecuted. If they are ripe and ruddy, and you eat them, it will bring much happiness. If they are sour, you will shortly quarrel with someone.”[1]
APRICOTS – To see them in a dream meant that person would be disappointed in whatever he or she hoped for, but to eat them meant good fortune. That is, unless it was the time of year when almonds were out of season, then it denoted great misfortune and if they were dry, it was thought they would bring sorrow.
ARTICHOKES – To see artichokes in a dream meant secret trouble whereas eating them in a dream meant you should expect trouble.

Meaning of food in dreams in the 1800s

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BACON – Dreaming of bacon denoted the death of some friend or relation, and it was also thought a person’s enemies would try to cause the person mischief whereas if the person was in love, it denoted a disappointment of some kind.
BEANS – Disputes and quarrels was the dreamer’s future.
BEER – To drink beer in a dream was considered trouble.
BREAD – To eat wheaten bread, portended great gain to the rich but loss to the poor, and to eat rye bread was the reverse.
BUTTER – If you ate it in dream, you would be surprised by some good fortune, but the surprise would be mixed with sadness.

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CABBAGE – Bad tidings.
CAKES – Seeing cakes in dreams indicated treachery. Eating them in a dream meant disappoint for women and a loss of lovers and property.
CANDY – To dream that you were eating candy signified the person would find his or herself a victim to falsehood and flattery.
CHEESE – Dreams about cheese indicated anger, unless the person ate cheese in his or her dream, then it indicated gain.
CHERRIES – Indicated vexation in the married state and indifference in love.
CHESTNUTS – To eat them raw showed resolution, but if they were boiled, it meant weakness.
CHICKEN – If there was a dream of cooking chicken, it was a sign of some sort of future good news.
CHOCOLATE – To drink it foretold good health and a happy life.
COFFEE – This was a sign of misfortune.
CORN – To see corn blooming indicated an increase in the size of a person’s family.
CRABS – Signified quarrels and separation.
CURRANTS – These were a token of happiness; success in business, constancy in a sweetheart, and handsome children.

DEER – If you saw one in a dream, it indicated the person would receive good news. If a person killed a deer in a dream, it meant the person would be heir to an estate.

EEL – To dream of catching a live eel signified the person was in danger from malice or treachery by enemies. If the eel was dead, it indicated misfortune.
EGGS – These were an indication of happiness, but to see many broken eggs was considered a sign of quarreling and lawsuits whereas fresh eggs, foretold good news. To dream a person was buying eggs or selling them was considered a favorable omen.

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FIGS – To dream of eating good figs signified happiness and a future fortune; if the figs were moldy or defective; pleasure would be marred by some disagreeable event. Engaged lovers who dreamed of this fruit were likely to experience some fortunate surprise at their wedding if it came soon after the dream. To eat figs out of season was a sign of many sorrows and if they were dry, the person’s happiness was at stake.
FILBERTS – This foreshadowed travel, a loss of friends, and much unhappiness through life.
FLOUR – Referred to the death of someone in the person’s neighborhood.
FRUIT – If a person dreamed he or she pulled fruit and saw abundance in the trees, it was believed there were intimate pleasures and profits ahead.

GARLIC – To dream of eating garlic was a prediction of quarrels and the discovery of secrets.
GOAT – A white goat foretold unexpected gain whereas a black one, misfortune.
GOOSE – To dream of a goose or geese showed that the person would be troubled by disagreeable visitors.
GOOSEBERRIES – This was a sign of many children, chiefly sons, and success in a person’s pursuits.
GRAIN – To dream of a large field of grain signified a good marriage and good business, but to carry grain meant weakness.
GRAPES – In dreams, grapes were a sign of pleasure. To eat white grapes meant great gain and black ones, loss.

HENS – To dream of seeing happy hens was an excellent omen, as it foretold thrift and a large number of children; if the hens were disturbed or cackling, it meant something would likely occur to ruin a person’s happiness. A hen with young chickens around her was also a good sign that someone in person’s family would soon marry. If a young woman dreamed about hens, it was thought she would possibly get married before the chickens had time to reach henhood.
HERBS – Dreaming of herbs indicated anger and a dream about laxative herbs suggested good luck to those who were in debt.
HONEY – A dream of honey indicated pleasure and a happy life.

ICE – This was a favorable omen and meant a person’s sweetheart would be amiable in temperament and faithful. It also denoted success and riches, and, to a farmer, it indicated a plentiful harvest. To be sliding or skating on ice in a dream meant that the person would engage in some unprofitable undertaking and fail. When in love with someone, ice indicated the person’s sweetheart was fickle and deceitful. As for military men who dreamed about ice, it was a bad omen and foretold much trouble.

JELLY – To dream of having pots of jelly given to you or that you were eating jelly, was a sure sign of a long life and good fortune.

LEMONS – Denoted contentions in families but constancy in a partner and pretty children.
LIVER – If it appeared to be diseased, dried, or burned, a person’s life and fortune were in danger. To eat the liver of an enemy demonstrated that the person would be victorious.

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MELONS – To eat them, meant a person would recover from sickness.
MILK – According to one source, “To dream you drink milk.”[2] However, if man dreamed of milk it predicted the love of a lady. If a newly married lady dreamed she has full breasts of milk, it was a sign she would deliver a fine child, and if an old woman dreamed of milk it foretold she would have much money.
MULBERRIES – Indicated a speedy marriage and much happiness.
MUSHROOM – Meant a long life.
MUSTARD – This was a bad sign, except if a physician dreamed about mustard.

OATS – To dream of a field of ripe oats supposedly brought happiness, and misfortune came if it was cut down.
ONIONS – Foretold the discovery of secrets.
ORANGES – Indicated thieves and loss of reputation or sickness in the object of one’s affections.
OYSTERS – A good sign of good luck.

PANCAKES – To dream you were making them meant intrigues and to eat them, meant indulgence in sinful pleasures.
PEAS – To dream of eating peas brought fortune and good business prospects.
PEACHES – When in love, dreaming of peaches meant a lover would marry and be comfortable.
PEPPERS – Avarice.
PICKLES – If a girl had a dream of eating pickles, it was a sign some old bachelor would kiss her. If a young man dreamed of pickled cucumbers, it meant he would be beloved by a maid older than himself, and probably of a sour and crabby temper.
PHEASANT – This foretold of health and riches.
PLUMS – Seeing plums in a dream indicated care; to eat them meant disappointment; plums out of season indicated misfortune.
PRESERVES – To make or eat them foretold of the acquisition of money.

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QUAIL – Bad tidings.

RABBIT – To dream of a black rabbit denoted some bad accident while a white one indicated success.
RASPBERRIES – Denoted successful business, sincerity in lovers, and happiness in marriage.
ROSEMARY – To see rosemary in a dream indicated a good reputation, but to smell them while dreaming indicated mourning.

SAUSAGES – To dream of making sausages predicted quarrels. To eat them, indicated love to the young and health to old people.
SHEEP – To see them was a sign of consolation. However, if you saw them sleeping or dead, it was thought you would have sorrow. To carry a sheep signified great luck, but to hear them bleat, foretold of damage and loss. A sign of good luck was to be surrounded by many sheep. To kill one in a dream, or to see them killed, indicated great sorrow.
STRAWBERRIES – Denoted speedy marriage and many children.

TURNIP – Dreaming of this vegetable indicated the discovery of secrets and domestic quarrels.

VEGETABLE – To dream of eating vegetables meant misfortune.
VINEGAR – Dreaming of red vinegar signified that somebody would insult you. White vinegar indicated a person’s friends would be injured. Additionally, to drink vinegar in a dream was a sign of domestic dissension.

WALNUTS – These nuts signified the fulfillment of person’s most sanguine wishes or desires.
WINE – To dream of drinking good wine showed power and fortune whereas wine and water indicated bad health. White wine indicated pleasure trips and if the wine was not clear, it signified wealth. To see wine flow meant the spilling of blood. To get drunk from good wine indicated fortune.

YEAST – This foretold a future of sickness and vexation.

References:

  • [1] Mother Shipton’s Gipsy Fortune Teller and Dream Book, 1890, p. 3.
  • [2] The Young Woman’s and Widow’s Universal Dream Book, with Interpretation of Moles, Etc, 1823, p. 19.

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