[Sca-cooks] A horse for a peppercorn-Explanation of a Food Myth

Jennifer Carlson talana1 at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 13 07:03:35 PDT 2010

Adamantius wrote:
> There is a similar tradition followed to this day by some Southern Chinese, possibly others as well. For reasons associated with kharma, one does not give certain items as gifts; for example knives, weapons, medications, etc., are not considered appropriate to give as gifts. When you find yourself wanting or needing to do so anyway, it is considered good manners to include with the gift a shiny new penny, to be returned by the recipient to the donor, so it can be agreed upon that the gift item was in fact purchased, thereby changing the kharmic implications.

I grew up being told that you never give a knife outright, lest the blade injure the friendship with the recipient.  So, a small coin is handed back in exchange.  This tradition came from my mother's family, which is Irish, though I don't know if it's an Irish tradition or a Southern U.S. one.  

In line with the legal tradition Cariadoc mentioned, I once wanted to give a used car in need of extensive repair to a friend who could do the necessary work, and my attorney father recommended I sell it for a dollar instead of making it an outright gift - something about making the title transfer less complicated.


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