In Act 1 scene 2 of As You Like It, Touchstone talks about mustard and pancakes. What does this mean?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I assume you are refering to Touchstone's bizarre comemnts to Rosalind during his conversation with her and Celia in this scene. When he is questioned by Rosalind and asked where it was that he learned the "oath" that he has expressed, he replies:

Of a certain knight that swore by his honour they were good pancakes, and swore by his honour the mustard was naught. Now I'll stand to it: the pancakes were naught and the mustard was good, and yet was not the knight forsworn.

This is typical frippery and foolishness from Touchstone that nevertheless reveals his intelligence and ability to play with words as Touchstone's "oath" leads to a succession of jokes and puns on honour and foreswearing. Pancakes were a traditional dish for Shrove Tuesday, a time of chaotic festivities to prepare for the Lenten fast. Touchstone says he learnt the oath from a knight who swore that the pancakes he was eating were good but the mustard on top of them was bad. Touchstone says it was the opposite, pointing out the humour of concepts such as honour and forswearing.

blehuser | Student

according to what touchstone says about the pancakes and mustard

by his honour the mustard was better but by the knight's honour the pancakes were better than the mustard.

touchstone says that since it is said by his honour it will be true,

but because it has been said by another knight it is a fib said by him, therefore by this manner touchstone says that he is left with his honour but the knight isin't.

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As You Like It

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