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Food Types

According to three of the five sources, there is a belief that no bananas can be eaten in the coal mine. George Monas and Nick Massini both recounted this belief. Richard Marcavitch also recounted this belief and provided a suggestion that it is because they cause heartburn, but only underground. Also as part of this same belief, George Monas said that no onions were to be brought into the mine.

I found evidence of this same sort of behavior in several sources. Elliot Oring's edited work, Folk Groups and Folklore Genres: A Reader (1989), in the Occupational Folklore section (137-169) has several examples of high risk occupations. One such occupation is the fisherman in New England. As part of their folklore they believe that eating pork on board is bad luck.

Of course there are other foodways involved in the coal mining world. In a special supplement of the Brownsville (PA) Telegraph (March 31, 1986), there is a home remedy as a cough syrup. "Take one, whole, fresh onion and chop it into very small pieces. Place the chopped onion into a small pot and add two cups of water and one half cup of sugar. Cook this mixture to about one half of its original amount (or about one half hour), at which time the onion pieces will be soft in texture and transparent in appearance."

Food Places

"Miners are creatures of habit," accounts Nick Massini "they like to sit in the same spot, eat in the same place." Vic Benco as well as George Monas and Richard Marcavitch all recounted the same ideas. This idea can be tied into the idea that a miner used a "dinner hole," the same spot along the wall to eat.

This was a luck based belief that was confirmed in several sources provided by the Pennsylvania State University Fayette Campus Coal and Coke Project.

"Miners like to eat in the same spot every day with the same friends or ride in he same seat every day (in the man trip). When this cannot be so, some miners feel uneasy."