Pease Porridge Hot

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"Pease Porridge Hot"
Music from The Song Play Book.[1]
Nursery rhyme
Publishedc. 1760

"Pease Porridge Hot" or "Pease Pudding Hot" (also known as "Peas Porridge Hot") is a children's singing game and nursery rhyme. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 19631.[2]


The lyrics to the rhyme are:

Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old.[3][4]


The origins of this rhyme are unknown. The name refers to a type of porridge made from peas, pease pudding, also known in Middle English as pease pottage. ("Pease" was treated as a mass noun, similar to "oatmeal", and the singular "pea" and plural "peas" arose by back-formation.)

The earliest recorded version of Pease Porridge Hot is a riddle found in John Newbery's Mother Goose's Melody (c. 1760):[3]

Pease Porridge hot,
Pease Porridge cold,
Pease Porridge in the Pot
Nine Days old,
Spell me that in four Letters?
I will, THAT.[5]

Where the terms "pease pudding" and "pease pottage" are used, the lyrics of the rhyme are altered accordingly.


Children playing Pease Porridge Hot.[6]

Schoolchildren often play Pease Porridge Hot by pairing off and clapping their hands together to the rhyme as follows:

Pease (clap both hands to thighs) porridge (clap own hands together) hot (clap partner's hands),
pease (clap both hands to thighs) porridge (clap own hands together) cold (clap partner's hands),
Pease (clap thighs) porridge (clap own hands) in the (clap right hands only) pot (clap own hands),
nine (clap left hands only) days (clap own hands) old (clap partner's hands).
(Repeat actions for second stanza)[1]

NOTE: The actions are performed during recitation of the word or phrase, not following.

In popular culture[edit]

  • In Laura Ingalls Wilder's fictionalized memoir Little House on the Prairie, young Laura recalls singing the song as "bean porridge hot." Laura notes that she likes bean porridge hot or cold, but that in her house, it never lasts nine days.
  • Claudia MacFarlane recalls singing the song as "peach porridge hot".
  • In the 1934 short film Mickey's Steam Roller, Minnie Mouse sings the song with Morty and Ferdie Fieldmouse. At the end the twins' clapping game turns into a fist fight.
  • A line in the poem was used for the title of the 1959 Billy Wilder film, Some Like It Hot.
  • In the 1966 Blake Edwards World War II comedy What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?, Major Pott (Harry Morgan) includes the last lines of the rhyme in his rantings after he is driven mad from getting lost in a maze of catacombs under the Sicilian village.
  • The poem was mentioned in the very first episode of BBC One Soap opera, EastEnders in 1985.
  • In the 1986 film Troll main character Wendy Potter recites the first half of this rhyme right before being trapped in the troll world.
  • In the De La Soul song, "Pease Porridge", the recording of the rhyme recorded by Harrell and Sharon Lucky is sampled repeatedly.
  • In the popular internet animation series, Salad Fingers, an episode features the title character reciting this song whilst eating pease pudding at a picnic. In another episode, Salad fingers recites this rhyme to his new 'play mate'.
  • Pease Porridge and Pease Pudding are the same English dish known earlier as pease pottage. Pease Pottage is a small village in West Sussex, England which, according to tradition, gets its name from serving pease pottage to convicts either on their way from London to the South Coast or from East Grinstead to Horsham
  • The rhyme is mentioned in the refrain of The Mountain Goats' song, Pink and Blue.


  1. ^ a b Wollaston, The Song Play Book, p. 37.
  2. ^ "Roud Folksong Index S316090 Pease-porridge hot, pease-porridge cold". Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. English Folk Dance and Song Society. Retrieved May 20, 2016.
  3. ^ a b I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), p. 345.
  4. ^ Notes and queries - Google Books
  5. ^ Whitmore, The Original Mother Goose's Melody, No. 41.
  6. ^ Miller, In the Nursery of My Bookhouse, p. 5.