pease porridge

Pease Porridge Hot

"Pease Porridge Hot" or "Pease Pudding Hot" (also known as "Peas Porridge Hot") is a children's game and nursery rhyme.


The origins of this rhyme are unknown; it takes its name from a type of porridge made from peas, pease pudding, also known as pease pottage (in Middle English, "pease" was treated as a mass noun, similar to "oatmeal" and it is from that we get the singular pea and plural peas). Some people believe that the rhyme is a bit of doggerel by partisans of Princess Mary (Queen Mary I of England) celebrating the downfall of and disparaging the pretentions of Lady Jane Grey, the "Nine Days Queen", indicating that she was less than royal--pease pottage being a staple of lower class commoners.

An early version of Pease Porridge Hot is a riddle found in John Newbery's Mother Goose's Melody (c. 1760). See Mother Goose's Melody 41:

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

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


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.


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

In popular culture

  • In episode 5 of the Internet cartoon Salad Fingers, Salad Fingers recites the Pease Pudding rhyme at a picnic.
  • The 1959 Billy Wilder film Some Like It Hot derives its title from this rhyme, and the 1985 hit song "Some Like It Hot" by the band Power Station was named after the movie.
  • 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.
  • In the Little House books, Laura muses that she likes pease porridge hot and cold, but in her house it never lasts as long as nine days.
  • Sebadoh quote lines from the rhyme at the end of their song 'Loose 'N' Screw' (or 'Loosened Screw') on their 1988 album The Freed Man.
  • The song Pease Porridge from De La Soul's 1991 album De La Soul Is Dead contains a sample of the rhyme, taken from Pease Porridge by Rhyme & Rhythm.
  • The song Licorice by Madlib ends with a brief sample of the rhyme.



  • Miller, Olive Beaupré. In the Nursery of My Bookhouse. Chicago: The Bookhouse for Children Publishers (1920).
  • Whitmore, William H. The Original Mother Goose's Melody, as First Issued by John Newbery, of London, About A.D., 1760. Albany: Joel Munsell's Sons (1889).
  • Wollaston, Mary A. (compiler). The Song Play Book: Singing Games for Children. New York: A.S. Barnes and Company (1922).

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