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What does the quote God sends meat and devil sends cooks by Thomas Deloney mean?

And if it doesn't have a specific meaning, in which situation can I use it?

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3 Answers 3

Answers.com has a citation.

It is a common prouerbe, God may sende a man good meate, but the deuyll may sende an euyll coke to dystrue it.
[1542 A. Borde Dietary of Health xi.]

“It is a common proverb: God may send a man good meat, but the devil may send an evil cook to destroy it.”

Someone may have something good, and seek to do something good with it. But events conspire against him and he ends up with less than he started with. It has certainly been used in connection with financial investments.

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John Ray, A Collection of English Proverbs (1678) identifies "God sends meat, and the Devil sends cooks" as a Scottish saying; and James Kelley, Complete Collection of Scottish Proverbs (1721) offers a very straightforward explanation for it:

God sends Meat, and the Dee'l Cooks.

A passionate Expression, when our Meat is ill dress'd.

In other words, Kelley considers the proverb to be nothing more than a critical comment about incompetent cooks, by those who must eat their productions.

Tradespeople and other workers tend to be the butt of a number of old proverbs. For example, from Ray's Proverbs:

The smith hath always a spark in his throat.

Nine taylors make a man.

An honest miller hath a golden thumb.

Who goes worse shod than the shoe-maker's wife?

The Devil would have been a weaver but for the Temples.

The Friar preach'd against stealing when he had a pudding in his sleeve.

The better workman, the worse husband.

It's like reading Chaucer.

Ray also offers a sort of vegetarian version of the "God sends meat" proverb:

God sends corn, and the Devil marrs the sack.

The notion here, I suppose, is that nothing is so perfect in itself that it cannot be compromised by bad fortune or by the malevolent actions of others.

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Correct:

The quote means that god will send us all we NEED, the meat. The devil will temp us and send us cooks to have another cook the meat for you, what we WANT.

Break down:

God-Meat (food), ones basic needs for spiritual progression. Less materialistic. Controls the ego. One depends only on oneself. Cook your own food.

Devil-Cooks (VIP service) Desires of a lackadaisical lifestyle. More materialistic. Encourages ego. Depends on others. Have a cook to cook for you.

God will provide. The Devil will tempt.

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1  
downvote because the full context of the quotation in the other answer shows the intent of the quotation, which isn't reflected in your answer. Also, the answer needs a bit of markdown to distinctively show your answer's usage in context of the question. Please consider using more descriptive sentences and sources for answers that are not provided as General Reference. –  SrJoven Oct 13 '14 at 11:56

protected by Community Mar 23 at 7:50

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