E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
as food for servants. At one time apprentices and servants stipulated that they should not be obliged to feed on salmon more than five days in a week. Salmon was one penny a pound.
A large boiled salmon would now-a-days have indicated most liberal housekeeping; but at that period salmon was caught in such plenty (1679) that, instead of being accounted a delicacy, it was generally applied to feed the servants, who are said sometimes to have stipulated that they should not be required to eat food so luscious and surfeiting above five times a week.Sir W. Scott: Old Mortality, chap. vii.