Upper Crust

The lions or crack men of the day. The phrase was first used in Sam Slick. The upper crust was at one time the part of the loaf placed before the most honoured guests. Thus, in Wynkyn de Worde's Boke of Keruinge (carving) we have these directions: “Then take a lofe in your lyfte hande, and pare ye lofe rounde about; then cut the ouer-cruste to your souerayne ...” Furnwall, in Manners and Meales, etc., says the same thing - “Kutt the vpper cruste for your souer-ayne.”

“I want you to see Peel, Stanley, Graham, Shiel, Russell, Macaulay, old Joe, and so on. They are all upper crust here.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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