Cowboy Christmas Old West Cooking Phrases

Old recipes are always fun to read and even more fun to try but it can be tricky. 
The language of food preparation has changed with time and we humans are not famous for keeping up with being behind the times.
To make things easier for you, I have put together a list of curious cooking terms I have come across along with what I believe to be their meanings.



A Few Choice Words
Curious cooking terms in old recipes

Air tights- canned food
Applejack - brandy made by distilling apple ciderold ad for meat chopper



Apron - belly skin of poultry
Custard kettle - double boiler
Dutch Oven- iron kettle on three legs with flat bottom and heavy iron lid

Emptins - an American term for the English "ale yeast"
Firkin- small wooden canister used for butter or lard
Gem iron or pan - muffin tin
Graham flour- whole grain flour
Gridiron- a grated iron utensil used for broiling meat over coals
Isinglass - gelatine
Loaf sugar- refined sugar that has been formed into a conical mold
Nutmeg melon- cantaloupe or muskmelon

Party pan- muffin pan
Rusty bacon - bacon gone bad
Saleratus - sodium bicarbonate ( baking soda)
Tree Sweetnin' - maple syrup


Butter the Size of a Walnut?

We've all (ok, maybe some have)  been there.  Always on the on the hunt for a new classic old recipe like  "Elkhorn Pig's Fatback Christmas Pudding".  At last you locate an original copy. Yumpin yimmine! The first ingredient called for is... butter the size of a walnut?  Yikes!

Butter the size of an egg= 1/4 cup
Butter the size of a walnut = 2 tablespoons
Coffee cup= 1 cup
Dash=1/8 teaspoon
Dessert spoon = 1 1/2 teaspoons
Dram= 3/4 teaspoon
Drops,60= 3/4 teaspoon of liquid
Gill= 1/2 cup
Lump= 2 tablespoons (butter)
Pinch= 1/8 teaspoon
Pint=2 cups

Often the terms used to measure quantities of beer and ale were used to measure milk and other liquid ingredients

36 gallons = 1 barrel (bar.)
54 gallons = 1 hogshead (hhd.)

Other useful old time weights and measures

12 units = 1 dozen
12 dozen = 1 gross
12 gross = 1 great gross
20 things = 1 score
25 drops = teaspoon
8 tablespoons = 1 gill
1 quart of Indian meal = 1lb 2oz


How Hot is Ouch?
When an old recipe states "slow oven" it means little to us these days since all of our ovens have temperature controls, convection features and even self -clean.
So here is a small translation of words to numbers.victorian woman by wood stove cooking




Very Slow-250
Slow-300
Moderately Slow-325
Moderate-350
Moderately Hot-375

Hot-400
Very Hot-450-500



Article by Spike,North Pole West 2015