Michigan State University

Glossary of Terms Used in Feeding America

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Embedded in these historic American cookbooks published between 1798 and 1923, are numerous terms that today's reader may not recognize or understand. Words that were common in cookbooks over 150 years ago like laradoon, syllabub, codlins, and isinglass will seem remarkably unfamiliar to most of us now who often cook using the latest microwave technology, or the current best seller cookbook.

Indeed, a cookbook which describes how to make an unknown dish with unfamiliar measurements and unheard of ingredients would qualify as an indigestible and unrewarding experience for students, scholars and general users curious about intimate historical depictions of daily American kitchen life.

To enable the user to achieve a more complete understanding of America's culinary past, over 300 terms are presented and defined here in this glossary. Most are food related, but not all, and almost all were identified in the cookbooks selected for the Feeding America project.

A list of references that helped in the creation of the glossary is available below.



  • absinthe: A strong unsweetened liquor containing oil of wormwood, usually diluted for drinking.
  • addled: Rotten or spoiled.
  • aitchbone: Slang for H-bone, or hipbone, cut of beef.
  • alkanet: A plant used for coloring confectionary.
  • alum: A salt with a very astringent effect consisting of crystals usually under one-half inch in size; used to make pickles crisp.
  • ambergris: A secretion of the sperm whale valued for its use in perfumes.
  • anatto: Coloring ingredient for cheese making.
  • angelica: An herb whose leafstalks are candied and whose roots and fruit furnish the angelica oil used as a flavoring for liqueurs and perfume.
  • anise: Herb seeds used for flavoring. The flavor is similar to licorice.
  • anisette: Anise-flavored liqueur usually served after dinner.
  • arrack: Tropical drink distilled from coconut juice, rice, molasses mash and sugar cane juice.
  • arrow-root: Nutritious and easily digested starch from finely ground rootstalks of arrow-root plant; used in making biscuits, crackers, custards, and puddings.
  • assize: A fixed or customary standard of number, quantity, quality, weight, measure, etc.
  • avoirdupois: The system of weights used for weighing everything except medicines, precious stones, and precious metals. In French: "To have a fixed measure."

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  • baker's dozen: Twelve plus one-the extra one to keep customers returning.
  • balm of gilead: A balsam obtained from a small evergreen native to Africa and Asia with a warm bitterish aromatic taste.
  • barberry; also, barberries: A shrub which produces tart red berries used in jellies and preserves.
  • Beaumont, William: As the post surgeon to Fort Mackinac in 1820, he performed pioneering studies on human digestion using a patient with an open wound in the stomach.
  • bergamot: Any of serveral aromatic herbs of the mint family; also refers to a variety of pear and a species of pear shaped orange whose skin is used to make perfumes.
  • bizos: Polish sausage made from beef and pork, sauerkraut, and barley all boiled together until thick then sliced.
  • blanch: To cover a food with boiling water for a few minutes to whiten or to make removal of the skin easier.
  • blood heat; also, blood warm: Temperature which blood is always found to maintain, or 98 degrees farenheit.
  • Blot, Pierre: A nineteenth century French chef who traveled to the United States and opened the first French cooking school in New York City in 1865. Known as Professor Bot, he wrote What to Eat and How to Cook It (1863).
  • bombazine: A twilled dress fabric; black bombazine was much used for mourning.
  • boudin: A meat, poultry, fish or game pudding made into the form of a sausage.
  • bouilli: A french term meaning boiled, braised or stewed.
  • bounce: An inexpensive drink combining fruit juice with equal parts of water and alcohol.
  • bourgoo: A term used for oat meal mush and made just like Indian mush.
  • braising: To cook first by browning in a little fat, then to continue by adding a little liquid, covering pan and simmering over low heat till tender. Meats and certain vegetables are prepared this way.
  • brawn: Pickled or potted cuts of pork, especially from the head and feet, cooked, cooled in a mould, and usually eaten cold.
  • bream: A yellowish fish found in both fresh and salt waters.
  • brewis: Bread soaked in broth, drippings of roast meat milk or water, and butter.
  • Britannia ware: Utensils made from Britannia metal, an alloy of antimony, copper, and tin.
  • bullock: A young or castrated bull.
  • bung: Cork or wooden stopper fitted into the bunghole of a barrel or cask.
  • bushel: Dry measure containing four pecks or 32 quarts.

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  • caddy: A small chest or box for keeping tea.
  • cajeput; also, cajput: The California laurel.
  • Cajun cooking: Mixed French and southern cuisines emphasizing spices, animal fat, and a dark roux. Most famous dishes include jambalaya and cous-cous (a thick cornmeal dish).
  • calipash; also, callapach: Turtle meat adhering to the upper shell.
  • calipee; also, callapee: Turtle meat adhering to the under shell.
  • cambric tea: Mixture of milk, sugar, tea, and hot water.
  • canape: A small piece of toast, or a cracker, topped with a small piece of cheese, fish, or meat and served as an appetizer.
  • cannelon: Puff pastry or roll usually stuffed with forcemeat.
  • capsicum: Botanical name for any of a genus of plants bearing red fruits generally known as peppers.
  • card of buns: A mixture or variety of different types and sizes of buns.
  • carrageen: Purplish seaweed found off the coasts of Europe and North America; called Irish Moss when dried and bleached. Used for jellies and blanc manges.
  • case knife: Either a sheath knife or a table knife.
  • cased: Skinned.
  • cashaw; also, cushaw, China squash: A variety of crookneck winter squash.
  • cassia buds: The dried flower of Chinese cinnamon--not to be confused with the true cassia, a mild laxative.
  • caudle: Beverage made of warm ale or wine strengthened with eggs, spices, and sugar.
  • caul: Once used for the membrane covering the intestinal organs.
  • celeriac: The edible turnip-like root of a kind of celery.
  • champignon: Mushroom.
  • chervil: Aromatic herb of the carrot family used as a flavoring in soups and salads.
  • chine: The backbone of an animal, or any part of a backbone.
  • chitterlings: The edible entrails of pork or beef, cleaned, boiled, and, especially in the south, deep-fat fried.
  • chowchow: Pickle and vegetable relish in a sauce of mustard, sugar, and vinegar.
  • clabber: Milk which has become thick in the natural process of souring, but not yet at the point at which curds and whey separate.
  • clarify: To make clean and clearer by slow heating and removal of cloudy solids which collect during the process; often a term applied to butter.
  • cochineal: An insect used to produce a red dye, called carmine.
  • cockle: A marine mollusk similar to a clam or oyster.
  • codle: To stew or bake.
  • codlin: A small, immature apple.
  • colander; also, callender, colendar, cullender: A large bowl-shaped metal sieve for draining foods cooked in water.
  • collar; also, collared: A piece of meat, fish, etc. rolled or coiled and bound close into a mould, cooked and chilled.
  • collop: A small slice or piece of meat, usually dipped in eggs and crumbs and fried.
  • coltsfoot: A wild plant whose flowers are used for making wine.
  • comfit: Dried fruit, root, or seed preserved with sugar.
  • confectioner: A maker or seller of sweets, candies.
  • corn pone: A simple corn bread, generally made only of meal, water, and salt, without either milk or eggs.
  • cowheel; also, neat's foot: The dressed foot of a cow.
  • crack: Clarified sugar.
  • crackling: Residue left after fat or lard is rendered from beef, pork, or poultry.
  • cracknel; also, cracknell: A hard, brittle biscuit.
  • crappie: A variety of fish found in New England and the Missisippi.
  • craw: Neck or throat.
  • Creole cookery: Mixed French, Spanish, and African cuisines emphasizing butter, cream, and tomatoes. Probably the most famous dish is gumbo.
  • crocus: The freshwater drumfish.
  • croup: Any affection of the larynx or trachea accompanied by a hoarse cough.
  • crullers: A small, sweet made of a rich egg batter cut into rings, stripes, or twists, and fried brown in deep fat.
  • cullis: A soup or sauce made of meat or fish stock, with rice or lentils.
  • curds and whey: Curds are the coagulated milk particles created by souring; the watery part remaining is called the whey.
  • cusk: Edible saltwater fish of a species related to the cod.
  • cymbals: A type of cake or doughnut.
  • cymbling: A scalloped summer squash.

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  • dace: A small fresh-water fish.
  • damson: Small dark purple plum originally from Asia Minor.
  • daube: A Creole term for a small beef roast, well larded, and cooked with seasonings as pot roast.
  • demijohn: Narrow-necked glass or eathenwear container enclosed in a wicker and used for storing cooking oil, liquors and wines. Holds from 1 to 10 gallons and named after Dame-Jeanne, a French term for a large wicker-covered container.
  • dessicated: Dried.
  • dewberry: A fruit resembling an elongated blackberry, but having a different flavor.
  • dodger: A crusty biscuit (e.g. corn dodger)
  • Dr. Combe: Dr. Andrew Combe (1797-1847) was a Scottish doctor who wrote and lectured on diet and digestion. His book, The Physiology of Digestion: Considered with Relation to the Principles of Dietetics (New York, 1836) had wide influence in America.
  • drachm; also, dram: An ancient Greek weight equaling one eighth of an ounce or three quarters of a teaspoon.
  • dredge: To cover with flour, sugar, etc. by sprinkling or dipping the food into the substance with which it is to be covered.
  • dross: The scum, waste, or impurities that form on the surface.
  • dyspepsia; also, dyspeptic, dispepsia: Indigestion accompanied by loss of appetite, nausea, and/or heartburn. Described by Mrs. Hale as, "An indefinable word implying almost every sort of distress and anguish to which the human frame is subject."

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  • Edlin, A. (Abraham): An Englishman who wrote an important and influential book on breadmaking, A Treatise on the Art of Bread-making…, (1805).
  • elecampane: A large European herb naturalized in the United States; a sweetmeat is made from the root.
  • enuresis: Incontinence.
  • eschalot: Shallot.

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  • faggot: A small bundle, such as herbs. Also, a baked meat loaf.
  • farina: Meal made of cereal grains and used in preparing puddings, soups, and breakfast cereals; also the name for purified wheat middlings.
  • farinaeceous: Consisting or made of meal or flour. See farina.
  • filbert: Hazelnut.
  • file; also, fille: A powder from dried and pounded sassafrass leaves; a commonly used seasoning in Creole cookery.
  • flitch: A whole side of bacon. Also middling.
  • flummery: A dish of slightly fermented oatmeal boiled and served with cream or milk.
  • fondant: A preparation of sugar made by boiling a sugar solution to the point of crystillization, and then stirring or beating it into a creamy mass. Used as a basis of much confectionery from a French word meaning "melting."
  • foolscap paper: Paper in sheets measuring approximately 13 inches by 16-17 inches.
  • forcemeat; also, forced meat: Chopped and ground flesh, usually seasoned and bulked with bread crumbs, oatmeal, and eggs, and used as a filling; or, simply that meat has been forced through a grinder.
  • Francatelli, Charles: A nineteenth-century English chef who became chief cook to Queen Victoria. He was the author of The Modern Cook (1845).
  • French paste; also, French pastry: Puff pastry filled with custard, preserved fruit, or whipped cream.
  • fricassee; also, fricasseed: A dish in which chicken is first browned in butter then cooked in a liquid or sauce often with wine, vegetables, and seasonings.
  • frizzle: To cook in fat until crisp and curled at edges.
  • frumenty: Boiled wheat.
  • fustic; also, fustick: The wood of a common tropical American tree which yields a light yellow dye.

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  • gages: See green gage.
  • gammon: Ham or side of cured bacon.
  • gauffres: A wafer or light cookie; or a waffle.
  • gelatin; also, gelatine: Jelly obtained by boiling meat; used as a thickening agent for cooked fruits, aspics, and jellies.
  • gentian root: The roots of this flowering yellow plant were used as a medicinal.
  • giam; also, jam: Whole fruit slightly crushed and boiled with sugar to thicken.
  • gill: A small liquid measure holding one fourth of a pint.
  • gizzards: Cooked internal organs of the chicken.
  • gouty stomach: A swollen or diseased stomach
  • graham grits: Prepared by granulating the outer layers of the wheat kernel together with the germ of the wheat.
  • green corn: Indian corn when full grown.
  • green gage: Greenish and greenish-yellow dessert plums named for the eighteenth century English botanist Sir William Gage who imported them to England from France.
  • gridiron: Metal grating on which food is broiled over direct heat.
  • groats: Hulled and sometimes crushed grain, especially oats.
  • gruel: A thin porridge, often made with oatmeal, and given to children and invalids.
  • gum arabic: The product of secretion of various species of acacia trees; very useful in cookery and pharmaceuticals.
  • gumbo: A soup made in the South, thickened with okra and usually containing tomatoes. Also called okra.

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  • handy waiter: A table on caster wheels used to help clear dishes or bring food to the table.
  • hardtack: Hard, unsalted ship's biscuit or bread made of flour and water.
  • harrico; also, aricot: A ragout or stew, usually of mutton.
  • hartshorn: Another name for baking ammonia and a powerful leavening agent much used in baking in the nineteenth century. Originally prepared from the horns of the stag or hart.
  • hillock: A small hill; used for measurement as in, "a hillock of horse-radish".
  • hob: A level projection at the back or side of an open fireplace on which a pot may be placed to keep warm.
  • hominy: Whole hulled kernels of white or yellow corn expanded by boiling; also, hulled corn kernels coarsely ground or crushed, and boiled.

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  • Indian meal; also, Indian ground: Ground Indian corn or maize. Corn meal.
  • Indian pickle: An alternate name for piccalilli
  • Irish moss: See carrageen
  • isinglass: A fine kind of gelatin or glue prepared from the swimming bladders of fishes; used in food preparation.

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  • jalap: The purgative tuberous root of a Mexican plant. Used as a medicinal.
  • jigger: Liquid measure containing 1 1/2 ounces.
  • Johnny cake: A crisp bread made of cornmeal, water or milk, salt, and sometimes an egg. Also called journey cake, possibly because it kept well and could be taken on trips.
  • jujube: Chewy and somewhat gummy candy, offered in various colors, sizes and shapes
  • jumbles; also, jumballs: Small cakes or cookies containing grated citrus rind, dropped into a cookie sheet and baked.

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  • kabob; also, cubbub, kebab: Chunks of meat marinated and roasted on a skewer over an open fire.
  • ketchup; also, catsup, catchup: Approximations of the Chinese name for "Brine of Pickled Fish." It is a sauce or condiment made up with mushrooms, tomatoes, or walnuts.
  • kipper; also, kippered: To cure fish by splitting open, cleaning, salting, drying, smoking, or preserving in oil or sauce.
  • kirsch: Usually means cherry brandy.
  • kola nut: Brown bitter nut of two tropical trees cultivated in tropical America. The nut extract is used as a tonic drink.
  • kolhraben; also, kohlrabi: Variety of cabbage with a turnip-shaped stem. Eaten raw in salads or boiled and served with a sauce.
  • kosher food: Prepared according to Judaic dietary laws, as first determined in Biblical times.

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  • laradoon; also, lardoon: Larding strip of fat.
  • lard: Pork fat which has been rendered and clarified.
  • larder: A room or large closet where food is kept.
  • lebkuchen: The German word for gingerbread and other spice cakes.
  • lehigh coal: Coal from the eastern region of Pennsylvania.
  • leverett: A young rabbit.
  • liquor: Any liquid substance like milk, juice, water, blood, soap, etc.
  • liverwort: An herb related to and resembling moss.
  • loaf sugar: Sugar molded in cubes or loaves.
  • loppard: See pollard.

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  • mace: An aromatic spice derived from the dried external covering of the nutmeg; often combined with cloves and ginger.
  • maizena: A brand of corn starch.
  • mango; also, mangoes: A fruit grown in tropical regions. Also, in older cookbooks a name sometimes given to the cantaloupe; and often attributed to any vegetable or fruit (melon, squash, green pepper, etc.) that can be stuffed and pickled.
  • mastic; also, mastick: A pasty cement made by boiling tar with lime, powdered brick or the like.
  • matelote: A fish stew usually containing several kinds of fish with onions and wine. In French, meaning, "sailor's style".
  • matzo; also, matzoth: An unleavened crackerlike bread of flour and water eaten by the Jews. Also made into small dumplings for soup, called matzo balls.
  • matzoun; also, matzoon: A kind of fermented milk (Armenian) used in soups.
  • Meg Merrilies: The name of a gypsy woman in Sir Walter Scott's novel, Guy Mannering, which was popular as a stage adaptation in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century.
  • middling: A whole side of bacon. Also flitch.
  • milch; also, milchig: In Jewish cookery, consisting of or made of milk or other dairy products.
  • mucilaginous: Moist and sticky.
  • muddler: Utensil for mixing drinks, particularly alcoholic.
  • mullagatawny: Pepper water used as a flavoring in soups (onions, chili, vinegar, curry powder, water, salt to taste).
  • muriatick: A chloride salt used for pickling.

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  • Neat: Old English name for cattle or ox.
  • nephritic: Inflammation of the kidneys.
  • night soil: Human excrement, so called because it was usually removed from privies at night.
  • noyau: A sweet, white almond-flavored liqueur.

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  • offal: Although usually understood to mean the waste parts of an animal, in a culinary sense it refers to edible inner parts (e.g. kidneys, heart, liver, head, tail, feet).
  • okra; also, ochra: A vegetable seed pod commonly used in the Southern United States, usually for soups and stews. Also called gumbo.
  • oleo: Oil

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  • packthread: Strong thread or small twine used for sewing or tying packages.
  • panada: A simple bread soup consisting of bread boiled to a pulp in milk and then flavored.
  • panniers: A basket for carrying food often carried in pairs on horseback, one on each side.
  • pap: Soft, pulpy food such as bread soaked in milk
  • parboil: To put into boiling water and to cook partially, usually not over five minutes.
  • pearl barley: Husked barley which has been polished so that the grains are rounded and pearly in appearance.
  • pearlash: The common name for impure carbonate of potash, which in a purer form is called saleratus.
  • peck: Dry measure containing eight solid quarts.
  • pennyroyal: European mint somewhat less aromatic than peppermint or spearmint.
  • pepperpot: A soup made with tripe and heavily seasoned with pepper.
  • pepsin: Digestive enzyme obtained from mucous lining of cattle stomachs; used as digestive aid and sometimes substituted for rennet in cheese making.
  • Peruvian bark: The dried bark of the Cinchona tree used to relieve fever.
  • piccalilli: A pickle relish based on chopped tomatoes with horseradish, sugar, spices, vinegar. Also called Indian pickle, from its origin in the East Indies.
  • pipkin: A small earthen pot with a horizontal handle.
  • pippin: An all-purpose apple used for eating and cooking, with greenish to yellow skin, crisp juicy flesh, and a slightly tart flavor.
  • plaice: A name given to the Summer Flounder, and other similar flat fishes.
  • plantain: A common weed eaten as greens; or, a fruit similar to the banana, but less sweet and smaller.
  • poivrade sauce: A peppery sauce.
  • poke; also, poke root, pokeweed: A coarse American perennial herb whose first green shoots can be cooked like asparagus.
  • pollard: A stag that has shed its antlers; a hornless animal (e.g. sheep, cow).
  • pomatum: A dressing of various ingredients (herbs, spices, molasses, etc.) used on meats for curing.
  • pompion; also, pompkin: A name for the yellow-orange field pumpkin commonly grown and used for pies.
  • pones: A simple corn bread, generally made only of meal, water, and salt, without either milk or eggs.
  • pony: Small liqueur or whiskey glass holding an ounce of liquid.
  • porcelain ware: Iron lined with a hard, smooth enamel.
  • pot liquor: Boiled vegetables with bacon in same pot.
  • potage: The French word for soup.
  • profiterolle: A small shell of unsweetened puffy pastry, stuffed with a puree of vegetable, chicken or other ingredients.
  • prunellas; also, prunelle: Small yellow plum usually sold in dried form and also the name of an Alsatian plum liqueur.
  • pullet: A young hen-chicken, four to nine months old.
  • pumpion: An older version of the word pumpkin.
  • put down: A phrase used to designate the packing of beef or pork in salt for the purpose of preserving.

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  • quartern: The fourth part of a pound; quarter of any measure.
  • quenelle: A forcemeat ball used for garnishing soups and other dishes.
  • quicksilver: The metal mercury.
  • quire: A printing term meaning a book, usually small, of loose sheets. Its use in cookbooks suggests a small number of the same item (e.g. "a quire of pancakes").

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  • ragout; also, ragoux: A stew of meat and vegetables.
  • ramequins; also, ramekins: Small, individual lidless casserole; also a small pastry made with some kind of cream-cheese filling.
  • rasher: A thin slice cut for frying or broiling.
  • raspings: The result of bread, fruit, or vegetables that have been grated or scraped
  • ratifia: A small cake flavored by ratifia, a name used generally in nineteenth century America for a liqueur or cordial made by the infusion method, the most popular flavors being orange, raspberry, mulberry, and green walnut.
  • rattle-ran: Whole of the lower half of the fore quarter of beef.
  • render: To melt down meat, especially pork, to separate the portions of lean tissue from the clear fat.
  • rennet: Substance composing the lining of the fourth stomach of calves, used in curdling milk for cheese making. Most cheeses are started with rennet.
  • rockfish: Any of several bass-like fish; also the striped bass.
  • rolliche: A kind of sausage, made in a bag of tripe, sliced and fried.
  • root beer: A non-alcoholic infusion of roots, bark, herbs and yeast.
  • rose water: A watery solution made by distilling fresh flowers with water and using as a perfume or scent.
  • rosin: Used as a soap to remove hair from butchered cows.
  • rosolzlazankamt: Consomme with eggs dropped in.
  • roux: A mixture of flour and fat used to thicken soups and sauces.
  • rusk: Sweet or plain bread baked and browned in an oven until very dry and crisp.

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  • saffron: A yellowish spice used in many East Indian curries and rice dishes.
  • sago: Starchy substance obtained from the pith of the sago palm, used to thicken puddings and soups.
  • sal prunel; also, salprunelle: Saltpeter fused and cast in balls, cakes or sticks.
  • salamander: A metal plate with a handle which, when heated, is passed or held over the top surfaces of pastries, puddings, meats to brown them.
  • saleratus: An obsolete term for baking soda.
  • Sally Lunn: A yeast-raised cake originally from Bath, England, supposedly named for the woman who first sold them there in the early nineteenth century.
  • salmagundi: Exotic hash or unusual mixture of foods, including leftovers.
  • salsify: The longish white root of an herb belonging to the chicory family with a taste somewhat reminiscent of oysters. Also called an oyster plant.
  • salt peter; also, salt petre, saltpetre: Nitrate of potash, possessing antiseptic, making it useful for preserving meats, to which it imparts a bright red color.
  • salting in snow: A method to preserve fresh meat in the winter by placing meat in a tub and then covering each layer or piece with snow.
  • salvolatile; also, sal volatile: Ammonium carbonate.
  • samp: Coarse corn meal which was popular in the Northeast United States in the nineteenth century. It was boiled with milk either alone or with peas, beans, salt pork, etc.
  • sampshire: An aromatic herb with fleshy leaves used in salads.
  • Saratoga potatoes; also, "chips": Potato chips first made at Saratoga Springs, New York.
  • sarsaparilla: A tropical American plant whose roots are used in making the once popular soft drink of the same name. The flavoring essence is dark brown and bitter.
  • sauerkraut; also, sour crout: Finely shredded cabbage fermented in its own juices.
  • scalybarks: The shagbark, a hickory tree that yields hickory nuts.
  • scollop; also, scallop: A salt water mollusk. Also a term for a small, thin slice of meat, often veal.
  • score: To cut narrow gashes in a crossbar pattern as, for example, across the outer surface of a roast or ham.
  • scrag: Back or nape of the neck, especially sheep.
  • scrapple: Bricklike food combination composed of bits of pork cooked up with cornmeal and herbs.
  • scrofula: A morbid condition of a tuberculous nature most common in childhood.
  • scum often: To take or sweep away the scum, or the impurities and matter that rise to or form on the surface of liquids.
  • seltzer water; also, carbonated, soda water: An effervescent mineral water containing carbon dioxide naturally, or water carbonated under pressure with carbonic acid gas.
  • shin: In beef cattle, the lower part of the foreleg as opposed to the shank.
  • shirr; also, shirred: To bake opened eggs in a cream-filled pan.
  • shote; also, shoat: A southern term from a young hog less than 30 pounds.
  • sippet: A small bit or piece, especially of toast, soaked in milk or broth; also a small piece of bread or toast used as a garnish
  • slip: A dessert consisting of rennet-soured milk chilled and served with sugar and nutmeg.
  • smut: Matter that smuts or blackens, as soot or coal dust.
  • snipe: A game bird similar to a woodcock.
  • snuff: A form of manufactured tobacco professed to have medicinal properties; inhaled through the nose.
  • sound: The swimming bladder of a fish. The sounds of a cod, dried, pickled and soaked, and then cooked are considered a delicacy.
  • soup maigre: Literally a "lean" soup meaning a soup prepared without meat.
  • souse: Mixture of pork and veal jellied in a vinegar solution; something pickled in Pennsylvania-German.
  • soy sauce; also, soye, syou: A dark sauce originating in the Far East and made from fermented wheat or barley, soy beans, salt and water.
  • spider: A long-handled, cast-iron frying pan, so named because it originally had legs attached for standing it over coals in the fireplace.
  • spirits: A term to define any liquid produced by distillation; alcoholic beverages.
  • spitchcock: An eel split and prepared for cooking.
  • succotash: Green maize and beans boiled together. Both the dish and its name were borrowed from the Native Americans.
  • sultana: Yellow seedless grape grown for raisins and wine making.
  • sweetmeats: Any shaped piece of confectionary, whether made primarily of sugar, or chocolate, or of fruit.
  • syllabub: Dessert beverage of milk and wine or cider, sweetened with sugar and topped with whipped cream.

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  • tammy: A fine linen cloth used for straining soups and sauces.
  • tansy: Aromatic herb of the thistle family whose bitter leaves are used for flavoring.
  • tapioca: A white, granular, starchy substance obtained by heating the root of the cassava, or manioc plant, which grows in the West Indies. Used as a thickening agent, especially in puddings.
  • tartar: Lean raw beef ground fine and mixed with onion, seasonings, and often a raw egg, and used as a sandwich or appetizer. Also an acid substance deposited during fermentation of grape juice, and used in making cream of tartar.
  • tartaric acid: Made from argol, a product of fermentation of grape juice. It is used in large quantities for dying, medicine, and all effervescent drinks.
  • teal: A small wild duck, which was a much appreciated and popular table bird in 19th century England and America.
  • temperate: In cookbooks, to describe one who eats in moderation; also one who does not drink or use in food any intoxicating liquors.
  • tench: A fish which is part of the carp family.
  • thoroughwort: An herb sometimes used for medicinal purposes. Also called wild hoarhound.
  • tincture: A substance which colors, dyes or stains.
  • tofu: A mixture of soybean and rice mashed and rolled into thin cake, then fried in oil.
  • treacle: English word for molasses.
  • trifle: A dessert of sponge cake spread with jam, soaked with wine and combined with fruit, custard or whipped cream.
  • tripe: Stomach walls of a meat animal.
  • trotters: Feet of calves, pigs, sheep, etc. (e.g., sheep's trotters) used for food and in making calf's foot jelly.
  • tumbler: Seamless drinking glass containing 8-12 ounces of liquid.

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  • unbolted wheat: Wheat not bolted or sifted; coarse.

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  • vessel: A hollow receptacle of any kind, usually circular in form, as a hogshead, firkin, bottle, etc.
  • viands: Provisions, food.
  • vichy: A method of preparing carrots, using butter and very little water.
  • virdigris: A green or greenish blue pigment used in dyeing, calico printing, and wood preservatives. Also used medically as a dusting powder.

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  • wallop: To boil with a continued bubbling noise.
  • whortleberries; also, whortleberry: Another name for the huckleberry.
  • wigeon: Name used for both duck and drake.
  • windfalls: Hard pears.

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  • yelks; also, yolks: The yellow portion of an egg.

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Glossary References

The following is a list of reference books that were consulted for the completion of the glossary. Some were used more than others and most useful was Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language, second edition.

  • Ayto, John, The diner's dictionary; food and drink from A to Z. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993).
  • Braider, Carol, The grammar of cooking. (New York: Holt, Rinehart, Winston, 1974).
  • Colman, Louis, Alexandre Dumas' dictionary of cuisine. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1958).
  • Davidson, Alan, The Oxford companion to food. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).
  • De Sola, Ralph and Dorothy, A dictionary of cooking. (New York: Meredith Press, 1969).
  • DuSablon, Mary Anna, America's collectible cookbooks; the history, the politics, the recipes. (Athens, Ohio: Ohio Unversity Press, 1994).
  • Fisher, M.F.K., Funk and Wagnall's cook's and diner's dictionary; a lexicon of food, wine, and culinary terms. (New York: Funk and Wagnall, 1968).
  • Herbst, Sharon Tyler, Food lovers companion; comprehensive definitions of over 3,000 food, wine, and culinary terms. (New York: Barron's, 1990).
  • Howells, Marion, Hamlyn's illustrated cook's dictionary. (London: Hamlyn, 1969).
  • Langsteth-Christiansen, Lillian and Smith, Carol, The complete kitchen guide; the cook's indispensable book. (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1968).
  • Neilson, William Allan, Webster's new international dictionary of the English languages econd edition unabridged. (Springfield, Mass.: G.& C. Merriam Company, 1950).
  • Shannon, Ellen, American dictionary of culinary terms; a comprehensive guide to the vocabulary of the kitchen. (New York: A.S. Barnes and Company, 1962).
  • Simon, Andre L., A dictionary of gastronomy. (New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Company, 1949).
  • Wason, Betty, The language of cookery; an informal dictionary. (Cleveland: The World Publishing Company, 1968).
  • Whitfield, Nella, Kitchen encyclopedia. (London: Spring Books, 19--?).

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