Old Cooking Definitions

Here is a list of terms definitions and measurements used in old cookbooks.  These are very helpful when trying to follow old recipes.

Howard

Oven temperatures:
Slow = up to 300 F
Very moderate = 300 F – 350 F
Moderate/Medium = 350 F – 400 F
Hot/Quick/Fast = 400 F – 450 F
Very Hot/Very Quick = 450 F – 500 F

Baking times:
Cookies: bake until just golden
Cakes: bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and toothpick or butter knife inserted in center comes out clean
Bread: bake until bread pulls away from sides of pan, or when tapped you hear a hollow sound
Custards: bake until just set
Single crust filled pies: hot oven (425-450 F) for 1st ten minutes to crisp the crust, lower to moderate (350 F) to finish
Unfilled pie shell: bake at 425 F for 18-20 minutes, or until lightly browned
Unfilled tart shell: bake at 425 F for 12 minutes

1 pound yields:
•    4 cups sifted flour
•    4 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
•    3 1/2 cups graham flour
•    3 cups cornmeal
•    5 1/2 cups rolled oats
•    2 1/4 cups white sugar
•    2 1/2 cups brown sugar
•    2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
•    1 1/3 cups molasses or honey
•    2 cups milk
•    4 cups nut meats, chopped
•    3 cups dried fruit

Liquid Measurements
•    pint = 2 cups
•    quart = 4 cups
•    gill = 4 ounces (1/4 pound, metric = 5 ounces as a metric pound is 20 ounces)
•    peck = 8 quarts
•    bushel = 4 pecks

Bushel weights
•    60 pounds apples = 1 bushel
•    52 pounds beans = 1 bushel
•    24 pounds beets = 1 bushel
•    56 pounds carrots = 1 bushel
•    55 pounds flour = 1 bushel
•    54 pounds onions = 1 bushel
•    45 pounds parsnips = 1 bushel
•    50 pounds potatoes = 1 bushel
•    60 pounds string beans = 1 bushel
•    60 pounds sweet potatoes = 1 bushel
•    48 pounds tomatoes = 1 bushel
•    196 pounds turnips = 1 barrel

Definitions
•    Addled – spoiled or rotten
•    Anker = 10 gallons
•    Bee Sweetin’ – honey
•    Boil to a height – boiling point of candy or crystallizing
•    Butt = 126 gallons
•    Butter Size of an Egg – ¼ cup or 2 oz
•    Butter Size of a Walnut – 2 tbsp
•    Cake compressed yeast = 1 package active dry yeast
•    Cauled – heated just below boiling point
•    Clinkers – stale biscuits
•    Coffee Spoons, Two – 1 tsp
•    Coffee cupful – 1 cup or 8 oz
•    Coffin – dish or mould in which a pie was baked in
•    Coomb = 4 bushels
•    Cornmeal, 3 cups scant – 1 lb
•    Dash – 1/16 tsp
•    Dessert spoon – 1 ½ tsp
•    Dram – 1/8 oz or 3 scruples
•    Drop – 1/60 tsp
•    Eggs – med eggs
•    Eggs, ten w/o shells – 1 lb eggs
•    Fat = means butter
•    Few grains – less than 1/8 tsp
•    Five-cent jar – 8 – 12 oz jar
•    Firkin = 9 gallons
•    French Vinegar – usually tarragon vinegar
•    Frizzle – cooking an item in butter or fat until it curls or crisps
•    Gem – muffin or cupcake
•    Gill – ½ cup or 4 oz
•    Glassful – ¼ cup or 2 oz
•    Handful – approx 1 oz
•    Hint – a trace
•    Hogshead = 63 gallons
•    Hot closet – warming oven
•    Indian meal – cornmeal
•    Jar – 3 oz
•    Jigger – 1.5 oz
•    Kitchen spoon – 1 tsp
•    Lard = use shortening
•    Large rounded scoop in palm of the hand – 1 tbsp
•    Last = 80 bushels
•    Lump – approx 2 tbsp (refers to butter)
•    Nun’s toast -French toast
•    Pinch – 1/16 tsp
•    Pottle = 2 quarts
•    Potage – soup
•    Pound of eggs – approx 1 doz med eggs
•    Puncheon = 84 gallons
•    Quick oven – approx 375 – 400 degrees F
•    Runlet = 18 gallons
•    Salt spoonful – approx ¼ tsp
•    Saucer – approx 9 oz (heaping cup)
•    Small rounded scoop in palm of the hand – 1 tsp
•    Smidgen – 1/32 tsp
•    Sour milk = buttermilk OR 1 tablespoon vinegar added to 1 cup whole milk
•    Sweet milk = milk (whole is best for baking, but 2%, 1% and skim can be used successfully)
•    Tad -1/8 tsp
•    Tea-cupful – a scant ¾ cup (scant, meaning less than)
•    Tumbler – 1 cup or 8 oz
•    Tierce = 42 gallons
•    Try, try out – render fat
•    Wey = 40 bushels
•    Wineglassful – approx ¼ cup or 2 oz

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One Response to Old Cooking Definitions

  1. Bobbie says:

    Thank You very much. Found an old cookbook of my Great Aunts measurement are very helpful!

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