Understanding Measurements from Old Cookbooks

As I have mentioned on previous occasions, my wife and I like to find and study old cookbooks and other old do it yourself books.  Recently I found a cookbook from the 1850’s, it has an excellent list of weights and measures.  I printed out a copy for my own use; it is a handy reference when they start using measurements like so many gills.  It helps you to convert the measurements into ones you can understand.

Here is the list.

The measurements also help you out if you lack measuring cups. Hope this helps you


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2 Responses to Understanding Measurements from Old Cookbooks

  1. ke4sky says:

    All the better to properly measure your “tot” of rum! The gill (4 oz.) of rum which had been added to the ration in 1785, was reduced in 1790 to one half a gill of rum, brandy, or whiskey.

    Four years later, a congressional act authorized: that to such troops as are, or may be, employed on the frontiers, and under such special circumstances, as in the opinion of the President of the United States, may require an augmentation of some parts of their ration, the President may be authorized to direct such augmentation as he may judge necessary, not to exceed one-half a gill of rum or whiskey in. addition to each ration.

    The additional one-half gill of rum for those employed on the Western frontier was cut by an act of Congress in March of 1795; in July, 1795, the spirit ration was increased to one gill again, which lasted until 1832 when the rum ration was eliminated, and coffee and sugar was substituted. This coffee and sugar allowance was increased in 1838. The Congressional Act of 1846 allowed commutation in money for the extra spirit ration, which was allowed to enlisted men engaged in the construction of fortifications or the execution of surveys. This refers back to an act of 1799, which authorized the issue of spirits “in case of fatigue service, or other extra occasions”, and was not affected by the act of 1832 which discontinued the regular spirit ration. In 1865, a General Order from the War Department finally discontinued this special spirit ration, as well.

  2. Common Sense says:

    The Canadian Army still issues a rum ration in winter environments if the proper requests are filled out. Was issued it as recently as this past winter (2013). A one ounce shot is allowed per man every 24 hours, however it’s usually only issued only once or twice during long winter exercises.

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