Cookbook Glossary

A - F

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Anchovy: A small fish preserved in brine and used to flavor dishes

Bacon: In the eighteenth century, it was more like Canadian bacon or breakfast ham slices

Bake Kettle: Utensil for baking a single item on the hearth, with coals above and below; also sometimes called a Dutch oven

Bake oven: Brick or stone structure for baking large quantities of food items such as bread, cakes, pies, etc.

Billet: Piece of firewood, about 12 to 18 inches long and 3 to 4 inches thick

Birch-twig whisk: Bundle of peeled birch tree twigs tied together, used to whip eggs or cream to a froth

Broth: Liquid made by boiling bones to make a stock for use in another dish

Cabbage lettuce: Head of lettuce such as Bibb or Boston, rather than leaf lettuce

Chad/shad: A type of fish found in rivers and waterways along the Eastern Seaboard

Coffin: Pie crust to hold filling; or a standing crust

Colander: A bowl pierced with holes, used to drain foods

Collop: Thin slices of boneless meat, cooked quickly

Corn pone: Cornmeal bread usually flattened and baked or fried on a griddle

Crock: A cylindrical storage container made of redware or stoneware, usually glazed inside and sometimes outside as well, with or without a lid

Currants: mported dried fruits (actually grapes), used in puddings, cakes, etc.

Foodway: The eating habits and culinary practices of a people, region, or historical period

Force, Forc’d, Farced: To stuff, stuffed

Forecemeat: Highly seasoned balls made of meat and dates, used to stuff or garnish fancy dishes

Fricassee: A dish composed of several ingredients in a broth

Fritters: Small cakes fried in plenty of fat

Frying pan: Broad shallow pan with a flat bottom, flaring sides, and long attached handle; may or may not have long legs

G - R

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gentry: an upper or ruling class

Gerkins, gherkins: In the 18th century, small spiny cucumbers, generally pickled; today, small pickled cucumbers

Gill or jill: 1/2 cup or 4 liquid ounces

Griddle: Flat baking surface, either hung or set on a trivet over coals

Hoe Cake: Flat unleavened cake made with cornmeal, fried or baked on a griddle

Jamaica pepper: Allspice

Ketchup: A highly seasoned flavoring liquid, NOT made with tomatoes until the very end of the eighteenth century

Lard: Fat from a pig or hog, rendered for use

Liquor: Liquid in cooking; not alcohol

Lower sorts people: People in the lowest social and wealth class; the poor and laboring poor; included apprentices, fieldworkers, indentured and convict servants and enslaved persons; lower sorts people could move “up” to the middling sorts by learning a trade such as carpentry or rope making and earning money through work

Middling sorts people: The middle class of the colonial period; middling sorts people were typically tradespeople or merchants who did not own their own land; they were usually not born into a wealthy family, but made their money and their reputation through their work

Preserving: To treat fruit or other foods so as to prevent decay

Quarters: A place of residence, especially the buildings or barracks used to house enslaved people

Rasps: To grate

Rations: Food issued or given to members of a group

Rose water: Commonly used in the eighteenth century, a liquid flavoring made from distilled rose petals

S - W

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Sallad oil: Olive oil

Saltpeter: A chemical substance, also referred to as potassium nitrate, that was used as a meat preservative

S-hook: An iron hook, from 3 to 12 inches long, bent into shape of S, and used to lift hot pots or kettles by their bails and to lift lids off bake kettles; also used alone or in a series to hang kettles and pots above the fire

Slapjack: Cornmeal cake, enriched with eggs and milk, fried or backed on a griddle

Small beer: Beer with low alcoholic content that children often drank

Soup Meager: Vegetable soup; soup without meat

Spider: Shallow round-bottomed cooking utensil on long legs, usually made of iron

Spit: A small iron bar with six hooks attached to it, birds to be roasted were hung by string on the hooks and cooked in front of the hearth fire

Sugar: Double refined sugar is today’s granulated white sugar

Trencher: A wooden board or platter on which food is carved or served

Turbinado Sugar: Less refined, brown sugar crystals (today called Sugar in the Raw)

Trivet: A metal stand with 3 legs to place cooking utensils

Tracle: Mild, unsulphured molasses

Vermicelli: Thin whole wheat pasta noodles, used in soups or puddings

Walm: A bubble in boiling; a boiling up; can be counted as a second when boiling starts

Definitions adapted from The Pennsylvania Housewife: English Household Receipts in the Middle Colonies, 2003.

This project was developed through a Teaching American History Grant partnership between Anne Arundel County Public Schools, the Center for History Education at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and Historic London Town and Gardens.