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 Glossary of Words That Were Common in Cookbooks 150 Years Ago Jump to the

glossary terms

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 laradoonsyllabubcodlins, 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.

Sample from Glossary: 


  • 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."
  • READ MORE:http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/html/glossary.html

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