Wednesday, September 7, 2011


We won’t get into distances this time, like “a hoot and a holler,” and “far as Job could spit.”   This will just cover a few numbers and amounts.

SOME SEVERAL:  more than just several---the “some” also used to indicate severity or duration of events

FIFTY-SOME-ODD:   anything from fifty-one to fifty-nine

BOOCOOS:   too many to count.   From beaucoup---many muches, and usually preceded by “just” to amplify

SCADS:   (a number, not an amount)---lots, and usually followed by “of ‘em” and not “of it”

PINCH:   whatever amount thumb and forefinger can grab and put in the pot.

SPOONCLOP:   heaped-up spoon---refers to a big clump of something like mayo or butter, which would make an audible  “clop” into the dish

PALM:  as in "a palm of salt"---usually a measure for pickles or the spaghetti pot

TEE-NINECY BIT:   just a little

TO FLOAT AN EGG:   from an old pickle recipe---when you had enough salt in the water in the churn to make an egg float, it was right

SIZE OF AN EGG:   usually refers to the size of a lump of butter or lard, or to the size you should make roll dough or meatballs into

HALF AN EGGSHELL FULL:  Mrs. Prysock’s eggnog recipe called for six each of rum and bourbon.   The year Mr. Dero brought home the two dozen Jumbo eggs was a memorable party 

TEACUPFUL:   you measured with the measure you HAD, and if you used the same one for the whole recipe, it usually balanced out pretty well, even in baking.

A WINEGLASS:  who knows what size?

MESS:    in the eye of the beholder---a mess of quail you might hold in your hands, whereas a mess of greens might fill a bushel.    A GOOD mess might be a lavish amount, or a skimpy one, depending upon the speaker’s known generosity.  

A Good Mess of greens from dear Mrs. White would be more than enough, whereas a “good mess” in the eye of Miss Lottie Folger might depict her grudging hand in its meager amount.

CROAKER SACK—burlap sack used to bring home a mess of frogs---like these:

And not THIS:

POKEFUL:   usually a smaller sack, of brown paper, but could refer to a small parcel tied up with string

These three same as everybody's:


A BAIT:      usually refers to a big amount, AFTER it’s been eaten, and more than you should have.   “I had me a bait of froglegs at Mamma ‘n’ ‘ems last night.”

WHOLE POTFUL:  not necessarily foodstuffs, and not necessarily in a pot.   You can have, variously, whole potfuls of money, luck or misery, to name a few.

And, as my Dad answered, were anyone ever so gauche as to inquire into his financial state, you might have:


And to you all:   A Yankee Dime---(A Kiss) and moiré non,


Southern Lady said...

One more:

The southerner's reply to Elizabeth Barrett Browning's eloquent question, "How do I love thee?" ... "A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck!" I love doing that one with our granddaughter Avery Grace.

Loved all of these!

Beverly said...

Rachel, I love these, and a few were new to me. You have given me a big smile this morning.

I work with a wonderful lady that runs over with all of these sayings, and she makes me smile, too.

I'm afraid that my growing up years were deprived of many flowery words.

Jeanne said...

Rachel, love this post and all the "Southernisams."
The one I have never heard is 'bait' and the meaning is a hoot. Also, "enough money to burn a wet dog" is a new one to me. I enjoyed this post very much. However, Beverly does say I am a Yankee!!! I have grown up in the South since 1948. Humph!!! is all I can say to that. HA!

I commented on your pink post finally.
Love , Jeanne

Tonja said...

How about a 'smidge'?
This is not about measures, but one of the Southernisms I love most is ..."I gave it a lick and a promise..." Said by my Aunt Kathrine when she quit sweeping her driveway!

Loved hearing all thee. I knew mot of them.

Patsy said...

I grew up hearing most of these. I have my grandmothers cook book and she used some of these measures.

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Rachel:
Well, we shall now be able to add your Mason Dixonary to the Shorter Oxford Dictionary on our bookshelves since this is just what we need to interpret the many American food blogs which we encounter in the Blogosphere!!! Although we are seldom to be found in a kitchen, particularly our own, we nevertheless like to keep our fingers on the pulse of culinary terms!! And this blogpost is just perfect!!!

You have amused us greatly and we have had great fun looking through your most eclectic and witty posts. We have found you via the Honourable Helen Hartman and have signed up as Followers immediately. We shall look forward to many happy returns!!!

steelersandstartrek said...
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Kouign Aman said...

Dunno if its southron, but there's the useful "smidge", which is a good synonym for "tee-ninecy".

Another joyful post, especially combined with the return from the wedding trip, the way I read them.

Maggie McArthur said...

"Enough money to burn a wet dog." It's entered my vocab. Here's a Yankee dime back atcha.