Monday, August 04, 2008

How Much Is A Gill And The Barley Mow

Today I received a question about how much is a gill.
Wayne writes: "I have a recipe book dating back to WW2 era.In it there are recipes calling for the measurement of gil. In one recipe it calls for "1 gil of olive oil." Can you explain what a gil is ? Thank You"

I pulled out one of my favorite old cookbooks - the wartime edition of "Victory, Binding of the American Woman's Cook Book," edited by Ruth Berolzheimer and published in 1942. I love the inside jacket leaf which read "Food Will Win the War and Write the Peace. You need not sacrifice good nutrition nor good health because of wartime food scarcities and rising costs." Over the years I have found many good recipes in this cookbook.

And in this cookbook is where a found a definition of a "gill" -- 4 gills equal of pint and 1/2 cup equal 1 gill.

Wikipedia has an informative write up on gills -- as a measurement. It notes that in the US a gill is equal to 4 US fluid ounces but in Imperial (British) measurements it is equal to 5 Imperial fluid ounces. And if you want to see gill used in a song -- check out the lyrics to "Good Luck to the Barley Mow." Isn't Wikipedia great!

The search is also on for a lost lemon cake's the request:
"This recipe was on the back of Mrs Tucker's shortening when it came in buckets... can't find my recipe. It's called lemon semplisity cake.

Please check out other recent posts for lost recipes...and post them in the comment section! And now it's time to pick plums.


And one more thing -- here is a blog with some apron eye candy!


Anonymous said...

During the 1940's when I was about 10 yrs old I used to visit my grandmother in Woodhaven, Queens, NY. we used to go to an ice cream store on Atlantic Avenue and we would by a gill of ice cream for each of us. I always heard it pronounced "jill". Now I know it was a quarter of a pint. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

See if this is the lemon cake recipe. It is from the 50's.

2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter, at room temperature (margarine can be substituted)
5 eggs
1/4 cup shortening or canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a good tube pan. Sift dry ingredients into a small
bowl. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs
one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add oil/shortening and extracts and mix well. Add
dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with a third of the milk, mixing well after each
addition. Pour into tube pan (it will be a very thick batter), and bake for 1 hour 15
minutes, or until cake is golden and pulls away from the pan- be careful not to overcook.

Anonymous said...

I have a Scandinavian recipe for "Plain Buns" and it calls for "1 1/2 gills cream." I did not know what type of cream that was, and I thought of several possibilities, all of which were quite contrary to the actual meaning being a unit of measuring. So 1 1/2 gills is 3/4 of a cup??

Thanks for making our Shrove Tuesday a tiny bit less confusing!!

Holly said...

I am guessing that since your recipe is an old Scandinavian recipe, the measurement conversion would be from an Imperial gill -- 1 1/2 gill would be .601 cup. However, 1 1/2 US gill would be slightly less -- .5 cup. Maybe you want to start with a half of a cup and add a little more cream if it is needed to get the desired consistency.

Anonymous said...

A gill is the measurement of the neat tot of rum, that was once issued daily in the RN, to each man over 21 years of age. I always understood it to be 1/8th of a pint. It was diluted 2 to 1 with water, and that was a good 1.5 centimeters short of filling half-pint glass. I reckon 1/8th of a pint is about right.