Slumming It

Slumgullion (sluhm-guhl-yuhn). Does it mean …

1. a stew of meat, vegetables, potatoes, etc.
2. a beverage made weak or thin, as watery tea, coffee, or the like.
3. the refuse from processing whale carcasses.
4. a reddish, muddy deposit in mining sluices.

If you answered ALL of the above, you’ve either been around a long time or you’re a history buff.
The earliest occurrence of “slumgullion” recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary is from Mark Twain’s “Roughing It” published in 1872. “He poured for us a beverage which he called ‘Slumgullion.'” In other words,
a weak drink. 

A decade later, “slumgullion” was used to refer to watery refuse from processing whale blubber. Okay. Not edible. It was also used to refer to the muddy sludge created by mining operations. Still not. The earliest use of it as a weak stew is found in 1902 in Jack London’s “Daughter of the Snows.” Slumgullion a weak stew? Who knew!?

It doesn’t sound like something you’d want to eat but hey, I’m going to try it on my husband today. “What you got cookin’ in the kitchen sweetie?”

“Oh, just a simple pot of whale blubber.”

In reality, I made bone broth yesterday. Today, I’ll add some veggies and call it Sunday Supper Stew, er, I mean, Sunday Supper Slumgullion. I imagine I’ll have some explaining to do.

  1. Shery says:

    I love unusual words. Pass the slumgullion … with a side order of guttersnipe & puddinhead. :o)

  2. Eileen Widman says:

    I have always thought of slumgullion as a sort of Nail broth or “whatchagot stew” Fun to see this definition.

  3. I had no idea there were so many types of slumgullion. We were raised on slumgullion..a stick to your ribs comfort food…flat noodles, with ground beef, tomatoes, kidney beans, onion, grn pepper, and lots of salt and pepper. Yummmm!

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