I think most of you know that I’m a logophile, which is just a fancy way of saying that I’m a lover of words. Earlier today, I was looking something up online, when I stumbled across a term that I had never heard before—slumgullion. It sounds like an awful word, right? It has three main definitions—
- A thin stew of meat, vegetables, & potatoes
- A weak, thin, or watery beverage like coffee or tea
- The leftover gunk from processing whale blubber—ugh, seriously?
The etymology of the word, doesn’t do it any favors because loosely translated, the meaning of slumgullion is a combination of slime & mud or cesspool. Mark Twain used the term in 1872 when referring to watery coffee. When thinking about a stew, many people think of it as a “throw everything in the refrigerator into a pot” type of dish. Historically speaking, stews have been around for centuries, but the term slumgullion appears to have been coined in the mid-1800’s.
Since it’s a “leftover” sort of dish, most sources say that there isn’t one specific recipe, but agree that it contains meat, vegetables, and potatoes. After searching around, I stumbled across a recipe for slumgullion stew that sounded good…so, guess what I did this afternoon? Yup—the word nerd got cookin’! The name doesn’t hold much appeal, but the stew was quite tasty!
Bon Appétit! —(I wish you) a hearty appetite (French)