Chubs, Glugs, and Dollops

I was reading a recipe over at Cedar Sanderson’s blog. She calls for a glug of milk. Since she’s cooking by feel, I’d guess based on my limited experience with hand-mixing biscuits that it’s about a scant third of a cup. My glug tends to be about a quarter cup or a scosh [“skoh-sh”] less.

We agree on a chub of sausage or ground meat, however. And her dollop is almost the same as mine, give or take what we are dolloping. Note that this is dollop as a measuring term, not as a verb. Dolloping onto a surface is what you do with dough or mashed potatoes (or mashed turnips). You dollop an amount of something.

English, especially the Southern-Midwestern Cooking dialect, is a strange language.

A chub is the blunt ended, soft (unless still frozen) package of ground meat or sausage. It varies between 12 ounces and a pound or so. You can get a ten-pound chub, although at that point I think we are up to a log-of-beef or club (if still frozen) rather than a chub.

Original from Instacart, used under Creative Commons Fair Use.

Anyone who has seen meat sold in chubs knows instantly what “one chub of breakfast sausage” looks like and means. If you have a frozen chub, and don’t thaw it completely, you can make tidy slices for sausage or hamburger patties, then let it finish thawing. I’d say 9/10 thawed or so, bot rock hard. Unless you are using a band saw, in which case please clean the blade before and after cutting your frozen chub. Do not use a table saw. Just don’t. No.

A dollop means take an eating spoon (as opposed to serving spoon or stirring spoon) and scoop an amount of something into it, then plop the ingredient into the main dish. I tend to dollop garlic, flour if I’m browning it in butter (a very heaping tablespoon or so, ish), shredded cheese, and things like that, where amount-to-taste is more important than precision measuring.

A glug for me tends to be wine, or balsamic vinegar, and is probably less than a quarter cup, as I mentioned above. I don’t bake by feel. That way lies disaster, because I bake so rarely and most of what I bake is unforgiving of guestimates. I will use a glug of something the same way as I use a few shakes of this spice or that condiment.

When in doubt, measuring is always safe. When trying a new spice blend, measure. I got surprised by real Thai curry powder once. I was used to grocery store Thai curries, not “made in Thailand for Thai cooks” curry powder. My sinuses were clear for the rest of the semester, meaning Spring Break to late May.

If you’re not sure, here’s a guide to some other measurements:


14 thoughts on “Chubs, Glugs, and Dollops

  1. And here I thought the traditional formulation was “Lawyers, Guns, and Money.” ;-p

  2. $SPOUSE will cook by taste, but since her baking is strictly gluten-free, any leeway goes away. Some key ingredients come out in the quarter tsp range, and woe betide anybody who tries to guestimate them. A lot of the GF bread dough is closer to a stiff batter, and kneading doesn’t exist.

  3. Nice, the only one I didn’t know was chub!

    Do your recipes include glug with, or without, the cheater? Our olive oil has a cheater, but they’re easier to see in whiskey bottles, which is where mom got the term– that cross piece. With whiskey, it takes a three count pour from three shots (4-5 oz) to two shots (about 3 oz).
    The olive oil, obviously, is WAY less consistent, even if one’s figuring inside-the-house room temp. (Between 55 and 75….)

  4. Mom used to complain that some of her mother’s recipes were impossible to duplicate. A pinch of this a handful of that, etc. The problem was that grandma’s hands were much larger than mom’s. Cooking cold be done by taste, and amounts adjusted as needed, baking on the other hand, not so much.

    • My mom thought that dad’s mom was deliberately sabotaging when she shared her recipes.

      There HAD to be a code to it, because NOBODY got grandma’s results from her recipes.

      Grandma let mom audit a recipe on the excuse of “making copies” and I think the note “until it looks right”…and mom discovered that the recipe was the bones. Grandma was tasting, and adding like a pinch of flour or sugar here and there, or skipping stuff because it didn’t “look” like it needed it.

      Her recipes were the equivalent of “take a right five miles before where the old Smith’s place use to be.”

  5. I’m wondering if some of my sinus issues have anything to do with most of the cooks here being a lot more adverse to spices than I am.

    • Could be. I incline toward the “warm and flavorful” end of the spice spectrum, although “fiery and flavorful” is good from time to time. My adventure with the smoked habenero hot sauce notwithstanding.

  6. Interesting, I didn’t know ‘some’ of the words… I also remember both grandmothers/my mother using ‘pinches’ and ‘dashes’ of seasonings…

  7. My wife has a novelty set of measuring spoons for some of the customary units: Drop, Smidgen, Pinch, Dash, and Tad. At one point, she was actually using them (she doesn’t deal well with ambiguity in units of measurement).
    I commonly use units such as Slosh and Dribble, and the infamous Scoop (as in: one heapy scoop of rice to two level scoops of water). And, where bread dough is concerned, it’s “knead in additional flour until it’s the right consistency.” (Likewise pancake, cornbread, or muffin batter: mix the specified ingredients, then add milk until the correct consistency is attained.)
    Then there’s Dave Lister’s approach to measuring curry powder (or was it chili powder?): carefully measure out exactly one level tablespoon, then dump the remainder of the bottle into the pot. Not quite the approach I take, but I have been known to get rather casual with such ingredients when cooking for myself.

  8. This is actually one of the biggest reasons I don’t do much cooking: I have a tendency to TBAR any recipe that says “a pinch of x” or “a dollop of y” or “simmer over medium heat” or something like that. A complete neophyte at cooking (raises hand) doesn’t understand what those things mean, and I can’t afford to ruin pounds of ingredients while I try and fail and try again. I need numbers: 1/2 teaspoon, 1/4 teaspoon, a temperature to aim for…

    And I thought a chub was a kind of fish. 😉

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