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View Full Version : Whence the expression "Now we're cooking with gas?"


kaylasdad99
08-09-2005, 05:06 PM
I know the advantages of cooking with natural gas, in regions where it is available. But there is a somewhat popular expression that suggests that some obstacle to the completion of a task has been overcome, and further progress on the project will require [comparatively] little effort. I used this expression with a customer today, and he asked me where it came from. Not that he was unfamiliar with it; he was just asking about its origin.

Well, I couldn't very well tell him that my uncle Bill invented it in 1963 when he was tuning up my dad's lawn mower ('cos I'm pretty sure that isn't true). Anybody have any knowledge of the expression's origin?

Ezstrete
08-09-2005, 05:19 PM
I know the advantages of cooking with natural gas, in regions where it is available. But there is a somewhat popular expression that suggests that some obstacle to the completion of a task has been overcome, and further progress on the project will require [comparatively] little effort. I used this expression with a customer today, and he asked me where it came from. Not that he was unfamiliar with it; he was just asking about its origin.

Well, I couldn't very well tell him that my uncle Bill invented it in 1963 when he was tuning up my dad's lawn mower ('cos I'm pretty sure that isn't true). Anybody have any knowledge of the expression's origin?



It was a popular,"hep" ,expression in the 30's meanng "SWELL"--------------and ,probably ,was a comment on cooking convenience when the kitchen evolved from the old coal/wood range into the wood/gas combination.

That'd put it well back into the 20s-------------and maybe even before.

After coal and wood,cooking with gas was REALLY "cookin' with gas!"

y'didn't even have tp use "lid lifters" when using the gas side!

EZ

Jake
08-09-2005, 05:44 PM
It was a popular,"hep" ,expression in the 30's meanng "SWELL"--------------and ,probably ,was a comment on cooking convenience when the kitchen evolved from the old coal/wood range into the wood/gas combination.

That'd put it well back into the 20s-------------and maybe even before.

After coal and wood,cooking with gas was REALLY "cookin' with gas!"

y'didn't even have tp use "lid lifters" when using the gas side!

EZ

I agree. But.... Just maybe it means that cooking with gas is better than cooking with electricity? Many chiefs prefer gas heating because temperatures are more controlable.

Naa......

PBear42
08-09-2005, 09:21 PM
Whether this is universal or not I can't say, but my grandfather used to use the expression all the time. He meant (I asked) as distinguished from a coal or wood stove, which was bulky, dirty, temperamental and had almost no heat control.

Nars Glinley
08-09-2005, 09:26 PM
I work for an electric company and we always say, "Now we're cooking with electricity." Yeah, it's pretty lame.

tomndebb
08-09-2005, 11:28 PM
Gas preceded electricity.

Before gas, you hauled the appropriate combustible (typically wood) into the house (after chopping it), loaded up the stove, got the fire lit, waited while the burners warmed up to the proper temperature, (and the room got very hot), then controlled the temperature of the burners by adjusing the amount of flame, using the flue damper. The temperature would have been dependant on the type and dryness of the wood and would have changed every few minutes as the amount of wood inside the stove burned down or was fed again, a process that required multiple "feedings" throughout a large meal preparation.

To cook with gas, one opened the gas line, lit a match to the appropriate burner's feed, and adjusted the flame height and color to the desired temperature. (This also meant that each burner could have a separate temperature, a feature nearly impossible to duplicate on a wood burning stove.)

The advantages of cooking with gas should be pretty apparent, at this point.

samclem
08-09-2005, 11:43 PM
It was a popular,"hep" ,expression in the 30's meanng "SWELL"--------------and ,probably ,was a comment on cooking convenience when the kitchen evolved from the old coal/wood range into the wood/gas combination.

That'd put it well back into the 20s-------------and maybe even before

EZ

It only became popular in the 1940's. GAs stoves were popular starting in the teens, and the phrase was used, but not in a metaphorical way, in the 1920-1935 period, at least not that seemed to make it into print. It definitey caught on in the 40's.

Ezstrete
08-10-2005, 09:32 AM
It only became popular in the 1940's. GAs stoves were popular starting in the teens, and the phrase was used, but not in a metaphorical way, in the 1920-1935 period, at least not that seemed to make it into print. It definitey caught on in the 40's.

One of the Andrews Sisters arrangements,circa '38.included the phrase in an exclamatory fashion-----------and there were others----------I seem to recall
Mr Armstromg putting asided the horn nd declaring it, also in the mid 30s period.

Ans so it goes---------or went!

EZ

Rayne Man
08-10-2005, 10:22 AM
Just a thought , could the phrase have come originally from a commercial, either from a gas company or a manufacturer of gas stoves ?

ouryL
08-10-2005, 12:15 PM
Gas preceded electricity.


Yes, gaslamps preceded electric ones.

CookingWithGas
08-10-2005, 12:32 PM
Damn. Sorry I came in so late, I missed out on this one.

Johnny L.A.
08-10-2005, 12:46 PM
I like to say, 'Now we're cooking with fire!' :p

Exapno Mapcase
08-10-2005, 01:03 PM
Just a thought , could the phrase have come originally from a commercial, either from a gas company or a manufacturer of gas stoves ?
There are about ten million sites that copy this phrasing word for word:
Although common place today, gas stoves have not always been the norm. Gas stoves started to be available in the 1800's, and until that time wood stoves were the standard.

Now you're "cooking with gas" comes from an old advertisement for gas stoves. The phrase suggests that gas is faster, easier, cleaner, better than cooking with wood.

None of them, of course, give the name of advertiser, the date, the location of the ad, or any supporting material that might aid one in finding it.

While it's very possible that an advertisement coined the phrase, it's just as possible that the copywriter used a current expression to give the ad punch.

kaylasdad99
08-11-2005, 12:40 PM
Many thanks to all for the responses.