Slumgullion and goulash

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Slumgullion and goulash are two words that are sometimes used interchangeably, but in reality have a difference in meaning. We will look at the definitions of the words slumgullion and goulash, where the words come from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A slumgullion is a stew, usually made up of whatever is at hand but containing at least component of meat. The word slumgullion is an American word first seen in print in the 1870s in the story Roughin’ It by Mark Twain. However, in the story, slumgullion referred to a nasty, watery beverage. The first known use of the word slumgullion occurred in 1849, it was used by miners in the California gold rush to describe the muddy slurry left behind after washing gold through a sluice. By the turn of the twentieth century, slumgullion was used to describe a weak, tasteless stew. Today, there are many different recipes called slumgullion as the name does not actually have a culinary background.

Goulash is a Hungarian stew made with meat, vegetables, paprika and various other spices. Goulash may be traced back to the ninth century when shepherds cooked stews in sheep stomachs. There are various recipes for goulash. What they all have in common is paprika. The word goulash is sometimes used figuratively to mean a jumble or a hodgepodge.


But on Saturdays, his grandfather would slide into the kitchen and whip up a dish called slumgullion. (Democrat & Chronicle)

But where I was concerned, it was Gaga’s Hungarian goulash—cubed chuck simmered for the length of an autumn afternoon along with carrots and sliced potatoes, blanketed in a rich tomato-and-paprika gravy the color of Crayola Burnt Umber—or nothing. (The Wall Street Journal)

Explanations of the timing of the rut, the quirky and contradictory behavior deer exhibit, and the possible role of lunar phases and weather in triggering the rut have been debated for decades and created a goulash of myth, science, legend and folklore surrounding the rut. (The Toledo Blade)