Colloquialism Decoded: “Made From Scratch”

Today’s Phrase: “Made From Scratch”

Definition: (Adverb) Homemade; handmade; made with few or simple ingredients.

I.E. “These cookies are amazing, did you make them from scratch?”


In 1923, in a haphazard shanty jest about 22 miles north of Toad Suck, Arkansas, Alma Mae Quibblefield found herself in a quandary. Her collard greens were a’bilin’, and the pork rind was a’ready in her cast-iron pan, but when she got to the cupboard under the stair, that there cupboard was bare. Hardly a vittle to be found, and not a bit of cornmeal to make her man a corn pone.

Being a woman of unparalleled thriftiness and utmost resourceful-like nature, it took Alma Mae exactly 3 minutes of sitting on the edge of the water barrel to come up with a plan. She trundled herself to the chicken coop right off, and scooped out a cup of their feed, or as she called it, ‘scratch’.


[Now, surely those of you who know the life and styles of chickens will understand why she called it this.]

She just ground that scratch a bit in her mortar, and yankee-doodle-dandy! There be jest the right near purdiest, yeller-ist cornmeal you could ask fer, fer a right nice corn pone.

Her man never knew the difference, and called it “Jest downright tolerable, Alma Mae!”

Seein’ as he was so chipper about the sit’cheayshun,  Alma Mae never told Mr. Quibblefield he’d jest ‘et the same vittles as the hens.

But she made corn pone the same way ever after, and when the neighbors asked her for the recipe…. she jest kinda grinned with one side of her mouth, and drawled out the other’n, “I made it from scratch.”

And when we want to let our neighbors know jest how thrifty-like and resourceful we have been, we use the same phrase…. whether our corn pone is made from actual scratch or not.

And there ye have it.






(Disclaimer: Facts disclosed as fact may or may not be factual. You really can’t believe everything you read on this here newfangled computin’ machine.)

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