What Does Jamie Oliver Mean by a “Glug” of Olive Oil?

I’ve been asked the question, “What exactly is a drizzle of olive oil?” Our friends in the culinary world have offered up a variety of responses. I’ve since come across another intriguing measurement for olive oil: a “glug.” The term seems to owe its use to British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who uses it in his recipes.

Photo by Peter Loftus

Photo by Peter Loftus

At 34, Oliver has climbed to the top of the cooking world. He’s a TV star, operates restaurants, has his own magazine, and has penned a number of cookbooks. His recipes contain amusing directions, being at times detailed and other times vague.

“Trim and wash a large leek, remove the outer leaves, then slice it into 0.5cm/¼ inch pieces,” he writes for his roasted chicken breast with pancetta, leeks and thyme.

“Add these to the bowl with the leaves of a few sprigs of fresh thyme, a good glug of olive oil, small knob of butter, a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and a small swig of white wine and toss together.”

More examples:

So how much is a glug? “A glug is, um, a glug,” replied Oliver’s spokesman Peter Berry. “There’s no real ‘definition,’ as such but everyone knows what a glug is.”

Uh, okay.

We did, however, find a explanation of sorts on the forums section at Oliver’s web site.

“When you pour olive oil from the bottle it will usually come with little interruptions when air goes back into the bottle. The result is a sort of  glug, glug, glug … sound,” wrote a fan identifying herself by the moniker SusanneH. “One of those is as much as you need” for a glug.

A Glug of ArbosanaSusanneH went on to explain “the exact amount is not so important and may depend a bit on your personal taste. So if you use roughly 1-2 tablespoons you should be fine.”

We tried to define a glug ourselves the other night while making a variation of garlicky spaghetti with Olio Nuovo (we substituted Arbosana for the Olio Nuovo.) The recipe called for about three-eighths of a cup of olive oil, providing us with the opportunity to measure how many glugs went into it. We lost count after about 20 of them.

We turned our attention to twirling and slurping the pasta.

Bon appétit,

Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch

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