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Peck-Measue Cap
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2014/07/14
12:54pm
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deaconB
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In Rex Stout’s WWII-era novel,”Booby Trap”, Major Archie Goodwin is fetching Sergeant Bruce, a fetching WAC, from her apartment to Corporal Nero Wolfe’s brownstone, and in leaving, she grabs her “peck-measure cap” off the table.  It’s not clear whether she is in uniform or wearing what Stout calls “cits”.

Is this a cap shaped like a peck basket; that is, like a fez?

A peck is almost 2.5 gallons.  Is this a hat roughly 1/4 the size of a Texan’s oversize cowboy hat?

 Google is generally my friend, but not today, it seems.

2015/09/04
10:48am
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Archena
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I was searching the term because I came across it in the exact same book. I’ve tried several search engines but can’t find another such reference. Did you ever find an answer?

2015/09/04
5:10pm
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deaconB
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Archie tends to be pretty cutesy with his language, so when I read that book a couple of decades ago, I imagined that he was talking about this:

$_59.JPG?set_id=880000500F

 

It is sorta like a cowboy hat, only smaller, as befits a lady..

I’d like to reread it, but I gave away my hard copy when my eyes got bad, and paying another $8 for a book I already bought once (for $1,95) is galling.  I’m tempted to check The Pirate Bay….

2015/09/05
4:26am
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tromboniator
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So, apparently, a 2-gallon hat, or 20% of the standard cowboy model. 

I’ve read most of the Nero Wolfe books, but I’ve never heard of this one. With no more evidence to go on than what you’ve given, I’d guess that if Archie identified her as a WAC and her headgear as a cap, she was in uniform. Dressed as a civilian she would have worn a hat. How’s that for working with nothing?

Edit: MW Table of Weights and Measures puts a peck at 8 quarts.

2015/09/05
6:43am
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deaconB
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There are two different quarts – a peck is 8 dry-measure quarts, but 9.31 regular quarts.  Does a texan use a hat sized in strawberry quarts or tomato juice quarts?

Booby Trap was a novelette, originally published in a long-defunct magazine in 1942, and then published in the back of “Not Quite Dead Enough”.  According to Wikipedia, there was an episode based on “Booby Trap” in the TV series, called “Gambiit”, but I don’t trust Wikipedia much, especially since Stout wrote a novel in 1962, he entitled “Gambit”.

Not that Hollywood is to be trusted, either.  Archie talks all the time about Wolfe weighing 1/7 of a ton, but he’s never played by an actor weighing less than a hundred pounds more than that. Actually, I think Archie is wrong, because Wolfe’s movements are more like a man weighing 400 than one weighing 280.

In the story of Gambit, Wolfe starts off destroying Webster’s Third, because it’s descriptive, unlike the Second edition, which is prescriptive. Wolfe clears the young ladsy;s father of poisoning. Booby Trap starts off with Wolfe complaining that Goodwin has a grenade – pink, cylindrical, 7 inches long – in his room.  The grenade later figures in a death which Wolfe solves.

2015/09/05
3:13pm
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Archena
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deaconB said
Archie tends to be pretty cutesy with his language, so when I read that book a couple of decades ago, I imagined that he was talking about this:

$_59.JPG?set_id=880000500F

 

It is sorta like a cowboy hat, only smaller, as befits a lady..

I’d like to reread it, but I gave away my hard copy when my eyes got bad, and paying another $8 for a book I already bought once (for $1,95) is galling.  I’m tempted to check The Pirate Bay….

That’s how I pictured it when I read the section. 

 

It’s in “Not Quite Dead Enough” because they are related, storywise. I’m presently rereading the entire series in order. Mostly because I never have read them in any particular order. 

 

Anyway, I use interlibrary loan. Your local library will probably have it – and they can look for large print!

2015/09/05
3:17pm
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Archena
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tromboniator said
So, apparently, a 2-gallon hat, or 20% of the standard cowboy model. 

I’ve read most of the Nero Wolfe books, but I’ve never heard of this one. With no more evidence to go on than what you’ve given, I’d guess that if Archie identified her as a WAC and her headgear as a cap, she was in uniform. Dressed as a civilian she would have worn a hat. How’s that for working with nothing?

Edit: MW Table of Weights and Measures puts a peck at 8 quarts.

Based on the context, I think she has to be in uniform. The time frame is fairly tight and Archie finds a lieutenant in her bedroom closet yet makes no comment on how she’s dressed nor does she change before leaving with him. I can’t imagine Archie not making some remark if she hadn’t been in uniform.  

2015/09/05
9:20pm
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Dick
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A ten gallon cowboy hat will hold less than one gallon if it lasts through filling it with water.  And when you call someone a half-pint they are usually more than four inches tall.  So if anyone ever finds some headgear called a peck-measure cap, it’s etymology probably won’t have any direct connection to dry measurement.

2015/09/06
12:22am
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tromboniator
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Never let accuracy spoil the hyperbole, Grasshopper.

2015/09/06
2:06am
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deaconB
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How do YOU pronounce half-pint?

 

Random House says “haf pahynt, hahf for 1; haf pahynt, hahf for 2, 3″

Definition 1 is 8 fluid ounces.

Definition 2 is a short person

Definition 3 is a person of little importance or significance.

Silly me.  I pronounced them all thew same.  On the other hand, I know what a heffalump is, and they don’t.

2015/09/07
8:14pm
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tromboniator
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Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary:
 
noun \?haf-?p?nt, ?häf-\

Definition of HALF-PINT

:  half a pint
:  a short, small, or inconsequential person
 
By their pronunciation guide I make those to be the same as Random House, but take your choice for either definition. In my world, it’s the first.
2015/09/07
11:35pm
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Reminds me of the time I walked into a McDonalds and asked for a “one newtoner.” The kid (apparently a physics student) smiled and said “you mean a quarter pounder?”

2015/09/08
3:18am
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deaconB
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1.1120554 newtons equaqls 0.25 pounds.

I suspect he waqs just a good guesser.  A goode physics srtudent would have taken a niubble…

2015/09/08
9:27am
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deaconB said: 1.1120554 newtons equals 0.25 pounds.

Yeah, but that’s before cooking.

2015/09/08
9:28am
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Heimhenge said

Reminds me of the time I walked into a McDonalds and asked for a “one newtoner.” The kid (apparently a physics student) smiled and said “you mean a quarter pounder?”

He might not have been a physics student. Maybe you were not the first smart-aleck physicist 😉 to ask him for one.

2015/09/08
1:28pm
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deaconB
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Heimhenge said

deaconB said: 1.1120554 newtons equals 0.25 pounds.

Yeah, but that’s before cooking.

Yes, but doesn’t a 0.25 pound burger shrinks *-exactly* as much in cooking as a 1.1205554 newton one?  In any case, while the *meat* loses weight in cooking, I imagine the entire sandwich is more than the quarter pound.

I made up some 1.6 ounce burger patties.  Instead of a big loaf pan, I divide the dough into four 3×5 loaves and bake them in a Wilton 4-cavity loaf pan.  Sliced, the bread is slider=-size.  My patties of full-fat (73% lean) hamburger fry up nicely, far more tasty and filling than the 15c burgers at McD which are also a 1.6 ounce patty.  I have NO idea they would have that effect.  I always liked the 15c burgers.  I liked them more when they were fried, not reheated in a microwave, and when they were served on a toasted bun.  The current bun not only is not toasted, but they’ve reduced the sugar that made them brown more easily.  But I still like them – but mine are SO much better, it’s not funny, and I’m just frying them on a dry cast-iron skillet, no added fats.  (Mear: 73% lean Aldi burger, Vollrath #36 disher, squashed flat by hand and fried from frozen. Bread recipe: 3 cups flour, 12 ounces water, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp SAF-Instant Red Yeast, rise 12 hours, form into 4 loaves, bake 90 minutes later in 450F oven with a lot of water sprayed into oven at start of baking, about 20 minutes in oven)

2015/09/08
2:30pm
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As a lifelong burger fan, I’m gonna try your recipe, thanks. This is starting to morph into something like a Food Channel thread, but that type of digression is not unprecedented on this forum. Question: What’s the motivation for misting the oven with water before baking? Do you think just putting a pan of water in the oven near the burgers would work? Would be a bit less messy, I think.

2015/09/09
1:44am
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deaconB
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When you spray water into the 450F oven, it IMMEDIATELY turns into steam (no mess!), and that keeps the surface of the bread from “setting”.  You get more rise in the oven, the loaf is lighter, and the surface is nicely smooth.  If you put a pan of water in the oven (as I used to do), it slowly evaporates, and the temperature drops a lot.  The ovens used by bread bakeries inject steam, buut spraying a fine mist is as good as I can do.

You’ll note that there’s no kneading.  And because there’s a long rise, no reason to use water that’s above room temperature.  If you want a softer crust, you can add 1-2 ounces each of water and oil.  This bread doesn’t keep very long; I bake about 4 times a week, but it only takes about 10 minutes, and if I had a dishwasher, about 5, so it’s no burden.  I buy my bread flour from WEBstaurant Store ($17 for 50 pounds, plus about $15 shipping) but Costco is also good. Buying those 5-pound bags at the grocery costs a fortune. And so does buying yeast in packets. A 1-pound brick, about $5, will last 2 years in a refrigerated Mason jar.

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