A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 15, 2006
Charlie Taylor (butter substitute)

"Charlie Taylor” (or “Charley Taylor") is the name of a butter substitute made by cowboy cooks. The name may have been taken from the Charlie Taylor of Charlie, Texas, but the origins of the name are still unknown.


Handbook of Texas Online
CHARLIE, TEXAS. Charlie is on Farm Road 810 twenty-one miles northwest of Henrietta in northwestern Clay County. The community was called Big Wichita Valley in 1878, when Henry T. Dunn built a store just south of the Red River. Later Dunn sold the store to Charlie Taylor, and almost immediately the site became known as Charlie. For years the store was a popular trading post for county farmers and ranchers and some Indians from nearby Indian Territory (later Oklahoma). In 1882 a post office opened at the community. By the mid-1920s the population of Charlie surpassed 200. After the Great Depression and World War II, however, the community’s population count declined. The Charlie post office closed sometime after 1930. From the early 1970s through 2000 the community’s population was estimated at sixty-five.

(Dictionary of American Regional English)
Charley Taylor n West
A butter substitute made of sorghum and bacon grease.
1933 AmSp 8.1.27 nTX, Charley Taylor. Syrup or sorghum into which bacon or ham grease from the platter has been poured and stirred.
1939 Wellman Trampling Herd 237 West, A really accomplished cook would give his outfit something to brag about with such a gustatory array as...Charlie Taylor (a substitute for butter made from a mixture of sorghum molasses and bacon grease).
1950 Western Folkl. 9.139, Characteristic frontier names for common foods include...Charlie Taylor for a butter made of sorghum and bacon grease.

(Historical Dictionary of American Slang, A-G)
Charlie Taylor n. [orig. unkn.] S.W. (see quot.)
1933 AS VIII 27: Charley Taylor. Syrup or sorghum into which bacon or ham grease from the platter has been poured or stirred.
1939, 1950 in DARE.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Wednesday, November 15, 2006 • Permalink