I have heard this phrase as:
- Now we're cooking with gas.
- Now we're cooking with grease.
- Now we're cooking with heat.
- Now we're cooking with fire.
Which of these is the original version, and where/how did it originate?
Gas cookers began to replace wood-burners around 1915, and the actual phrase was used by Hollywood radio comedians around December 1939, and then appropriated by gas companies to promote gas cooking from around 1941 onwards.
The phrase has been attributed to Deke Houlgate, who after working in the gas industry, wrote the line for Bob Hope.
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms (1997) by Christine Amme says it's 1940s slang, and it:
American Gas Association monthly - Volume 23 (1941) offers an origin:
The same association's Proceedings - Volume 23 (1941) suggests several slogans to promote gas, and notes:
The Pacific Coast Gas Association's Proceedings - Volume 32 (1941) wanted to cash-in on the phrase's popularity:
Gas age - Volume 88 (1941) says the phrase is already famous:
Deke Houlgate and Bob Hope
Houlgate College Football Rankings was founded by Deke Houlgate. On their website, his son writes:
It was earlier attributed to Bob Hope, for example in the New York Times (April 10, 1941) review of his film Road To Zanzibar:
And a 1942 newspaper article (The Pittsburgh Press - Oct 15, 1942) refers to:
A post to jackbenny.org says:
It was common enough to confuse "word experts", notes *Municipal sanitation - Volume 11* (1941):
It was used in a 1942 film, The Big Street:
And the last lines of a 1943 Daffy Duck cartoon, The Wise Quacking Duck:
Wikipedia also says this cartoon, shortly before the end:
The original is "Now You're Cooking With Gas", supposedly part of an ad campaign from the era when gas stoves first started replacing wood stoves for cooking in the home. The Wikitionary entry cooking with gas offers some insight, but I couldn't locate a specific ad campaign, or any other corroborating materials. This article suggests that this would have been early in the 1900s.
I think the original is just
Which means that have finally started to get going.
The later additions are just for emphasis.
"Now we're cooking with gas" emphasizes the fact that a gas stovetop heats things more quickly than the old electric stovetops they replaced.
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