Have You Tried Lumpy Dick?

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Words by Dalene Heck / Photo by Pete Heck

My brother-in-law’s hand flew up to cover his mouth as he sputtered and choked on the roast beef he had been chewing. I raised my hand to touch my lips as well, my concurrent movement in an attempt to stifle sudden, gut-wrenching laughter.

Elegant table manners were out the window with the symphony of giggles that erupted around us. My Grandma’s eyes circled the table, laughing a little on her own, but clearly underestimating the depth of the gutter her grandchildren’s dirty minds sunk to.

“Oh Pete, this is such a delicious dinner,” she had said just a moment before, “and all I have to look forward to when I get home is some Lumpy Dick.”

After extracting our minds from said gutter (which took several minutes I might add, as a round of irresistible jokes had to be told), we were dealt a history lesson. We learned that Lumpy Dick is actually a simple dish with few ingredients, made by my Grandma’s parents when times were tough as early settlers to Alberta and the Peace Country. It was inexpensive to make, fed their large family (13 children in total), and was served every Friday. My Grandma will make it for herself to this day.

My Mom, who also ate Lumpy Dick growing up, says: “It was a good filling meal that would really stick to your ribs.”

And wouldn’t you know it, searching for “Lumpy Dick” in the googles doesn’t bring up an onslaught of expected racy photos, but instead a variety of recipes framed by early pioneering history, and an accurate definition: “An early pudding made by stirring dry flour into boiling milk until thick, then serving with sweet milk and molasses or sugar.”

As we travel the world, Pete and I are eager to attempt new recipes that will help us better understand local culture. Damn straight we were going to have ourselves some Lumpy Dick.

1/2 cup of flour, 2 cups of milk, a dollop of butter, and syrup to taste!

Lumpy Dick Ingredients

Bring the milk to a boil, slowly add the flour while whisking. Lumps will remain, giving the dish one part of it’s name. Who or what the “Dick” is? That remains a mystery.

Cooking Lumpy Dick

Finished off with butter and syrup. It tastes exactly as you would expect it to – like butter and syrup.

Lumpy Dick - Pioneer Food

This recipe easily serves three. Or would have, if Pete had chosen to finish his.

I polished it off, in the name of research. And my Mom was right, that Lumpy Dick stuck to my ribs for five hours.

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49 Comments

  1. I’m glad you finished your Lumpy Dick, if only for research reasons. Be PROUD of your heritage right?? haha I have NEVER heard of this before but I do love its name.

    Its funny the differences in family – your whole family burst out in laughter at the words. My family would of stared in horror as me and a few cousins burst out laughing. But thats why families are great right?

    1. I really think my Grandma as quite surprised at how funny we think it is. And when I called her the other day to get the “recipe”, she laughed quite hard and couldn’t understand why I would want to write about it! πŸ™‚

    1. ‘Dumply’ – ha! It really kinda just tasted like porridge, and all I could taste was the butter and syrup. So yes, because I like butter and syrup. πŸ™‚

  2. I tried it once but I hated it for some reason ;-(. It sounds delicious and it looks pretty cool but I don’t like the taste unfortunately. Did you like it a lot?

  3. hi friends Δ± havent been able to follow you for a long time.Δ± think you are in canada and that must be fun for you writing about your own country

  4. It’s always been fun to watch the shock and confusion on peoples faces after telling them that I loved eating lumpy dick as a kid πŸ˜€

    It’s not a common thing to have regularly eaten anymore, but it did go far in a family of 10.

  5. Awesome post for naughty SEO! πŸ˜›
    I confess I clicked through myself expecting something a little more spicy… Turns out it’s actually sweet!! πŸ˜‰

  6. I know I’ve heard of Lumpy Dick before, but I’m not sure where. Would be easy to make dairy free (using almond milk and margarine instead of milk and butter), so I will have to try it sometime – again, just for the purpose of research, lol.

    I like stuff that gets thickened with flour – made a good mournay sauce recently to go with crepes – so who knows? I might actually like this lumpy stuff…

  7. Lumpy dick is a old family recipe of my own family, the Scott’s. We are German as well, and our recipe is different from yours but along the same lines. You say that “dick” is mystery… well let me clear that up. In German, “dick” actually means “stew” so it is basically called lumpy stew. And I thought only my family ate that stuff!

  8. My ancestors were early pioneers and came to rest in Western Idaho. I found out a few years back that a branch line of the Oregon Trail goes through my property for over a mile. Saw the wagon ruts but never made the association. Growing up one of my favorite meals was lumpy dick, cinnamon toast and cocoa.

  9. my Aunt Janet use to make a big pot of Lumpy Dick when we were deer hunting in Walsburg Utah. I was maybe 6 or 7 years old. I am now 48 and I make Lumpy Dick 2 to 3 times a year and still love it. My wife and kids all like it as well. I have Cieliac Spru so i can’t have Wheat flour any more but i have found a substitute that works great. Just finished a small batch with my wife and daughter. Hard to explain to others through the laughter just how to make it, and yes if you do it wrong it does taste like paste.

  10. My sister and I have reminisced about eating our pioneer grandma’s lumpy dick. We loved it, and thought the how-to info must have been lost when she died. Then the other day i thought , why not see if i can find anything about it on Google? I’m glad i did! We considered it a special treat. I can still picture in my mind grandma standing at the stove rubbing the flour and egg between her thumb and finger, into the hot milk. I can’t wait to try it myself!

  11. You got the recipe backwards. It is 2 cups of milk to one half cup of flour. I just followed it the other way and had a very interesting dish. My wife wouldn’t stop laughing.

    1. OMG Landon, you are so right!! Sorry about that, I will make the change (I never expected anyone to actually try this – haha)!

  12. Stuck to your rubs for five hours huh… I thought you were supposed to call the doctor after four! πŸ˜‰

  13. My family has been born and raised in Idaho ever since my 4th great grandparents came from England and Sweden to Utah as Mormon pioneers. We have a strong tradition in my family of pioneer foods, and Lump Dick is a breakfast staple in my grandparents home, passed down through generations. However, we have always eaten it (at least, that anyone living can remember) mixed with cinnamon sugar and raisins.
    Another thing we have always eaten is what we call German Pancakes, which after doing some research I discovered that it is really Yorkshire Pudding baked in a big dish. I don’t why my family called them German Pancakes, considering we are exclusively of English and Swedish descent, and it’s a recipe passed down from my english ancestors. Regardless of how the pancakes received the name, they are delicious, and we serve them with butter and maple syrup or jam. YUM!
    My grandma also makes her apple pie crusts with lard instead of butter. She makes dill, bread’n’butter’, sour, and sweet cinnamon pickles. She makes her own applesauce, bakes her own bread, and makes whipped cream with the cream skimmed from the milk of my grandparents dairy cows. When she was a teenager, she sewed her own school clothes. It’s crazy to me how self sufficient she knows how to be, and a part of me wishes that type of knowledge and skill had been passed down to me, which has led into my interest of learning about old homesteading skills and old family recipes. It’s a fascinating window into the past, for sure!

  14. Alan Kirk here again… made another batch last night with Pamela’s Gluten free Almond based flour. then another batch tonight made with Multipurpose flour you can get at Harmon’s Grocery store. i put 2 cups flour, and 1 tbs spoon salt into a mixing bowl.mix up well, then i use heavy cream and drop drops into the flour and mix in with a fork. takes a long time but keep doing that until you make the lumps, heat 4 cups milk stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. take a hand full of the flour and using your thumb slowly add the flour pinching against your index finger as you go to make the lumps. do not add too fast or the milk will cool off and you will end up with paste.keep adding and stirring until the lumpy dick thickens up. some of my family only season with salt. others use sugar. i like to add butter, then heavy cream, sometimes syrup, sometimes honey, my wife likes cinnamon sugar. I still make it often… when i’m gone my kids may never have it again. lost art…

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