When things are going well, some people in England say "it's cooking with gas". Where does this expression come from please? I heard the Chief of Nottinghamshire police saying it the other day.

Alasdair.
When things are going well, some people in England say "it's cooking with gas". Where does this expression come from please? I heard the Chief of Nottinghamshire police saying it the other day.

Is it not "cooking ON gas"?

Ian
When things are going well, some people in England say ... the Chief of Nottinghamshire police saying it the other day.

Is it not "cooking ON gas"?

It depends where you are.
http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/be+cooking+on+gas

be cooking on gas (British informal) also be cooking with gas (American informal)
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cooking with gas
cooking with gas
Etymology
From the suggestion, heavily advertised in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that stoves using natural gas as a fuel cook better or more efficiently than, for instance, wood-burning or electric stoves.

http://www.pride-unlimited.com/probono/idioms1.html

Although common place today, gas stoves have not always been the norm. Gas stoves started to be available in the 1800's, and until that time wood stoves were the standard.
Now you're "cooking with gas" comes from an old advertisement for gas stoves. The phrase suggests that gas is faster, easier, cleaner, better than cooking with wood.

Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.english.usage)
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http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/cooking with gas cooking with gas Etymology From the suggestion, heavily advertised in the late 19th and early 20th centuries that stoves using natural gas as a fuel cook better or more efficiently than, for instance, wood-burning or electric stoves.

I think that definition is using the phrase "natural gas" to prevent confusion with "gas" meaning "gasoline" (the liquid motor fuel).

At the time that gas stoves were first used they ran on piped "manufactured gas" or "town gas". Actual natural gas was not used until later.

Peter Duncanson, UK
(in alt.english.usage)
When things are going well, some people in England say "it's cooking with gas". Where does this expression come from please? I heard the Chief of Nottinghamshire police saying it the other day.

My father, in Pennsylvania, named after the British subject William Penn, born in 1892, used to say, "Now you're cooking with gas". Because yes, a gas stove or oven in an improvement over coke or charcoal or coal or wood. It's faster, easier, cleaner, and better.

I'm sure my father's mother had a gas stove, and that when he got married, his new home did too. But it had a coal furnace. Soon after, my father bought a coal stoker, which he would fill in the morning and it would use a big worm gear and electric motor to put more coal in the furace, so that my mother wouldn't have to shovel coal to stoke the furnace. I don't know how long they had that setup, but my father was 53 and made a good living and soon bought a gas furnace, so he wouldn't have to shovel coal either. The gas furnace also was easier, cleaner, better, and probably faster.

Posters should say where they live, and for which area they are asking questions. I was born and then lived in Western Pa. 10 years
Indianapolis 7 years
Chicago 6 years
Brooklyn, NY 12 years
Baltimore 26 years
When things are going well, some people in England say "it's cooking with gas". Where does this expression come from please? I heard the Chief of Nottinghamshire police saying it the other day. Alasdair.

It's an old advertising phrase in the UK from the late 1800s - early 1900s, when many households still cooked on open fires or coal fired ovens. "Cooking with gas" was so much more convenient, and back then was seen as avant gard and progressive.
There was stiff competition between gas and electricty and the controlabilty of gas, where the flame can be turned up or down at an instant scored over electricity.
Advertising typical of the era in which the term was coined is here:

http://www.williamsugghistory.co.uk/cooking.htm
"Now we're cooking by gas' became a synonym and an exclamation for making progress and overcoming an obstacle It's a very dated and old fashioned term, used mainly by the older generation.

I dare say than many under the age of sixty wouldn't have a clue what it meant. About the last person who should be using such a term is the Chief of Nottinghamshire Police, given its consistently dire performance.

Nottinghamshire Police is the worst performing force in England and Wales, according to new figures. Inspectors found the service ranked "poor" in its handling of crime, protecting the public from serious harm and improving confidence and satisfaction.
The news came just days after a capability review found "significant weaknesses" in both the force and its governing authority, which is supposed to hold the police force to account for poor performance.

Hardly 'cooking by gas'.
"Nottingham earned the nickname "Shottingham" for the relatively high level of gun crime, (for the UK that is) which the police seemingly were unable to get a grip on.
David.
Born in Nottigham St Annes, and spent the first 30 years of my
70 years of life there. (Now near Hull, NE Coast of England).
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