Several years ago, I wrote this popular post on “Diner Speak” and I decided to repost it with a few additions as you, my readers have added a few descriptions that you remembered from your past. So thank you for that.
Yes, these were the days of poodle skirts, Cherry Phosphates, and Leave It To Beaver!
So for a bit of nostalgia, please read on:
Yellow Blanket on a Dead Cow and Make It Cry!
Let me explain, before you think I have gone over the edge….:)!
Every now and again, the Captain and I go to a small Diner here in the Cape and if we are sitting close enough to the kitchen, we can hear the communication between the wait staff and the cooks as food orders are “put in”. It reminds me of a day gone by as these days, customer orders are almost all electronic…which sometimes isn’t necessarily a more efficient way…. and it certainly is less colorful as the Older Diner’s way of communicating.
No, I don’t mean the Diner person is old…I mean the Mom and Pop Diner is most likely non-existent these days. They have been replaced with widgets, gadgets, and all kinds of modern equipment to make your dining experience one you won’t forget. More on that… further down this post. ????
If you would like to see my review of this Diner…click Lost in the 50’s Tonight!
My Mother and Father bought a small cafe in an even smaller town shortly after I was married. I wasn’t there every day, but I came to know through my Mother, … “Diner Speak” …from her days as a waitress at the famous Mulbach Hotel and Cafe in Kansas City. Mother was quite the adventurous young lady as she set off for the big city 400 miles away… right out of high school. She wanted to see how the sights and sounds differed from the place where she was born… (Niles, Kansas), population at that time about 25 in the town and perhaps 25 farmers living all around the town. (But that is another post.) I loved hearing Mom spout off “Diner Speak” and explaining to me the actual meaning.
At first I thought the “Diner speak” was a shorter version of the actual food names ordered through the small window to the cook, but as she explained…it certainly was not faster to call out the order of “Adam and Eve on a raft and wreck ’em” to calling out “two eggs scrambled on toast”!. However, it was a way for the “family” of wait staff and cooks to define themselves,…to be different in a community of niches.
Mom always justified the “Diner Speak” with terms like… “Well, Longshoreman speak a language of their own.” emphasis on the word their.
I was always puzzled by the comparison because we were as landlocked as one could be…. situated in the middle of the United States with the closest water being the narrow Smokey Hill River! Perhaps these niches of a special language used to keep insiders in and outsiders out, have failed to survive in this day of political correctness. I don’t know; but what I do know is I enjoy hearing the “Diner Speak” and below I have listed a few of the many food descriptions that my Mom taught me, as well as a few more.
Below are a few of my favorites, and I am sure you know some of these and can add a few of your own.
And yes, that was my meal one morning at our little Diner! Hey, I did some cardio afterwards! Well, if I didn’t, I meant to.
Let’s proceed shall we?
Burn one, drag it through the garden and put a rose on it: Hamburger with lettuce, tomato and onion.
Two Cows, make them cry: Two hamburgers with onions
Firehouse it: Add chili
Hot Blonde in the sand: coffee with cream and sugar
Paint a bow wow red: Hot dog with ketchup
Yellow Paint: Mustard
Red Paint: Ketchup
Put out the lights and cry: Liver and onions
Noah’s boy on dough: Ham sandwich
Put legs on it: A take out item
Mouse Trap: Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Hold the grass or keep off the grass: A sandwich without lettuce
One on the City: a glass of water
Burn the British: English Muffin
A spot with a twist: cup of tea with lemon
Drag Wimpy through Wisconsin: Hamburger with cheese
Flop two, over hard: Two eggs with the yolks hard
Fry two and let the sun shine: Two eggs sunny side up or eggs which have not been flipped over.
Eve with a moldy lid: Apple pie with cheese
Blowout Patches with Axle Grease and Vermont: Pancakes with butter and syrup
Burn one with frog sticks: Hamburger and fries
Add Hail to the MD: put ice in the Dr. Pepper.
First Lady with Idaho Cakes in the alley: Ribs with Hash brown Patties on the side.
Stretch Atlanta and paint it red: Large coke with a cherry
Sweep the kitchen: Hash
Bossy in a bowl: Beef stew
All Hot, Tip Toe through Wisconsin: Baked Potato with cheese sprinkled on top
Battle Creek in a bowl: Corn Flakes in a bowl
Torpedo it: Add a banana
Baled Hay: Shreaded Wheat
Dough well done with cow to cover: Buttered Toast
Biddy Board: French toast
Double Black Cow: Double thick shake
Cowboy with Spurs: Western Omelet with potatoes
Drown the Kids: Boiled Eggs
Foreign Entanglements: spaghetti
Guess Water: Soup
Mama on a Raft: Marmalade on toast
On the Hoof: rare meat
Squeeze: Orange juice
Ice and throw it in the mud: Ice cream with chocolate syrup.
Whiskey Down with Skid Grease: Rye toast with butter
Brown Down: Wheat Toast
Give It Wings: To serve quickly
In case you haven’t figured out what Yellow Blanket on a Dead Cow and Make It Cry ……?
Cheese Burger with onions! But you had that all figured out didn’t you?
And as far as the electronic age being better or faster in the food ordering world…the Captain and I were eating at Richee B’s one evening and we waited and waited for our food. Finally, we asked the server (guess you can’t call them waitresses anymore) if there was a problem and she replied.
“No, everything is ok. My IPad lost it’s “connect” and your order didn’t go through!”
“So is it connected now?” I ask with tummy rumbling.
“No, but I will go tell the cooks to start your order.”
At that point I wanted to yell out to the cooks in the kitchen….Yellow Blanket on a Dead Cow, Give It wings and Make It Cry!… cause I never like to cry alone!
As a sidenote….since this was first posted, both the Starlight Diner and Richee B’s have gone out of business.
Times have changed…and so have we.