Saturday, September 13, 2014

How To Tawk Dinah Tawk.

An American version of the English Cockney rhyming speech can be found in diners.  Strange statement, true, but I ran across a sample of it and it was intriguing.

A Cockney might say, "Up the apples and pears."  Stairs.  A diner waitress might call to the busboy, "Gimme two dog soups heyah."  No, it's not what you may be thinking - it's "water."   

You will undoubtedly be more exposed to Diner Talk in New York (18,780 diners there) than Southern California where we are pretty much limited to Ruby's or Johnny Rockets. "Understanding Diner Lingo:  55 Phrases to Get You Started" for more, but here's a sample:

Blonde with sand:  coffee with cream and sugar (sand.)
Bloodhound in the hay - hot dog with sauerkraut
Italian perfume - garlic
Burn the British - English muffin
Drag one through Georgia - Coca-Cola with chocolate syrup
Houseboat with a maiden's delight - banana split with a cherry
First lady - spare ribs - "spare" get it? 
Cackleberries - eggs
Customer will take a chance - hash
In the alley - served on the side
Mystery in the alley - side of hash
Heart attack on a rack - biscuits and gravy
Hemorrhage - catsup
Yellow paint - mustard
Nervous pudding - Jell-O
Frog sticks - French fries (and a not-so-veiled insult to the French)
On the hoof - any kind of meat cooked rare.  In the Dales, that phrase means "eating while you're walking."
Wax - American cheese
86 - to remove an item on a menu or in an order such as "86 the wax on the hockey puck" -which is a well-done hamburger.

Like many things in life, diner language is sometimes funny and sometimes very complex.  "Burn one, take it through the garden and pin a rose on it" would be a hamburger with lettuce, tomato and onion.  On it's own "breath" is onion.

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