Slang of the Chop House (1891)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sun Jul 30 04:58:35 UTC 2006

Another hash house lexicon, from the new America's Historical Newspapers
22 March 1891, Sunday World Herald (Omaha, Nebraska), pg. 6:
_Wonderful and Puzzling Phrase-_
_ology of the Cheap_
_How the Waiters Make the Cooks Understand_
_What Their Customers Really Want--_
_Samples of Fearful Slang._
There is no better illustration of the push and rustle in western business
than in the modern chop house, which has of late years become a great
institution. The chop house, of course, originated in the east, but it has been  more
universally adopted in western cities and receives a much larger  patronage.
There are fully a dozen chop houses in the city open day and night and
employing about seventy-five men, commonly known as "hashers."
Ham and eggs is one of the most common orders, and in calling this to the
kitchen the "hasher" screams "Adam and Eve." For liver and bacon, another much
used dish, he shouts "Robinson Crusoe and his man Friday." A man ordering
mutton  chops will be met with the astounding yell of "whiskers on the iron." A
pork  chop, in the vernacular of the "hasher," is a "sheeney's funeral," and
many an  indignant Benjamin has walked out on hearing this call. Sausage is "a
cable  line," and a plain steak is a "midline."
Milk toast is very seldom ordered, except by the sick or weakly, and many a
consumptive individual calling for it has almost fallen from his chair on
hearing the "hasher" shout at the top of his lungs, "A graveyard stew for a
stiff." Then comes the muffled answer of the cook in the kitchen, and the sick
man is vividly impressed with the idea that he is in close proximity to a
burying ground.
For an order of fried eggs the waiter calls, "White wings with the sunny
side up." If they are turned over he says, "Fry three in the air." For poached
eggs on toast he calls either "chippies on a fence" or "three on horseback,"
and  if an egg sandwich is wanted the cook is instructed "to shingle the roof
and  clinch the nails." Poached eggs plain is called "a ship at sea" and
scrambled eggs "a shipwreck."
A porterhouse steak is "a brown stone front," a sirloin is "a brick front,"
and a tenderloin "a marble front." An order of that delicious delicacy, frog
legs, is termed "a song and dance man," while a mutton stew is appropriately
dubbed "a Chinese mystery." Coffee without milk is "one in the dark," and hot
cakes "a stack of reds." Oat meal porridge is called "in the summer time,"
and  for an order of pork and beans is substituted the suggestive phrase "a
brass  band with a leader." When the hasher is tipped to hurry an order he tells
the  cook to "railroad here," and if there is a countermand he calls "side
These expressions are being dropped recently in a few of the chop houses
where female waiters are being employed, but the latter are not proving a
success as "hashers." In most of the "liver and" resorts, however, the slang
vocabulary, several years old, is still in use, and additions are constantly  being

The American Dialect Society -

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