Michael Casey and hash house slang (1899)

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Fri Nov 7 09:42:20 UTC 2003

   Did Michael Casey invent all this?  Why hasn't his name been recorded
   Another Ancestry newspapers gem.

   17 July 1899, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION (Atlanta, Georgia), pg. 5, col. 3:
   Michael Casey, the original owner of the place which he styled a cafe,
belonged to that class of men known in New York years ago as the "Bowery Boys."
Casey was a prominent member of this peculiar clan and up to the day of his
death, which occurred a number of years ago, he always mentioned his connection
with the boys as a matter of pride.
(...)(Col. 4--ed.)
   If one sat down to the table and ordered chops and eggs the order went to
the cook as: "A stack of reds and two in the air," and while lost in
wonderment and vainly endeavoring to find out what he meant, down would come the dishes
with a meal equal to anything at the big hotels.
   "A dozen in the grease" meant fried oysters; "one jamoca" was for a cup of
coffee; "pompano for fifty," which would undoubtedly cause you to clutch your
purse and run, meant simply a half-dollat order of fish; "pork and--,"
translated was, "bring beans on the side," whole "ham and--straight up" gave the
patron ham with eggs that were soft on top.
   "Shipwreck two" was the alarming order for scrambled eggs and "hand me
down the B. and O." was for steak smothered in onions.  If you fancies two soft
boiled eggs the waiter would call out: "Drop two in the well and let 'em come
up easy."  "Plate mystery" brought plain corned beef hash, and if one only
desired sausage, "three links of the cable line" brought the dish in a hurry.
   For mince pie with sugar sprinkled on the top, the order was, "Dyspepsia
in a snowstorm."  This term was sometimes changed to "Put raisins in the hash."
 An order for eggs on toast went to the kitchen as, "Adam and Eve on a raft,"
but if after giving this order the customer wanted the eggs plain, the
countermand went out as, "Save Adam and Eve; sink the raft."  Eggs fried on one side
were alluded to as, "White wings; sunny side up."
   Casey himself was the originator of these unique and peculiar orders and
when asked for an explanation as to why he used such an outlandish system, he
always wagged his round head, closed his left eye and emitted the one word:
   It was a big advertisement for the house and probably brought many a
collar to the Casey coffers that otherwise might have strayed afield.
   There will be many to mourn the blotting out of this celebrated place, but
there is a new Bohemia in Gotham and the fickle public is always prone to
forget familiar places at short notice.
   C. J. K.

   11 December 1954, AMES DAILY TRIBUNE (Ames, Iowa), pg. 1, cvol. 1:
_Just Ask, You'll Get_
_"Shipwrecked Two"_
     by Staff Writer
   "Shipwrecked two," yelled the waitress to the cook.
   "I want scrambled eggs, " I said.
   The waitress ran her orbs over me once lightly.  "what's the matter," she
said. "you a square or something?  That's what I just ordered."
   "Oh," I said weakly and looked for the nearest plate to slide under.  I
sat there disgusted with myself.  I just wasn't a well-informed person.  I eat
lunch downtown at least three times a week and don't even know why my food is
   A little survery of the eating places around town produced some choice
bits of jargon.  If the reader doesn't know at least half of these, he's as
square as a crumb (cracker, that is):
   When the waitress tells the cook that she wants "Two in the water" she's
not inviting him to go swimming.  She's simply ordering your two soft boiled
   Also, you won't get a sugared hamburger if your waitress yells "A
hamburger sweetened."  She's only referring to those onions that you wanted.
   If you hear her shout "Roast beef with a beard" you aren't getting moldy
roast beef.  You're only getting what you ordered--hash.
   Son't think the waitress is sermonizing if she yells "Adam and Eve on a
raft."  You guessed it.  Those are poached eggs.
   If you haven't had enough, you'll really get the treatment when your
waitress called "One X-ray."  Or at least your cheese sandwich will get the
treatment when they put it on the grill.
   An easy one to figure out is "Money bowl."  You're right!  It means a bowl
of soup not on the dinner, in other words, for the money.
   Or your waitress is not talking to her bookie when she yells "1000 on a
plate."  Those are your baked beans, of course.
   Or if you walk into a sidewalk cafe for breakfast, tell the waitress your
order, and she yells "Manhole covers," don't get up and leave.  She's only
sending in your order of hot-cakes.
   If you order toast with that breakfast, you'll probably hear her call
"Burn one."
   Or if you order oyster stew and hear he yell "six in the milk"--at least
you'll know that you're getting some oysters in your stew.
   One last word of advice: If you go into a cafe and order hamburger and
onions and the waitress yells "Sweep the floor and make it smell," there is onloy
one thing to do at this point--drop dead.

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