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WAITER SLANG

article and image by Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Hash-house slang has intrigued me ever since I learned that a non-fat decaf cappuccino is referred to as a "why bother."  Though it has a colorful history dating back to the 1850s, usage is dying out because so are coffee shops and diners.  Some of the terms were probably overheard by customers who then decided to cancel their order (I think I'd give it a second thought if I ordered hash and heard the waiter holler out "clean up the kitchen"!).  How many of these have you heard of?


REFERENCES TO FOOD PREPARATION

 

Adam and Eve on a raft (or log)
chicks on a raft
deadeye
drown the kids
flop two
tits on a raft
wreck ‘em

two poached eggs on toast
eggs on toast
one poached egg
boiled eggs
two fried eggs over easy
two eggs over easy with bacon
scrambled eggs

Adam’s ale
city juice
dog soup

water
(Adam was the first man to drink only water)

axle grease
cow paste
skid grease

butter

baby juice
moo juice
cow juice

milk

muddy moo

chocolate milk

baled hay

shredded wheat

baker

baked potato

belch water
balloon water

seltzer, soda water

birdseed

breakfast cereal

blowout patches

pancakes

bowl of red

chili con carne

bow-wow
bun pup
tube steak
Coney Island
 

hot dog

bucket of mud

bowl of chocolate ice cream

bullets
whistle berries

baked beans

burn one
take it through the garden
and pin a rose on it

a hamburger
with lettuce
and a slice of onion

burn the British

a toasted English muffin

Chicago sundae with pineapple

(a reference to hand grenades used by mobsters in the 1920s)

clean up the kitchen
customer will take a chance
sweep the kitchen floor

 hash (there are countless other terms, including “mystery”)

cowboy
with spurs

a western omelette
 with fries

cow feed

salad

cremate it
kill it
paddy well

overcook it, extra well done

crowd

three of anything (from “three’s a crowd”)

dog biscuit

cracker

don’t cry over it

don’t add any salt while cooking

dough well done
with cow to cover

toast
buttered toast

drag one through Georgia

Coca-Cola with chocolate syrup

draw one
cup of mud
java
joe
pair of drawers

cup of coffee



two cups of coffee

draw one in the dark
midnight, no cow
blonde with sand
why bother

black coffee

coffee with cream and sugar
non-fat decaf cappuccino

eighty-six

remove an item from an order

Eve with the lid on


Eve with a moldy lid

apple pie (Eve signifies apples, and with the lid on indicates a full top crust)

apple pie with a slice of cheese

fifty-five

glass of root beer

first lady

spareribs (a reference to Eve, who was created from Adam’s rib)

fish eggs
fish eyes
cat’s eyes

tapioca pudding

Frenchman’s delight

pea soup

frog sticks

french fries

go for a walk
on wheels

take-away order

hail

ice

hockey puck
a cow, make it cry

well-done hamburger
hamburger with onion

hold the xx

leave something off

houseboat

banana split

ice the rice

rice pudding with vanilla ice cream

in the alley

serve as a side dish

Irish turkey

corned beef and cabbage

Italian perfume

garlic

keep off the grass

no lettuce

kiss
kiss the fire
kiss the sea

just a little
ultra-rare, or lightly warmed
barely salted

let him chew on it
on the hoof

rare meat

life preservers

doughnuts

lumber

toothpick

Mike and Ike
the twins

salt and pepper shakers

mouse trap

grilled cheese sandwich

Murphy

potatoes

nervous pudding
shivering Liz

Jell-O

Noah’s boy

ham (Noah’s second son’s name was Ham)

nuke it

put it in the microwave

paint it red

put ketchup on it

Pittsburgh rare

burnt outside, rare inside

a radio
tuna on down

tuna salad on toast
tuna salad on toast (referring to popping the bread down in the toaster)

sand
yum

 sugar

sea dust

salt

shingle with a shimmy and a shake

toast with butter and jam

sinkers and suds

doughnuts and coffee

spot with a twist

cup of tea with lemon

SOS

sauce on the side

a splash

soup

squeeze one

glass of orange juice

still moving
still mooing

ultra rare

sub

substitute one menu choice for another

warts

olives

wave the bottle over it

an extremely dry martini
 vodka on the rocks

wax

American cheese

on whiskey

 on rye bread (whiskey is made from rye)

yellow paint

mustard

zeppelins in a fog

sausages and mash

REFEENCES TO CUSTOMERS

blue hairs

senior citizens

camel

a customer who drinks a lot of water, needing constant refills

Canadian

a customer who is suspected will either stiff or under-tip (yes, this is politically incorrect, but widely used)

big dog
fat cat

a customer that traditionally over-tips

crumb crusher
rug rat

child

curtain crawler

a slightly older child, that runs amok annoying other customers

on tether

people who are waiting to be seated

a precious

a finicky or difficult diner

a screamer

a crying infant or unruly child, sometimes an obnoxious or complaining adult

walked
95

a customer who leaves without paying

Know more slang restaurant terms that you’d like to share?  Submit your suggestion in e-mail.  Include your name and city/state of residence and if I decide to add it to this list, I’ll credit you.  Send your submission to editor (at) berkeleyandbeyond (dot) com (adjust before sending).


Carole Terwilliger Meyers blogs at Travels With Carole.
copyright 2013 Carole Terwilliger Meyers
 

 

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