A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 04, 2010
“Death on toast”

To look or to feel like “death on toast” is not to look or to feel well at all. The expression “like death on toast” means the same as “like death warmed over” ("toast" is “warmed over” bread) and “like death eating a cracker.”

“Like death on toast” has been cited in print since at least 1963. The author Garrison Keillor has used “like death on toast” in his book, Lake Wobegon Days (1985), as well as in several other books.


Wiktionary: like death warmed over
Adjective
like death warmed over (comparative more like death warmed over, superlative most like death warmed over)
1. (simile) Ill, unwell.
Usage notes
. This phrase is usually used with verbs like feel or look.
. The equivalent form like death warmed up exists well.

Google Books
Lion in wait
By Dorothy Gardiner
Garden City, NY: Published for the Crime Club by Doubleday
1963
Pg. 91:
The Sheriff wasn’t feeling exactly like flowers in spring himself, but to him this lot looked like death on toast.

Google Books
Safe
By Dennis Cooper
New York, NY: Sea Horse Press
1984
Pg. 24:
“I know,” he screeches, “ain’t the Gagosian Gallery death on toast?”

Google Books
Lake Wobegon days
By Garrison Keillor
New York, NY: Penguin Books
1986, ©1985
Pg. 369:
“He looked like death on toast.”

New York (NY) Times
New Yorkers, etc.
By Georgia Dullea
Published: December 29, 1991
You’re in bed with a virus, maybe the flu. You feel like death on toast.

Google Books
Wobegon boy
By Garrison Keillor
Oxford: Compass Press
1998
Pg. 250:
Mother said, “He looked like death ont oast when he got here.”

Google Books
Basket Case
By Carl Hiaasen
Waterville, ME: Thorndike Press
2002
Pg. 150:
MacArthur Polk looks like death on a Triscuit.

A Way with Words - Discussion Forum
wordelf
1:10AM
May-07-10
Like death eating a cracker:

Two other phrases come to mind, similar in that they involve food and death, but different in that in these expressions, death is not the eater but the eaten:

1. “You look like death warmed over.”
2. “How do you feel?” “Like death on toast.”

I agree with Elysia that these phrases connote queasiness, or that strange, hollow feeling your stomach may get when you have been deprived of sleep. #2 was a pretty common expression at Valparaiso U. in Indiana when I was there (6 years ago) between people commiserating about staying up way too late writing papers. “Death warmed over” just sounds nauseous– at least, it makes me think of someone using the iffy leftovers that have been languishing in the fridge; by analogy, the person you say this to looks like he or she is but tenuously alive, or like a walking stiff.

WordReference Forums
effemmeffe
19th May 2010, 04:07 PM
Death on a triscuit
This is taken from The West Wing:

Josh Lyman (deputy chief of staff): You look good!
Zoey (President Batlet’s beloved daughter): You look like death on a triscuit!

What does death on a triscuit means?
I only found this reference: http://rhode.chronosilence.org/blog/...es/000708.html but again, can’t figure out what is “death on a Wheatable”...

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Saturday, September 04, 2010 • Permalink