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 December 17, 2012
“Go hang a salami! I’m a lasagna hog!” (palindrome)

Go Hang a Salami! I’m a Lasagna Hog! and Other Palindromes (1991) by author and illustrator Jon Agee popularized a food palindrome (a sentence reading the same forwards and backwards). Agee described his thought process on his website in “20 Questions.”

Wikiquote credits the lasagna palindrome to Baby Gramps, but this is not correct.


Jon Agee—20 Questions
15. How do you write a palindrome?
One way is to look at the words around you - in your house, in a shop, in a park, or on the side of the road. Maybe you’re stuck in traffic, behind a SUBARU. You try spelling it backwards . . . URABUS. You add a D in the middle to get SUBARU DURABUS. Sure, it doesn’t make much sense. So you draw a picture:

You might be in the kitchen and pull out a box of frozen LASAGNA. Suddenly, you see that backwards, it spells ANGASAL, which for a palindromist, is very promising. So you fiddle with the backward spelling, separating it into possible words so you can build off it. ANGASAL . . . ANG A SAL . . . ANG A SALAMI . . . HANG A SALAMI!! Wow! Now you check to see what the backward spelling spells going forward: HANG A SALAMI the other way around is I’M A LASAGNA H!! You’re ecstatic! But you calm down, pull yourself together and eventually add the perfect letters to the front and back to complete the phrase: GO HANG A SALAMI! I’M A LASAGNA HOG! An excellent palindrome. But a picture always helps:

Wikiquote: Lasagna
Lasagna is an popular Italian meal.

Unsourced
Go hang a salami, I’m a lasagna hog.
. Palindrome attributed to Baby Gramps

OCLC WorldCat record
Go hang a salami! I’m a lasagna hog! and other palindromes
Author: Jon Agee
Publisher: New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 1991.
Edition/Format: Book : Juvenile audience : English : 1st ed
Summary: A collection of palindromes, sentences that read the same forward and backward.

Google News Archive
8 January 1995, Daily News (Bowling Green, KY), “Palindromes fill book with word play” by Sally Williams Cook (Associated Press), pg. 5-C, col. 2:
Agee insists that the best palindrome he’s conceived so far is “go hang a salami! I’m a lasagna hog,” which became the title of his first palindrome book. “Serious word aficionados had never seen the phrase. I must admit it is very classy,” Agee laughs.

Google Books
25 July 1998, Billboard magazine, pg. 85, col. 4:
The album version of the “always evolving” tune, notes Ranger Doug, features Too Slim’s new forward- backward response, “Go hang a salami, I’m a lasagna hog.”

Google Books
The Palindrome Invitational
By Sarah Albee
Pelham, NY: Reader’s Theater, Benchmark Education Company, LLC
2012
Pg. 7:
Viv: Back in my hometown of Wassamassaw, South Carolina, the high school palindrome cheerleaders made it to the state finals with “Go hang a salami! I’m a lasagna hog!”
Otto: (chuckling) A classic, Viv, a classic.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Monday, December 17, 2012 • Permalink