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.

Recent entries:
“A man is washing the car with his son. The son asks, ‘Dad, can’t you just use a sponge?‘“ (6/23)
“Don’t waste a moment of your life trying to be normal” (6/23)
“Dance like no one is watching. Because they are not. They’re checking their phones” (6/23)
“Dance like no one is watching. Because they are not. They’re checking their phones” (6/23)
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Entry from November 03, 2007
“I have calf brains, stewed kidneys, pickled pigs’ feet…” (Dallas waitress joke?)

Boyce House told the following joke in his 1955 book, You Can Always Tell a Texan (But You Can’t Tell Him Much):

“A man who was just getting over a spree entered a Dallas cafe and sat down at a table. The waitress said, ‘Mr., I have calf brains, stewed kidneys, pickled pigs’ feet and frogs legs.’ He said, ‘Never mind telling me your troubles, sister; just bring me something to eat.’”

The joke dates back to at least 1915 and does not appear to have an obvious place of origin.


3 November 1915, Adams County Free Press (Corning, Iowa), pg. 2, cols. 1-2:
They were like the young doctor to whom the cadaverous waitress had murmured—“boiled tongue, stewed kidneys, fried liver”—“hang your symptoms,” interrupted the doctor, “what I want is something to eat.”

24 June 1925, Oneonta (NY) Star, pg. 6, col. 5:
Waitress—Boiled tongue, stewed kidneys, fired liver ...
M.D.—Never mind your symptoms. Let’s have something to eat!
--Hamilton Royal Gaboon. 

15 February 1926, Sheboygan (WI) Press, pg. 16, col. 2:
Waitress: “Boiled tongue, stewed kidneys, fried liver --”
M.D.: “Never mind your symptoms. Let’s have something to eat!”

5 May 1931, Ogden (UT) Standard-Examiner, pg. 7, col. 4:
Lorene Barker, a waitress at a high school cafe, walked up and stood beside a table where Woodruff Deem, the mighty orator sat, and said: “I have fried liver, boiled tongue and pickled pigs’ feet.”

The horrified orator rose to his feet and replied, “Don’t tell me your troubles, lady. I’m not a doctor. I came here to eat.”

3 October 1931, Edwardsville (IL) Intelligencer, pg. 4, col. 6:
Waitress—I have stewed kidneys, boiled tongue, fried liver and pig’s feet.
Customer—Don’t tell me your troubles, sister, give me a chicken pie. 

19 November 1931, Thomson (IL) Review, pg. 5, col. 1:
Waitress: “I have stewed kidneys, fried liver, baked heart, scrambled brains, boiled tongue, frog legs and pig’s feet.”
Customer: “Don’t tell me your troubles, Girlie, bring me a ham sandwich.”

24 November 1931, San Antonio (TX) Light, pg. 16, col. 7:
When the waitress announced that she had stewed kidneys, boiled tongue, fried liver and pig’s feet, the diner retorted he wanted food, not a list of her physical ailments. 

26 November 1931, Cambridge City (IN) , pg. 6, col. 4:
Smart Little Waitress (in cafe)—I’ve got deviled kidneys, pig’s feet and calves’ brains.
Cambridge City Man (growling)—Your troubles ain’t nothing to me. I’ve got eczema, rickets, bunions, a headache and an empty stomach. Feed me, or I’ll start something! 

19 October 1932, Middletown (NY) Times-Herald, pg. 4, col. 4:
Said the smart little waitress, slipping up beside the customer: “I’ve got deviled kidneys, calves’ brains, pigs’ feet, chicken livers and--”

“Forget it, sister!” growled the cranky diner. “I’ve got a headache, eczema, fallen arches, corns, a bunion, three warts and an empty stomach. Tell you troubles to some one else and bring me some ham and eggs.”—The Black Fox Magazine. 

11 October 1933, Modesto (CA) Bee and News-Herald, sports, pg. 6, col. 6 ad: 
Blonde Waitress: “I have stewed kidneys, boiled tongue, fried liver and pig’s feet.”
Hard Executive; “Don’t tell me your troubles, sister, give me a chicken pie.”

15 November 1936, Ogden (UT) Standard-Examiner, pg. 13A, col. 7:
He just came back from lunch with the story of the waitress who said: “I have stewed kidneys, boiled tongue, fried liver and pigs feet.”

“Never mind telling me your troubles,” said Aloysus, “give me a cheese sandwich.”

16 September 1938, Elyria (OH) Chronicle-Telegram, pg. 4, col. 1:
Blonde Waitress: I have stewed kidneys, boiled tongue, fried liver and pigs feet.
Diner: Don’t tell me your troubles, sister, bring me a chicken pie.

25 May 1944, Charleroi (PA) Mail, pg. 4, col. 3:
Blond Waitress—I have stuffed heart, boiled tongue, fried liver and pig’s feet.
Traveling salesman—Don’t tell me your troubles, sister! Just give me some roast beef! 

6 March 1947, Ogden (UT) , pg. 14, col. 1:
Say, speaking about he weather, the blonde waitress said: “I have stewed kidneys, boiled tongue, fried liver and pigs’ feet.” Diner answered: “Don’t tell me your troubles, sister, give me a hamburger.”

18 October 1950, Edwardsville (IL) Intelligencer, pg. 4, col. 7:
The surgeon was called to a small town to perform an emergency operation. As it was too late to drive back to the city, the doctor registered at the rural hotel. At breakfast, a waitress who seemed bored with it all called out the menu.

“Boiled tongue. Stewed kidneys. Fried liver.”

“Cut it out, “ said the doctor. “I’m interested in breakfast, not your symptoms.”

23 October 1955, Galveston (TX) Daily News, pg. 31, col. 5:
“A man who was just getting over a spree entered a Dallas cafe and sat down at a table. The waitress said, ‘Mr., I have calf brains, stewed kidneys, pickled pigs’ feet and frogs legs.’ He said, ‘Never mind telling me your troubles, sister; just bring me something to eat.’”
(From You Can Always Tell a Texan (But You Can’t Tell Him Much) by Boyce House—ed.)

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Saturday, November 03, 2007 • Permalink