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 October 14, 2014
“Lord, help me to know what’s cooking before it boils over”

To “know what’s cooking” means to know what’s happening. “Lord, help me to know what’s cooking before it boils over” means that one should spot trouble before it happens. “We should be able to see what’s cooking before it boils over” was cited in print in 1971.

“Lord, help me to know what’s cooking before it boils over” has been cited in print since at least 1976. The saying was printed on refrigerator magnets by at least 2005.


22 September 1971, Altoona (PA) Mirror, pg. 8, col. 2:
‘Welfare’ Vs. Warfare
An American welfare state would be no match for the Soviet warfare state; so as we see our national resources being channeled increasingly into welfare and the Soviet’s increasingly into warfare, we should be able to see what’s cooking before it boils over.

Newspapers.com
21 September 1976, Garden City (KS) Telegram, “The Distaff Side,” pg. 4, col. 1:
LORD, HELP ME TO KNOW WHAT’S COOKING BEFORE IT BOILS OVER.

Google Books
The Free University:
A Model for Lifelong Learning

By William A. Draves
Chicago, IL: Association Press
1980
Pg. 29:
Over her shoulder on the wall is a short prayer, “Lord, Help Me To Know What’s Cooking Before It Boils Over.”

Nothing, however, seems to be boiling over right now, as Dunning is in a position to know what’s cooking in adult learning.

Splitcoaststampers Forums
Four Aliments
04-15-2005, 06:21 AM
I’ve screwed up so many things in the kitchen, it’s a wonder I’m allowed in there at all! I have refrigerator magnets warning people..."Dinner will be served when the smoke detector goes off!”, “Lord help me know what’s cooking before it boils over”, and “I kiss better than I cook.” LOL

Twitter
J. Darryn Zewalk
‏@darrynzewalk
Lord, help me to know what’s cooking before it boils over. — Unknown
11:00 PM - 8 Jan 2012

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Tuesday, October 14, 2014 • Permalink