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 January 09, 2011
“Make your tongue slap your brain” (good cooking)

"Make(s) your tongue slap your brain(s) out” means that something is mighty fine cooking. The jocular food expression is used in the South and has been cited in print since at least 1959.


29 September 1959, Baltimore (MD) Afro-American, “Meet Dr. Williams, Cook: He’s a college president who makes tasty barbecue” by Elizabeth M. Oliver, pg. 30, col. 6
AS THE FOLKS sitting around his table say: “The president’s hot barbecue’ll make your tongue slap your brains out, it’s that good.”

Dr. Williams himself is quite proud of his open pit cooking.
(Dr. John T. Williams of Maryland State College—ed.)

Google News Archive
8 March 1977, St. Petersburg (FL) Evening Independent, “Happiness Comes As Surprise” by Hazel Geissler, pg. 11B, col. 1:
Dinner. Orfie said was so good “it was enough to make your tongue slap your brains out.”

Google News Archive
19 March 1978, Tuscaloosa (AL) News, “Twitching noses his specialty” by Mary Jacq Rainey, pg. 1C, col. 6:
“I’ve got some sausage made out of those rabbits that would make your tongue slap your brains out,” he said, hee-hawing at his joke.

Google Books
Stories about the old days
By Bill Harris
London: French
1990
Pg. 14:
Used to be five bars in these two blocks here alone. Along here had restaurants, served down-home cooking so good make your tongue slap your brains out;...

Google Books
Profile
United States. Dept. of Defense. High School News Service
Volume 37, Issues 2-6
1994
Pg. 18:
“(My cooking) will make your tongue slap your brain!”

Google Groups: alt.appalachian
Newsgroups: alt.appalachian
From: (Meadows)
Date: 24 Feb 1995 00:04:23 GMT
Local: Thurs, Feb 23 1995 6:04 pm
Subject: Re: Slaw Dogs

Boys, if you want to taste the best slaw dogs this side of the Mason-Dixie, try Stewart’s Drive-In, at 24th St. and 5th Ave. in Huntington, WV. So good, they’ll make your tongue slap your brains out!

Google Groups: rec.food.cookinjg
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking
From: Jan Blair
Date: 1996/07/08
Subject: Re: Yankees and grits

It’ll make your tongue slap your brains out.

Google Groups: atl.general
Newsgroups: atl.general
From: (John Miller)
Date: 1997/02/28
Subject: Re: Best Que in Atlanta?...Yankees need not reply

Harold’s food will make your tongue slap your brains out.

Google Groups: bit.listserv.dorothyl
Newsgroups: bit.listserv.dorothyl
From: “Jeanne McWhorter, MSW”
Date: 1998/01/26
Subject: Re: regionalisms

This food is so good it’ll make your tongue slap your brains out

Google Groups: rec.food.cooking
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking
From: Mike Perry
Date: 1999/08/19
Subject: Re: Favorite Meal

‘make ya tongue slap ya brain’

Google Groups: alt.support.depression.flame
Newsgroups: alt.support.depression.flame
From: “blueVvorld”
Date: 2000/11/03
Subject: Re: HELLO ALL MY LOVING FANS

>Somewhere I have a recipe for a grits casserole made with cheese and
>jalepeno peppers that would make your tongue slap your brain silly.

jeez, i would think it’d be the other way around.  the brain slapping the tongue silly.  as in “hey!  don’t eat that, are you nuts??  knock it off! go get a nice piece of pie, or something!!”

22 August 2003, India in New York, food section, pg. 30, col. 4:
But there isn’t a dish that would, as they say in Alabama, make my tongue slap my brain.

Google Books
The Cracker Kitchen:
A Cookbook in Celebration of Cornbread-Fed, Down Home Family Stories and Cuisine

By Janis Owens
New York, NY: Scribner
2009
Pg. 211:
They’re masterpieces in their own way, and in Cracker idiom, will “make your tongue slap your brain.”

Google Books
Paula Deen’s the Deen Family Cookbook
By Paula Deen with Melissa Clark
New York, NY: Simon & Schuster
2009
Pg. ?:
This casserole is so full of flavor it’ll make your tongue slap your brains out!

Thoughts. Hopes, and Retrospective
Sunday, July 18, 2010
“Make Your Tongue Slap Your Brain Out” Rib Recipe

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Sunday, January 09, 2011 • Permalink