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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“Coffee: starter fluid for the morning impaired” (3/25)
“But even a bad cup of coffee is better than no coffee at all. New York has great water for coffee” (3/25)
“Life begins after coffee” (3/25)
“I pretend coffee helps, but I’m still a bitch” (3/25)
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Entry from August 01, 2009
“What does a Jewish American Princess make for dinner?"/"Reservations!”

"King of the one-liners” Henny Youngman (1906-1998) told many jokes about his wife, such as “Take my wife—please!” In 1981, Youngman said this about his wife’s cooking: “The only thing she can make for dinner is a reservation!”

The usual form of the joke involves a Jewish wife or, especially, a Jewish American Princess:

Q: What does a Jewish American Princess make for dinner?
A: Reservations!


The joke dates in print to at least 1981-1982 in both the “wife” and “Jewish American Princess” forms.


Wikipedia: Henny Youngman
Henry “Henny” Youngman (March 16, 1906 – February 24, 1998) was a British-born comedian and violinist famous for “one-liners,” short, simple jokes usually delivered rapid-fire. His best known (and oft misattributed) one-liner was “Take my wife—please”.

Google News Archive
18 February 1981, Milwaukee (WI) Sentinel, pt. 3, pg. 1, col. 2:
HENNY YOUNGMAN said it: “My wife’s such a lousy cook she can’t even dial Chicken Delight. The only thing she can make for dinner is a reservation “

Google Books
The Official J.A.P. Handbook
By Anna Sequoia
New York, NY: New American Library
1982
... “What does a JAP make for dinner? . . . The reservation,” most JAPs are excellent, if not extraordinary, cooks.

Google Books
Hooray for Yiddish!:
A book about English

By Leo Calvin Rosten
New York, NY: Simon & Schuster
1982
Pg. 168:
Q. What do JAPs most often make for dinner?
A. Reservations.

10 March 1982, Hartford (CT) Courant, pg. E1:
What do famous writers make for dinner? Well, apparently not “Reservations,” as the joke goes, though critic Wilfrid Sheed admits that he can’t cook his hat.

17 May 1983, Philadelphia (PA) Daily News, features, pg. 34:
“What does a Jewish princess make for dinner?” she asked him. Howard shook his head dubiously. “Reservations,”

Sports Illustrated
December 05, 1983
How King Rat Became The Big Cheese
Can V talk? Oh, yeah. Can V coach? No question about it. Jim Valvano proved that his act was ready for the big time when his North Carolina State Wolfpack won the ‘83 NCAA title

Curry Kirkpatrick
(...)
“What does my wife make for dinner? Reservations.”

Google Books
Bth-Totall Tstls Jokes
By Blanche Knott
New York, NY: Random House
1985
Pg. 57:
What do JAPs make for dinner?
Reservations.

17 April 1986, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Folklore Furor UC Berkeley Anthropology Professor Steps on Toes With Reports on Meaning of Jokes, Games in Society” by William Trombley, Metro, sec. 1, pg. 3:
Jokes about “Jewish American Princesses” (Q: What does a Jewish American Princess make for dinner? A: Reservations) became widespread in the late 1970s…

Google Books
Momzillas
By Jill Kargman
New York, NY: Broadway Books
2008
Pg. 44:
“Hey. we’re in New York,” he said, smiling, wrapping his arms around Leigh and me. “The only thing most wives have to make for dinner is reservations.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Saturday, August 01, 2009 • Permalink