Q: Why did the lobster blush?
A: Because he saw the salad dressing!
“Lobster blush” jokes date to at least 1876; “the lobster blushed because he saw the salad dressing” joke dates to 1901. In modern variations of the joke, the lobster’s blushing has been replaced by “Why did the tomato blush/turn red?”
“Why did the cranberries turn red?"/"Because they saw the turkey dressing” is a popular Thanksgiving/Christmas version of the riddle.
11 January 1876, Inter Ocean (Chicago, IL), pg. 4:
Why does the shy lobster blush so after being boiled? Because he’s gone to pot. Te, he he!
9 December 1891, Omaha (NE) World-Herald, pg. 4:
WEIRD ALTRUISTIC PHILOSOPHY.
Boston Post: The principal difference between a lobster and a lobbyist is that you can make a lobster blush.
4 July 1901, Bucks County Gazette (Bristol, PA), pg. 3, col. 1:
When did the lobster blush? When he saw the salad dressing.
17 July 1901, Waterloo (IA) Daily Courier, pg. 3, col. 3:
Why did the lobster blush? Because he saw the salad dressing.
20 December 1901, Kalamazoo (MI) Gazette, pg. 8:
Why did the lobster blush? Because he saw the salad dressing. And then they went down to Fuller’s, 228 east Main street, to buy their engagement ring.
Rips from the Buzz Saw
By Albert U. Mayfield
Published by the author
The lettuce that blushed so coquettishly when it saw the salad dressing, completely wilted when it found that the hot grease, had soured on it.
7 March 1903, The New Zealand Observer (New Zealand), pg. 16:
The “What made Ihe lobster blush, Because it saw the salad dressing” variety of inanity is giving way to this sort of thing.
February (?) 1906, Meyer Brothers Druggist (St. Louis, MO), pg. 18, col. 2:
The Lobster Turned Red when he saw the salad dressing.
16 September 1906, Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram, second section, pg. 4:
There’s a scandal in our kitchen—
Indeed, it’s most distressing—
A man peeped through the transom
And saw the salad dressing.
Google News Archive
1 June 1921, Sydney (Australia) Mail, pg. 21, col. 2:
Why did the lobster blush?—Because he saw the salad dressing.
By Rose Macaulay
London: W. Collins Sons & Co.
A woodpecker, that’s a woodpecker, because the woodpecker would peck her, why did the lobster blush, because it saw the salad dressing,...
Google News Archive
9 July 1927, St. Petersburg (FL) Evening Independent, “Eating More Vegetables and Fruit,” pg. 2, col. 2:
It is historically asserted that the tomato turned red because It saw the salad dressing, but its nearest friend, the lettuce, has no cause to blush.
September 1928, The American Chamber of Commerce Journal, pg. 13:
In The Birthday Cake, Laurel and Hardy depend upon the time-honored bon mot about the lobster having blushed because he saw the salad dressing. This witticism has been perverted to undressed salad,...
The American Riddle Book
By Carl Withers, Sula Benet and Marc Simont
New York, NY: Abelard-Schuman
Why did the lobster blush?
-- Because it saw the salad dressing.
AVKO’s All New Word Families in Sentence Context
By Don McCabe
Clio, MI: AVKO Educational Research Foundation
Did the tomato really blush when it saw the salad dressing?
Songs for my dog and other wry rhymes
By Max Fatchen
Kent Town, S. Aust.: Wakefield Press
Why did the beetroot blush? They say
It saw the salad dressing.
Such an old joke...but it’s still funny!