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 March 15, 2009
“Cooking Rule: If at first you don’t succeed, order pizza”

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is a popular American poem verse from the 1830s. The verse has many joke endings that replace “try, try again.”

Cooking often doesn’t result in success on the first try. To try again, more time and more ingredients are required. “Cooking rule: If at first you don’t succeed, order pizza” is a quotation of unknown origin, cited in print from at least 1997.

American film comedian W. C. Fields (1880-1946) is attributed with this take on the saying: “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. Then quit. There’s no use being a damn fool about it.” Other variations include “If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success,” “If at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average,” “If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried,” “If at first you don’t succeed, try management,” “If at first you don’t succeed, try left field,” “If at first you don’t succeed, try two more times so your failure is statistically significant,” “If at first you don’t succeed, we have a lot in common” and “If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving isn’t for you.”


CafePress
“If at first you don’t succeed...” BBQ Apron
From Elegant Mischief
Product Details
Great in the kitchen or at the BBQ, our mid-length apron provides great coverage to help keep spills and splatters off your clothes. Makes a great gift for gourmets or grill-masters. Ties at neck and waist. Two center-stitched bottom compartment pouches for keeping tools and recipes handy. 35% Cotton / 65% polyester blend, twill fabric. Machine washable and guaranteed.
From the Designer
Not the world’s best cook? There’s no shame in, “If at first you don’t succeed, order pizza!”

Wikipedia: William Edward Hickson
William Edward Hickson (January 7, 1803 – March 22, 1870) was a British educational writer. He was the author of “Time and Faith” and was the editor of The Westminster Review (1840-1852). He wrote an “improved” version of the British national anthem whose verses were included in the version of God Save the King published in the English Hymnal.

Hickson was the son of William Hickson, a boot and shoe manufacturer of Smithfield, London. Having studied schools in The Netherlands and Germany, he retired from the family business in 1840 to concentrate on philanthropic pursuits: particularly the cause of elementary education. He became editor and proprietor of The Westminster Review which was notable for its commitment to legislative reform and popular education.

He is credited with writing the proverb:

‘Tis a lesson you should heed:
Try, try, try again.
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try, try again.

The Yale Book of Quotations
Edited by Fred R. Shapiro
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
2006
Pg. 578:
Thomas H. Palmer
U.S. author, 1782-1861
“‘Tis a lesson you should heed,
Try, try again;
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try again.”

Quoted in The Village Reader (1840). The identical words, except with “try, try, try again,” appear in a poem titled “Perseverance: or, Try Again,” printed in Common School Assistant, Aug. 1838. No author is identified.

Pg. 257:
W. C. Fields (William Claude Dukenfield)
U.S. comedian, 1880-1946
“If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. Then quit. There’s no use being a damn fool about it.”
Quoted in Reader’s Digest, Sept. 1949

Google Books
Common school assistant
Published 1836
Item notes: v. 1-5
Pg. 63:
PERSEVERANCE: OR, TRY AGAIN
‘Tis a lessen you should heed,
Try, try, try again.
If at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try, try again.

Google Books
Essays on Education
Central Society of Education
London: Taylor and Walton
1837
Pg. 315:
One song more from Mr. Hickson’s book, and we have done:

“PERSEVERANCE; OR, TRY AGAIN>
‘Tis a lesson you should head,
Try, try, try again;
if at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try, try again. (...)”

22 March 1839, Liberator (Boston, MA), pg. 48?:
TRY, TRY AGAIN.
‘Tis a lesson you should heed,
Try, try again;
If at at first you don’t succeed,
Try, try again;...

Google Groups: fido.ger.auto
Newsgroups: fido.ger.auto
From: (Marc Gerges)
Date: 1997/08/28
Subject: Golf IV

Cooking Rule:  if at first you don’t succeed, order pizza.

Google Books
The Mammoth Book of Zingers, Quips, and One-Liners:
Over 10,000 Gems of Wit and Wisdom, One-liners and Wisecracks

By Geoff Tibballs
Published by Carroll & Graf Publishers
2004
Pg. 136:
If at first you don’t succeed, order pizza.

Google Books
The Red Hat Society Cookbook
By Red Hat Society, Sue Ellen Cooper
Illustrated by Andrea Reekstin
Published by Thomas Nelson Inc.
2006
Pg. 323:
“Cooking rule: If at first you don’t succeed, order pizza.”
-- Anonymous

Google Books
California Squisine:
Healthy Food That’s Fast and Fun for Kids

By Malcolm Kushner
Published by Author’s Choice Publishing
2006
Pg. 54:
“Cooking Rule...If at first you don’t succeed, order pizza.”
-- Unknown

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Sunday, March 15, 2009 • Permalink