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 November 25, 2010
“My mother served nothing but leftovers; the original meal has never been found”

Calvin Trillin—frequently described as “America’s funniest food writer”—is often credited with this joke about leftovers: “The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.”

The source of the quotation appears to be from a May 1983 interview with the Chicago (IL) Sun-Times:

“For 30 years, my mother served nothing but leftovers,” Trillin said. “When I got to college, I finally asked myself, ‘Left over from what?’ Now, there’s a team of anthropologists trying to determine when the original meal was served.”


Wikipedia: Calvin Trillin
Calvin (Bud) Marshall Trillin (born December 5, 1935 in Kansas City, Missouri) is an American journalist, humorist, food writer, poet, memoirist and novelist.

Google News Archive
25 May 1983, Spokane (WA) Spokesman-Review, “Famous food writer adds humor to eating advice” by Anne Taubeneck (Chicago Sun-Times), pg. B5, cols. 1-2:
Calvin Trillin didn’t come all the way from New York to Chicago just to eat Italian beef—although it had been on his mind and might soon be on his tie.

The man who has been called “America’s funniest food writer” was in Chicago to talk about his newest book, “Third Helpings,” ($12.95, Ticknor & Fields), which pretty well describes his approach to food.
(...)
“For 30 years, my mother served nothing but leftovers,” Trillin said. “When I got to college, I finally asked myself, ‘Left over from what?’ Now, there’s a team of anthropologists trying to determine when the original meal was served.”

Google Books
The Silver Palate good times cookbook
By Julee Rosso, Sheila Lukins and Sarah Leah Chase
New York, NY: Workman Pub.
1985
Pg. 106:
“The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.” - Calvin Trillin

Google Books
1,911 Best Things Anybody Ever Said:
Many amusingly illuminated by antique etchings and line cuts

By Robert Byrne
New York, NY: Fawcett, Columbine
1988
Pg. 192:
The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.
Calvin Trillin

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Thursday, November 25, 2010 • Permalink