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 May 29, 2017
“Sacred cows make the best hamburger”

"Sacred cows make the best hamburger” is a jocular saying that has been printed on manu images. It has frequently been credited to American author Mark Twain (1835-1910), but Twain never said it. American activist Abbie Hoffman (1936-1989) was credited with “sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger” after his death in 1989, but there’s no evidence that he popularized the saying.

Aardvark magazine, a humor magazine based in Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois, published it first issue in February 1962. The magazine probably used the saying as its motto beginning with that first issue. “Sacred cows make the best hamburger—latest recipes in the new Aardvark, Now On Sale” was published in the Daily Northwestern (Evanston, IL) on May 24, 1963.

Somewhat similar statements were cited in print before Aardvark. “It (a revue—ed.) slaughters sacred cows and lets us see the low-grade hamburger which they ultimately are made of” was printed in the Daily Northwestern on May 11, 1961.

[This entry was assisted with prior research from the Qoote Investigator]


Wikipedia: Sacred cow (idiom)
Sacred cow is an idiom, a figurative reference to sacred cows in some religions. This idiom is thought to originate in American English, although similar or even identical idioms occur in many other languages.

The idiom is based on the popular understanding of the elevated place of cows in Hinduism and appears to have emerged in America in the late 19th century. A literal sacred cow or sacred bull is an actual cow or bull that is treated with sincere respect. A figurative sacred cow is a figure of speech for something considered immune from question or criticism, especially unreasonably so.

Google Books
The Walther League Messenger
Volume 51
1942
Pg. 433:
From a note written by a young brother in the ministry: “A lot of sacred cows ought to be ground into hamburger.”

Google Books
They Laughed when I Sat Down:
An Informal History of Advertising in Words and Pictures

By Frank Rowsome
New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
1959
Pg. 80:
As John Orr Young tells the story:

One of the sacred cows of advertising which we turned into hamburger was the Postum slogan, which represented an investment of millions of dollars in good paper and printer’s ink.

11 May 1961, Daily Northwestern (Evanston, IL), “Readers’ Point of View,” pg. 4, col. 1:
The revue satire pokes fun at the idiosyncrasies and foibles of types of personalities, situations and institutions which are generally accepted. It lets us see us and our world for what we really are. It slaughters sacred cows and lets us see the low-grade hamburger which they ultimately are made of.
John B. Jones, Sp ‘62

24 May 1963, Daily Northwestern (Evanston, IL), pg. 5, col. 2 classified ad:
Sacred cows make the best hamburger—latest recipes in the new Aardvark, Now On Sale.

30 January 1964, The Daily Utah Chronicle (Salt Lake City, UT), pg. 4, col. 1 ad:
AARDVARK
ON SALE
(...)
The Magazine, whose masthead is “Sacred Cows Make the Best Hamburger,” was started two years ago at Roosevelt University. Tow thousand copies of the first issue were printed in February, 1962.
(...)
AARDVARK is available for only 35c at:
UNIVERSITY BOOKS STORE
COLLEGE BOOK STORE
CHESLEY DRUG

20 March 1967, Waukesha (WI) Daily Freeman, “SEWASS Discovers an Ally” (editorial), pg. 8, col. 3:
SEWASS (Southeastern Wisconsin Aardvark Safety society) has discovered that there is a Chicago based magazine entitled “Aardvark.” While the magazine was founded years ago without SEWASS’ permission, local officials here are delighted to know of its existence.

The number available here contains a wealth of wisdom. Items:

-- Sacred cows make the best hamburger.

20 April 1989, New York (NY) Times, “Mourning, and Celebrating, a Radical: As Hoffman’s life is remembered, the cause of his death is debated” by Wayne King, pg. A16, col. 1L
But the Rabbi also quoted one of Hoffman’s favorite sayings: “Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger.”

OCLC WorldCat record
Sacred cows make the best hamburger : [a collection of editorials and essays
Author: JoAnn Roberts
Publisher: King of Prussia, PA : Creative Design Services, ©1993.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Sacred cows make gourmet burgers : ministry anytime, anywhere, by anybody
Author: William M Easum
Publisher: Nashville : Abingdon Press, ©1995.
Edition/Format: Print book : English
Database: WorldCat
Summary:
William Easum shows how an atmosphere of permission-giving, which signals the end of leaders as enablers, will help church leaders transcend bureaucracy and gratuitous regulations, and will enhance spiritual gifts rather than assign them. The sacred cows of control and regulation can be devoured, as leaders and people are converted to a new style of ministry.

OCLC WorldCat record
One Person’s Opinion: Sacred Cows Make the Best Hamburger
Author: Carol van Zalingen
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: The English Journal, v87 n3 (19980301): 12-13
Database: JSTOR Arts & Sciences IV Collection

OCLC WorldCat record
“Sacred Cows Make the Best Hamburger”
Author: Rita H Barger; Ann C McCoy
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication: The Mathematics Teacher, v102 n6 (20090201): 414-418
Database: JSTOR Mathematics & Statistics Legacy Collection

OCLC WorldCat record
Sacred cows make great BBQs : turning up the heat on spiritual myths
Author: Dave Gilpin
Publisher: Milton Keynes [UK] : Authentic, 2010.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Sacred cows make the best burgers : developing change-ready people and organizations
Author: Robert J Kriegel; David Brandt
Publisher: New York : Business Plus, 2011.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

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“Sacred cows make the best hamburger."- Mark Twain
3:20 AM - 29 May 2017

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Monday, May 29, 2017 • Permalink