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 February 22, 2017
“When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion”

A popular cannibal pun is:

“When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.”

The “taste of religion” joke has been cited in print since at least 1907, with several slight variations in wording.


9 January 1907, The Evening Journal (Jersey City, NJ), pg. 10, col. 4:
Taste of Religion.
Missionary—“And do you know nothing whatever of religion?”
Cannibal—“Well, we got a taste of it when the last missionary was here.”—Cleveland Leader.

10 August 1907, The Courier (Harrisburg, PA), “Observations,” pg. 4, col. 3:
Cannibals get a taste of religion occasionally—when they eat a missionary.

8 November 1911, Puck (New York, NY), pg. 12, col. 2:
THEIR FIRST TASTE.
SHE.—Poor Cousin Jack! And to be eaten by those wretched cannibals!
HE.—Yes, my dear child; but he gave them their first taste of religion!—London Opinion.

15 September 1921, San Francisco (CA) Chronicle, “The Morning’s Morning” by E. A. B., pg. 24, col. 6:
Missionary—So you are really considering a taste of religion, my brother?
Cannibal Chief—Sure! Here, Mongo, serve this gentleman up for dinner tomorrow. with brown gravy and mushrooms.

12 February 1949, Chicago (IL) Defender, “Fun Whirl,” Magazine, pg. 20, col. 1:
SHE: “Cannibals don’t get a taste of religion but seldom.”
HE: “Only when they kill a missionary.”

21 November 1961, Philadelphia (PA) Tribune, “Delaware—In and Out” by Citizen Swann, pg. 15, col. 1:
Q—What did the cannibal say when he had the Missionary in the pot?
A—You’ll be my first taste of religion.

8 February 1977, The Sun (Baltimore, MD), “Sunday Punch,” Magazine, pg. 38, col. 3:
“At least,” said the missionary as the cannibals put him in the cooking pot, “yoiu’ll get a taste of religion.”

Google Books
Dick Whittington:
A Pantomine

By Norman Robbins
New York, NY: Samuel French
1990
Pg. 45:
Sarah (nervously) Cannibals?
Jack Hey— he’s right. My uncle was a missionary and he came to a place just like this to convert cannibals.
Alderman And did he do it?
Jack Course he did. They loved him. He gave ‘em their first taste of religion.

Twitter
PUNS
‏@omgthatspunny
When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
5:00 AM - 27 Jul 2013

Google Books
Once Apun A Time:
A Rich, Historical and Sometimes Earthy Collection of Puns

By Robin Leech
Victoria, BC: FriesenPress
2015
Pg. ?:
When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.

Google Books
A Prairie Home Companion
Pretty Good Joke Book (6th Edition)

Introduction by Garrison Keillor
Prince Frederick, MD: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
2015
Pg. ?:
The cannibals ate the missionary to get a taste of religion but they felt sick afterwards because it’s hard to keep a good man down.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Wednesday, February 22, 2017 • Permalink