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Diner lingo often entertaining

Diner lingo often entertaining
Diner lingo often entertaining
Suetta Tingler

The diner era inspired by shiny train dining cars with roots that grew deep throughout the Midwest does seem to have left the station before its time. The bygone days of dropping in a diner and having your personal tabletop juke box play a tune are no longer but memories.

Above all else, before I close the talk about diners, let’s not forget the often-lively exchange of “diner lingo, a kind of oral slang intended never to speed up service but to make it easier for the wait staff to communicate food requests to the short-order cook. Supposedly, it was easier to hear such lingo and to remember than to hear ordinary words amid the hustle.

In fact, diner patrons came to love the witty exchanges, even embracing the experience as a form of live entertainment. Therefore, many diners serving up lingo came to be known as the “place to be” not only for the food, but amusement as well.

Here is a sampling of diner lingo (and its meaning): alligator bait (liver), Arnold Palmer (half sweet tea and half lemonade), blonde with sand (coffee with cream and sugar), bride and groom (two fried eggs), bunny grub (green vegetable), canned cow (evaporated milk), checkerboard (waffles), cluck and wrap (chicken enchilada), corrugated roof (lemon meringue pie), cowboy and spurs (western omelet and french fries), Dagwood special (banana split), elephant dandruff (cornflakes cereal), George Eddy (customer who doesn’t leave a tip), on the hoof (any meat served rare), life preserver (doughnut), M.D. (Dr. Pepper), nervous pudding (bowl of Jell-O), pig between the sheets (pork on a bun), stars and stripes (bacon and eggs), whistle berries (baked beans) and wreck ’em (scrambled eggs).

“Rock around the kitchen” to the beat of your favorite tunes as you prepare these easy to stir up “checkerboards.”

CHOCOLATE WAFFLES
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
1-1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
In large mixing bowl, sift flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Beat egg yolks and add with milk and butter to dry ingredients, stirring until smooth. Beat egg whites until stiff; fold into batter. Spoon portion of batter into greased waffle iron and cook until golden brown. Serve with powdered sugar and fresh fruit.

CHINESE CHICKEN THIGHS
(“Bosom Buddies,” Breast Cancer Coalition of
Rochester, N.Y.)
1/2 bottle oyster sauce (Oriental aisle of grocery)
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup water
6 to 8 chicken thighs, with skin
Olive oil and butter for browning
Prepare sauce by mixing together oyster sauce, sugar, garlic and water. In a skillet, brown chicken thighs in olive oil and butter. Remove thighs from skillet and bake in oven dish at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Pour sauce over the baked thighs and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes. Baste every 10 minutes and be careful not to burn.

BEEF BRISKET IN BEER
(“I’ll Cook When Pigs Fly,” Junior League of
Cincinnati)
1 (3 to 4 pound) beef brisket, trimmed
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 large onion, sliced
1/4 cup chili sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (12-ounce) can beer
2 tablespoons flour
Water
Season brisket with salt and pepper. Place in 13x9x2-inch baking dish; place onion on brisket. Combine and stir: chill sauce, brown sugar, garlic and beer. Pour over brisket. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 3-1/2 hours. Remove foil and bake for additional 30 minutes, basting with juices. Place brisket on platter. Skim excess fat from droppings. Measure liquid, add water to equal 1 cup and pour into saucepan. Blend flour with 1/2 cup water. Add to cooking liquid and cook, stirring constantly over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Slice brisket across grain and serve slices with gravy. Goes well with buttered noodles. Makes 8 servings.

HAWAIIAN MEATBALLS
(“Treasures of the Smokies,” Junior League of Johnson City, Tenn.)
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
2/3 cup cracker crumbs
1/3 cup onion, minced
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon shortening
1 (13-ounce) can pineapple tidbits, drained, liquid reserved
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup green pepper, chopped
Mix thoroughly ground beef, cracker crumbs, onion, egg, salt, ginger and milk. Shape mixture by rounded tablespoons into balls. Melt shortening in skillet; brown and cook meatballs; drain off fat. Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Mix cornstarch and sugar; stir with reserved pineapple liquid, vinegar and soy sauce until smooth; pour into skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Add remaining pineapple tidbits, green pepper and meatballs. Heat thoroughly. Serve with rice as an entree or appetizer.

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