diner lingo

I’ve always gotten a kick out of diner lingo and hate to see it go the way of the dodo, ya know?

Photo by Kenneth C. Zirkel via Wikimedia Commons

Hoping to do my part in preserving this cute ‘n’ cheesy (wink) café chatter,

I created a—you guessed it—QUIZ to test your food slang savvy.

Have fun figuring out these phrases (the answers are posted at the end), then call them out with gusto in your own kitchen. The kids will love it.
1. All hot
2. Battery acid
3. Birdseed
4. Bubble dancer
5. Cluck and grunt
6. Cow feed
7. Cow paste
8. Eve with a lid on
9. Fish eyes
10. Frog sticks
11. George Eddy
12. Houseboat
13. Italian perfume
14. Make it moo
15. Mike and Ike
16. Moo juice
17. Nervous pudding
18. Radio
19. Sea dust
20. Shingle with a shimmy and a shake
21. Vermont
22. Walk a cow through the garden and pin a rose on it
23. Whistle berries
24. Yum-yum

1. Baked potato
2. Grapefruit juice
3. Breakfast cereal
4. Dishwasher
5. Eggs and bacon
6. Salad
7. Butter
8. Apple pie
9. Tapioca pudding
10. French fries
11. Customer who doesn’t leave tips
12. Banana split
13. Garlic
14. Add milk/cream to coffee
15. Salt and pepper shakers
16. Milk
17. Jell-o (or, better yet, Giggle Wiggles—one of my Chillover recipes!)
18. Tuna salad sandwich
19. Salt
20. Buttered toast with jam
21. Maple syrup
22. Hamburger with lettuce, tomato and onion
23. Baked beans
24. Sugar

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    These are fun and totally new to me except for #16. I wonder how the terms originated? The lingo constitutes a foreign language known only to those who work there or eat there frequently! I wonder if the other countries of the world do the same thing in their restaurants? Is it unique to restaurants in general or diners in particular? Great topic for our MJF morning Social Studies Lesson!

  2. Karlyne says:

    Italian perfume especially cracked me up!

  3. I knew some of these as I adore diners and love slang to boot. We used to have a restaurant in the town where I lived previously where the cook ( always called “cookie” ) was an ex navy cook and he used a lot of very colorful terms, “Whiskey” is rye bread/toast for instance. SOS ( s–t on a shingle, is creamed chipped beef on toast, very Navy talk! I always said SOS and never knew what it really stood for until I was an adult!) and many others I am unable to remember this morning.
    My idea of heaven is an all day breakfast which many diners still do. Here in my little town we have ” Dave’s Diner” a real one in the stainless steel style that looks like a train car. We used to have 3 of them hereabouts but the awful chain restaurants put them of business, alas.

  4. Shannon Hudson says:

    What fun! I could only figure out four of them… 5, 13, 16, and 19. I think I might turn this into a game for Family Fun Friday 🙂

  5. Krista says:

    I have only heard of 3, 9, and 13. These are some crazy and fun sayings. Hopefully diners are still using them. I wonder how they came about. The cow feed one reminds me of my old boss. Whenever we would have salad at work she would always call it rabbit food. It seems to fit better with salad than cow feed. I think I am going to quiz my family on these and see how many they can guess or how many they have actually heard!

  6. Dawn says:

    This would be fun to use as a game for a bridal shower!

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