Culinary History,  Food History,  History,  Lunch,  Soda Fountain

Delis, Diners and Fast Food

Soda fountains are just one of the interesting places to eat that grew out of the American fast food culture. Fast food started to appear in the 1950s and 60s when travel by car became more common and roads were better. Delis, diners and fast food restaurants began to pop up everywhere to feed the hungry travelers. They soon became a part of the American culture and landscape.

Of course, people have always needed to eat, even if they are on a trip! There were always restaurants and saloons and Harvey houses for people to go to after their train trip or cattle drive. But if you needed something fast so you could continue your trip, that’s where the fast food trend began. If you didn’t have time for a sit-down meal, then just take your meal with you! Fast service became the trademark of such places.

For many years, these places were owned by families and were run as small businesses. Everyone knew the best places to eat in town just like they do now 🙂 Each place had their own specialties.

And if you have ever worked at a restaurant, you know that there is a language and jargon used there all its own. The early diners, delis and soda fountains of America were no different! Each place had its own code of food shorthand. Here’s a few tidbits for you!

  • Wreck’em = Scrambled Eggs
  • Two cows, make’em cry = Two burgers with onions
  • Keep off the grass = Hold the lettuce
  • On the hoof = Meat cooked rare
  • Axle grease = Butter
  • Paint it red = With ketchup
  • Sea dust = Salt
  • Adam’s ale = Water
  • Baby juice = Milk
  • Eve with a lid on = Apple pie
  • Throw it in the mud = Add chocolate syrup
  • Nervous pudding = Jello

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