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 06, 2009
“A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand”

"A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand” has become a popular phrase, frequently listed along with other pieces of kitchen wisdom. The “cookie” version became popular from 1998.

A version of the phrase possibly dates to 1944; in 1959, someone’s idea of a balanced diet was “a cocktail in each hand.” In 1960, a kid’s idea of a balanced diet was “a candy bar in one hand and an ice-cream cone in the other.” In 1961, another kid’s idea of a balanced diet was a “hamburger in each hand.” A “highball” in each hand was frequently mentioned in the 1960s. In the 2000s, a “beer” in each hand became a popular variation of the phrase.

“Cookie in each hand” is currently the most popular version of the “balanced diet” joke.


zazzle.com
A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand!
Magnet by bonnievoyage

zazzle.com
My idea of a balanced diet is a beer in each hand
Mousepad by by lookcrazy

1 September 1944, Williamsport (PA) Gazette and Bulletin, pg. 14, col. 7:
A small boy’s idea
Of a balanced diet
Is a quarter of a pound (Illegible—ed.)
in his right cheek, and
an equal amount to the other.

19 October 1959, Centralia (WA) Daily Chronicle, pg. 7, col. 2:
Artemus Sandmeier’s idea of a balanced diet is a cocktail in each hand.

13 March 1960, Hobbs (NM) Daily News-Sun, “Chatter” by Leata McQuiston, pg. 13, col. 4:
“A kid’s idea of a balanced diet is a candy bar in one hand and an ice-cream cone in the other.”

16 December 1960, San Antonio (TX) , pg. 39, col. 6:
Equilibrium: David Stewart on Culebra admits his idea of a balanced diet is a highball in each hand. 

26 May 1961, Bridgeport (CT) Post, pg. 2, col. 1:
MEAL WITH BALANCE
ELMIRA, N. Y.—(AP) Overheard in a supermarket: “My kids’ idea of a balanced diet is a hamburger in each hand.”

5 May 1964, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “A Line O’ Type or Two,” pg. 18:
My uncle’s idea of a balanced diet is a highball in each hand.
Jack Herbert

Google Books
The Giant Book of Insults:
Incorporating 2000 Insults for All Occasions and 2000 More Insults

By Louis A. Safian
Published by Citadel Press
1967
Pg. 20:
His idea of a balanced diet is a highball in each hand.

3 January 1970, Anderson (IN) Daily Bulletin, “Now See Here” by Bert Bacharach, pg. 5, col. 1:
Overheard: “Her idea of a balanced diet is to have a martini in each hand!”

Google Books
Muffins & More
By Jean Paré
Published by Company’s Coming Publishing Limited
1983
Pg. 38:
A kid’s idea of a balanced diet is a hamburger in each hand.

20 October 1991, Denver (CO) Post, “Westhead protege keeps system alive” by Donna Carter, pg. 5B: 
“He thinks a balanced diet is a Big Mac in each hand.”

19 March 1992, The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), Smiley Anders column:
An avid reader tells of his friend who thinks a balanced diet is a martini in each hand.

Google Books
The Speaker’s Quote Book:
Over 4,500 Illustrations and Quotations for All Occasions

By Roy B. Zuck
Published by Kregel Publications
1997
Pg. 118:
DIETING
Her idea of a balanced diet is a pizza in each hand.
-- Hal Roach

Google Groups: alt.recovery.aa
Newsgroups: alt.recovery.aa
From: (Kim B.)
Date: 1998/03/15
Subject: Re: new to the ng

A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand smile

9 June 1998, Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO):
“A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.”
“Thou shalt not weigh more than thy refrigerator.”
“A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.”

Google Groups: alt.support.loneliness
Newsgroups: alt.support.loneliness
From: (Luvz2laf)
Date: 1998/08/02
Subject: Re: Another “Hi Y’all”

A balanced diet is holding a cookie in both hands.

Google Groups: alt.fan.leo-dicaprio
Newsgroups: alt.fan.leo-dicaprio
From: Elizabeth
Date: 1999/07/14
Subject: Bloody Deja News!!!

A balanced diet is a chocolate in each hand.

Google Groups: comp.os.msdos.misc
Newsgroups: comp.os.msdos.misc
From: “David P. Greenberg”
Date: 1999/07/21
Subject: dos 6.2/Win conflict?

“A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.”

16 October 1999, Alton (IL) Telegraph, “A New You” by Catherine Galasso, pg. B3, cols. 2-3:
To lose excess weight, change your way of eating. Most Americans believe that a balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.

Taste of Home Community
luvtocook2002
10-10-2002 8:31 AM
RE: Thought I would share some Recipe Poems

Kitchen

A messy kitchen is a happy kitchen and this kitchen is delirious!
No husband has ever been shot while doing the dishes.
A husband is someone who takes out the trash and gives the impression he just cleaned the whole house.
A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.
They shalt not weigh more than thy refrigerator.
Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused.
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.
Help keep the kitchen clean-eat out.
Housework done properly can kill you.
Countless numbers of people have eaten in this kitchen and gone on to lead normal lives.
My next house will have not kitchen-just vending machines.

Edible TV
A Balanced Diet is a Cookie in Each Hand
Posted by Chris Arpante December 8, 2008
“A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand”, words by an unknown source, is a quote I came across awhile back.  I believe the statement is a beaiutiful thing, and falls right into the cookie push this holiday season.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Friday, February 06, 2009 • Permalink