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 April 27, 2010
Shrimp Wiggle (Lobster Wiggle)

Entry in progress—B.P.


Google Books
Reliable Receipts: for the housewife
By First Baptist Church (Gloucester, Mass.)
Gloucester, MA: Printed at the Cape Ann Breeze Office
1900
Pg. 21:
Shrimp Wiggle.
Put one heaping tablespoonful of butter in a sauce-pan and when hot add one heaping tablespoonful of flour; stir rapidly and gradually one pint of hot milk; when smooth add one can of shrimp, cut fine, and one can of green peas. Serve on toasted bread.
Mrs. E. S. Griffin, 1899.

Feeding America
The Settlement Cook Book:
Containing Many Recipes Used In Settlement Cooking Classes, The Milwaukee Public School Cooking Centers and Gathered From Various Other Reliable Sources

Compiled By Mrs. Simon Kander.
Milwaukee, WI: [S.N.]
1901
Pg. 227:
SHRIMP WIGGLE—Patties
1 cup shrimps,
1 cup canned peas,
4 tablespoonfuls butter,
2 tablespoonfuls flour,
1/2 teaspoonful salt,
1/8 teaspoonful paprika,
1 1/2 cups milk.
Melt the butter and add flour, with salt and paprika, stirring constantly; then pour on gradually the milk as soon as sauce thickens. Add shrimps broken in pieces, and the peas drained from their liquor. Fill into patties which have been heated and serve at once.

Google Books
March 1902, Good Housekeeping, pg. 254, col. 2:
Lobster Wiggle
Melt four tablespoons of butter, add three tablespoons of flour and a liberal seasoning of salt and pepper. Pour in one and a half cups of milk and still till creamy, then add one cup of lobster meat and one cup of canned peas from which every drop of liquor has been drained. Bring just to the boiling point, then serve. Shrimps may be used instead of lobster if one likes their flavor.

10 February 1904, Altoona (PA) Mirror, pg. 5, col. 5 ad:
Try Shrimp Wiggle
At the Armour Demonstration.
Step down to the basement, tomorrow, and try a free sample of Shrimp Wiggle at the Armour demonstration booth. A delicious delicacy when made of Armour preparations.
Armour’s Extract of Beef, Asparox, Tomato Buillon, etc., on sale at the tea and coffee counter.
GABLE AND CO.

Google News Archive
3 December 1904, St. John (NB) Daily Sun, “Chafing-dish Entertaining,” pg. 11, col. 3:
A few of the most popular creations of the chafing-dish are: The Welsh Rarebit, Golden Buck, Lobster a la Newburg, Cream Lobster, English Monkey, Eggs a la Creme, Shrimp Wiggle, Creamed Oysters, etc., etc.

Google Books
Cook book: a collection of choice tested receipts
By First Presbyterian Church (Oneonta, N.Y.). Ladies
Oneonta, NY: The Church
1906
Pg. 34:
TOMATO WIGGLE.
Five medium sizd onions sliced fine, one quart canned tomatoes, butter size of an egg, salt and pepper, cook together for one-half hour; when ready to serve, stir in two well-beaten eggs. Serve on toast.
MRS. A. A. REID.

29 December 1907, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, “Luncheon Dishes.; Shrimp Wiggle. SECOND PRIZE. $5” by Mrs. E. H. Lowe, pg. F3:
A good Sunday night tea dish is a shrimp wiggle with sandwiches. Pour one pint rich milk or cream into your chafing dish.  When near boiling point thicken with one tablespoon flour rolled into one of butter. Add one can or one pint fresh shrimps. Stew four minutes. Add one-fourth can green peas. Boil up once and serve on squares of hot buttered toast.

Sandwiches to accompany above: Pour one-half pint boiling water on one package pineapple jello on Saturday and pour it into a square, shallow mold. When ready for your sandwiches set the mold for an instant into boiling water. Invert on a dish and slice with a warm knife. Place each slice between two of nut bread cut thin and trim off the uneven sides.

Another good filling for sandwiches is made of one roll of neufchatel cheese mixed with one tablespoonful of white bar le duc jelly. Spread this mixture between thin slices of white bread, buttered.
MRS. E. H. LOWE,
1325 School Street, Rockford, Ill.

Feeding America
The Good Housekeeping Woman’s Home Cook Book
By Isabel Gordon Curtis.
Chicago, IL: Reilly & Britton
1909
Pg. 254:
Lobster Wiggle
Into the chafing-dish put two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of flour. Stir together till like a paste, add one cup of cream or rich milk, half a teaspoon of salt, a dash of paprika, one teaspoon of lemon juice and chopped parsley. Beat till creamy with a whisk, add one and one-half cups of lobster meat cut into small cubes. Cook for a few minutes with the lid on. Just before serving add half a can of French peas. Pour over fingers of buttered toast.

Chronicling America
21 March 1909, Washington (DC) Times, pg. 9, col. 1:
SHRIMP WIGGLE.
4 tablespoons butter.
3 tablespoons pepper.
1 1/2 cups milk.
1 cup canned peas.
1 can shrimp.
Melt butter, add flour and seasonings, then milk. When sauce thickens add shrimp and peas. Serve on toast.
MRS. J. B. LAMKIN
1343 East Capitol street.

22 October 1913, Elyria (OH) Democrat, pg.3?, col. 4:
Shrimp Wiggle.
Three tablespoons of melted butter, two tablespoons of flour stirred in, 1 1/2 cups of milk; cook until it thickens, then add two cans of shrimp and one can of peas; drain the liquid off of each and add them to the mixture, then stir all together; salt to taste; serve on toasted bread. But we have ours with mashed potato.

Google Books
Chafing Dish Possibilities
By Fannie Merritt Farmer
Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company
1916
Pg. 66:
Shrimp Wiggle
melt four tablespoons of butter, and add three tablespoons of flour mixed with one-half teaspoon salt and one-eighth teaspoon pepper. Pour on gradually one and one-half cups milk. As soon as sauce thickens, add one cup of shrimps, broken in pieces, and one cup canned peas, drained from their liquor and thoroughly rinsed.

August/September 1918, American Cookery, “Camp Cookery,” pg. 97, col. 1:
A group of dishes, we call inclusively if not accurately, “Wiggles”; meaning by that, any mixture served hot on crackers.

24 January 1951, Washington (DC) Post, pg. B8:
("How do you make Shrimp Wiggle Esche Puddle?  What makes popovers pop? Why do they call it Amish Preaching Soup? Questions like these have been tossed about by guests at Marjorie Hendricks’ Water Gate Inn so often that she has finally prepared a cookbook describing the intricacies of the Inn’s Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking. Author Flora Orr explains the mysterious titles and lists the ingredients.")

Google Books
Craig Claiborne’s The New York Times food encyclopedia
By Craig Claiborne
New York, NY: Wings Books
1994
Pg. 406:
As to why the dish is called shrimp wiggle, who knows?

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Tuesday, April 27, 2010 • Permalink