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 December 03, 2013
“The four seasons are salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar”

The four seasons are spring, summer, fall and winter. However, sometimes “seasons” is jokingly mistaken for “seasonings.” “The four seasons are salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar” is a very old American joke.

The joke has been cited in print since at least August 1853:

“Come here, sonny, and tell me what the four seasons are?” “Pepper, mustard, salt and vinegar, them’s what mammy always seasons with.”


8 August 1853, The Adams Sentinel (Gettysburg, PA), pg. 1, col. 4:
“Come here, sonny, and tell me what the four seasons are?” “Pepper, mustard, salt and vinegar, them’s what mammy always seasons with.”

Google Books
27 August 1853, The Musical World, “The Season,” pg. 539, col. 1:
“Which are the four seasons?”—asked the pedagogue, with birch in hand, of the little boy, who shook. “Pepper, Mustard, Salt, and Vinegar!”—answered the little boy who shook, to the pedagogue with birch in hand.

2 July 1856, Daily Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), pg. 2, col. 2:
“Come here, sonny, and tell me what the four seasons are?” Young Prodigy—“Pepper, mustard, salt and vinegar, them’s what mammy always seasons me with.”

25 August 1871, Jamestown (NY) Journal, “Humorous,” pg. 7, col. 1:
The four seasons—Mustard, salt, pepper and vinegar.

Google Books
February 1872, Our Young Folks: An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls, pg. 117:
“The Four Seasons” quickly followed, displaying the caster, containing salt, pepper, mustard, and vinegar.

Google Books
April 1890, Judge’s Library, pg. 28, col. 1:
“But you must know what the four seasons are, my son.”
“Oh, yes; I know what they are now. They’re salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar. Them’s all the seasonin’s I know of.”

Google Books
Boners:
Being a Collection of Schoolboy Wisdom, Or Knowledge as it is Sometimes Written

By Alexander Abingdon
New York, NY: Blue Ribbon Books, Incorporated
1931
Pg. 62:
The four seasons are salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.

Google News Archive
8 June 1962, Ocala (FL) Star-Banner, “Carnival” cartoon by Dick Turner, pg. 10, col. 4:
(Young girl to teacher.—ed.)
“What are the four seasons? How about salt, pepper, mustard And vinegar?”

Google Books
19 August 1964, The News and Courier (Charleston, SC), “Doing The Charleston” by Ashley Cooper, pg. 12_a, col. 3:
“The four seasons are salt, pepper, mustard , and vinegar.”

Twitter
Megan S Forbes
‏@megansforbes
The four seasons are salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.#funny test answer
1:27 PM - 21 Aug 09

Twitter
Bill Coton
‏@bchomebiz
“The four seasons are salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.”,
5:09 AM - 30 Nov 13

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Tuesday, December 03, 2013 • Permalink