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.

Recent entries:
“A man’s health can be judged by which he takes two at a time: pills or stairs” (8/27)
“There’s always room for dessert” (8/27)
“There’s always room for Jell-O” (8/27)
“Champagne is just ginger ale that knows somebody” (8/26)
Spine of Texas (Interstate 35) (8/26)
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Entry from December 11, 2009
“The most dangerous food is wedding cake”

"The most dangerous food is wedding cake” is an old joke. Wedding cake usually doesn’t cause food poisoning, but it might cause other problems (if the marriage is bad). American author James Thurber (1894-1961) is often credited with the “wedding cake” line, but it has not been found in any of his writings. A joke about eating wedding cake was widely circulated in the 1940s (see below).

“Perhaps the most dangerous food a man can eat is a wedding cake” has been cited in print from at least 1973.


Google Books
The American Flint
American Flint Glass Workers’ Union
Volume 29
1940
Pg. 56:
“Can you tell me what it is that most of us eat at one time or another, yet it is the worst thing in the world for us?”

The bored man knew the answer for that one.

“Wedding cake!” he retorted, without any hesitation.

21 July 1942, Wall Street Journal, “Pepper and Salt,” pg. 6:
Sad Experience
He was enlarging on the dangers of modern foods, and with a dramatic gesture he pointed a finger at a harassed-looking inoffensive listener: “What is it we all eat at some time or other, yet it’s the worst thing in the world for us? Do you know?”

It appeared the little man did know, for he replied in a husky whisper: “Wedding Cake.”—Cooper’s Store News.

25 March 1973, Syracuse (NY) Herald-Journal:
Perhaps the most dangerous food a man can eat is a wedding cake.

27 October 1977, Hamilton (OH) Journal-News, “Got a minute?” by Bill McDulin, pg. 17, col. 5:
“THE MOST DANGEROUS food a man can eat is wedding cake.”—20th century Americana.

13 October 1987, Chicago (IL) Sun-Times, “Kup’s column” by Irv Kupcinet:
And for the closer, this was overheard at Morton’s: “The most dangerous food is a wedding cake.”

Google Books
The Cake Mix Doctor
By Anne Byrn
New York, NY: Workman Publishing
1999
Pg. 194:
The most dangerous food in the world is wedding cake.
-- American proverb

St. Petersburg (FL) Times
dish
By JANET K. KEELER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 17, 2002
(...)
“The most dangerous food is wedding cake.”—American proverb

Forbes.com (February 24, 2004)
Your Health
Killer Foods

Alan Farnham
There’s an old joke that asks: What is the most dangerous food in the world? The punch line is “wedding cake.”

Florida Times- Union (Jacksonville, FL)
Published Saturday, June 4, 2005
The Rooney Bin: Ok, there was no Demi, but about marriage ...
By JACKIE ROONEY
Shorelines columnist,
(...)
The British made tiny, flat cakes filled with fruit and nuts to symbolize fertility and threw them at the bride, or crumbled a cake over her head. I’d like to think this is the origin of the proverb: “The most dangerous food is wedding cake.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Friday, December 11, 2009 • Permalink