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:
Irish Grape (potato) (3/18)
“Oranges are pre-sliced by nature” (3/18)
“My dad was a workaholic. Every time someone mentioned work, he got drunk” (3/17)
“Mother Nature not only pre-sliced but also pre-wrapped oranges” (3/17)
“I saw a sign on the train saying, ‘Please give this seat to an elderly person‘“ (joke) (3/17)
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Entry from June 19, 2010
“Eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside”

"Part of the secret of success in life it to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside” has been credited to writer Mark Twain (1835-1910), and has been printed on many images. Lyman Beecher Stowe (who lived next to Twain in Hartford) was quoted in the Hartford (CT) Daily Courant on December 2, 1932, that Twain gave these rules for longevity on his 70th birthday in 1905:

“Of the many typical stories of Mark Twain’s life, one of the most delightful told by Mr. Stowe was the following advice from Mark Twain, asked on his seventieth birthday to disclose a set of rules for longevity: ‘Never smoke more than one cigar at a time. Never, never smoke while sleeping. Eat whatever you want and let ‘em fight it out among themselves inside. Sit up as late as you can get anybody to stay with you, and stay in bed as long as anybody will let you.’”

Twain’s quips about smoking have been cited elsewhere, but the food saying has only been attested by Lyman Beecher Stowe (1880-1963). Stowe repeated these Twain longevity sayings in 1935 (published in the Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette) and in 1937 (published in The Listener by the British Broadcasting Corporation). Stowe was 25 in 1905; it’s not known if he wrote Twain’s longevity sayings down, or recalled them from memory 27 years later.

[This entry includes subsequent research by the Quote Investigator/]


Wikiquote: Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American humorist, novelist, writer, and lecturer.

Wikipedia: Beecher family
Originating in New England, one particular Beecher family in the 19th century was a political family notable for issues of religion, civil rights, and social reform. Notable members of the family include clergy (Congregationalists), educators, authors and artists. Many of the family were Yale-educated and advocated for abolitionism, temperance, and women’s rights. Some of the family provided material or ideological support to the Union in the American Civil War. The family is of English descent.
(...)
Harriet Elizabeth Beecher (1811–1896), wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin; m. Calvin Stowe (1802–1886) in 1836
..Harriet (Hattie) Beecher Stowe (1836-)
..Eliza Tyler Stowe (1836-)
..Henry Ellis Stowe (1838-1857)
..Frederic William Stowe (1840-1870?)
..Georgiana May Stowe (1843-1890) m. Henry Freeman Allen (1838-1914)
..Samuel Charles Stowe (1848-1849)
..Charles Edward Stowe (1850-) m. Susan Munroe
....Lyman Beecher Stowe (1880-1963)

2 December 1932, Hartford (CT) Daily Courant, pg. 6, col. 1:
Mark Twain Recalled On Anniversary
Lyman Beecher Stowe Relates Anecdotes of Writer and His Friends at Memorial

(...)
Recalls Health Rules.
Of the many typical stories of Mark Twain’s life, one of the most delightful told by Mr. Stowe was the following advice from Mark Twain, asked on his seventieth birthday to disclose a set of rules for longevity: “Never smoke more than one cigar at a time. Never, never smoke while sleeping. Eat whatever you want and let ‘em fight it out among themselves inside. Sit up as late as you can get anybody to stay with you, and stay in bed as long as anybody will let you.”

13 November 1935, Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette, “Stowe’s Lecture on Mark Twain Enjoyed By Capacity Audience at Park Church,” pg. 16, col. 6:
A capacity audience listened raptly to Lyman Beecher Stowe’s lecture at The Park Church Tuesday night on “Mark Twain—Self Appointed Instructor of the Public.”
(...)
Rules for longevity which he (Mark Twain—ed.) issued were:

“Smoke only one cigar at a time. Never smoke while sleeping. Eat whatever you like and let them fight out out inside.”

Google Books
27 October 1937, The Listener (British Broadcasting Corporation), “Mark Twain and his Friends” by Lyman Beecher Stowe:
Pg. 913:
On his seventieth birthday in 1905 he (Mark Twain—ed.) gave out an interview on rules for the attainment of longevity. I do not remember all of them, but some of them were these:

‘Never smoke but one cigar at a time. Never smoke while sleeping. Sit up as late as you can get anybody to sit up with you. Lie in bed as long as anybody’ll let you. Eat whatever you want to and let them fight it out inside’.

13 September 1945, Titonka (IA) Topic, pg. 7, col. 6:
Who said: “Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside”?
("Mark Twain” is given as the answer—ed.)

Google Books
Food and Health:
An introduction to the science of nutrition

By Annie Barbara Callow
Oxford: Clarendon Press
1946
Pg. 33:
Mark Twain once said that the secret of success in life is to eat whatever you like and let the food fight it out inside. Although this was said in jest, it contains an element of truth.

Google News Archive
4 October 1953, Reading (PA) Eagle, pg. 12, col. 4:
Today’s Quotation: “Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”—Mark Twain.

Google Books
Speaker’s handbook of epigrams and witticisms
By Herbert Victor Prochnow
New York, NY: Harper & Brothers
1955
Pg. 109:
Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. Mark Twain

Google News Archive
16 September 1955, Reading (PA) Eagle, “Neal O’Hara Says,” pg. 8, col. 4:
Thoughts while shaving: 1. If there was one thing as much as his humor for which Mark Twain was famous, it was his zest for food and drink. And some of his most profound thoughts dealt with viands and vintages...2. One concludes that Twain had a sturdy stomach that required no bicarbonate of soda or other such remedies. He as mcuh as said so in this bon mot: “Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”

Google Books
Eating and Drinking:
An anthology for epicures

By Peter John Hunt
London: Ebury Press
1961
Pg. 21:
Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.
MARK TWAIN

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Saturday, June 19, 2010 • Permalink