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. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from February 08, 2021
“Heaven is an American salary, a Chinese cook, an English house, and a Japanese wife”

"Little United Nations riddle, hot-foot from the delegates’ lounge as the weary diplomats wend their way to points east: how is it possible to have (a) the best and (b) the worst of everything in life these days? Answer to (a): an English home, a Chinese cook, a Japanese wife, and an American salary. Answer to (b): a Japanese home, an English cook, an American wife, and a Chinese salary” was printed in the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) on December 1, 1970. “A happy diplomat is one who has an English country house, a Chinese cook, a Japanese wife, and an American salary. An unhappy diplomat is one who has a Japanese country house, an English cook, a Chinese salary, and an American wife” was printed in the Garden City (KS) Telegram on March 19, 1971.

“Happy/unhappy diplomat” is usually replaced by “heaven/hell.” “‘Heaven,’ an Innsbrucker tells you, ‘is by definition an English apartment, a Japanese wife, Chinese food and an American salary. What we have instead is English food, an American wife, a Japanese apartment and a Chinese salary’” was printed in the Clovis (NM) News-Journal on January 25, 1976.

“Heaven is where the cooks are French, the police are English, the mechanics are German, the lovers are Italian and everything is organized by the Swiss. Hell is where the cooks are English, the police are German, the mechanics are French, the lovers are Swiss and everything is organized by the Italians” is a related saying that has been cited in print since 1963.


22 November 1968, South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), “COME TO HONGKONG ... YOU’LL NEVER REGRET IT: An amusing account of days in the life of Lorenzo Lo, Information Director for North America of the Hongkong Tourist Association,” USA 1968 section, pg. 14, col. 4:
Another colleague of mine, the Tourist Director of Taiwan would, during his presentation, show a slide of a magnificent Chinese banquet, and would philosophise to the audience that “to achieve the perfect life you should have a Japanese wife, a French mistress, and a Chinese cook.”

He would then pause for the laughter to subside and add dreamily, “and live abroad on an American salary.”

1 December 1970, South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), “Oh, by the way,” pg. 11, col. 1:
Diplomatic
Little United Nations riddle, hot-foot from the delegates’ lounge as the weary diplomats wend their way to points east: how is it possible to have (a) the best and (b) the worst of everything in life these days? Answer to (a): an English home, a Chinese cook, a Japanese wife, and an American salary. Answer to (b): a Japanese home, an English cook, an American wife, and a Chinese salary.

Google Books
Foreign Service Journal
American Foreign Service Association
1971
Pg. 10:
A happy diplomat has: an English country house; a Chinese cook; a Japanese wife; and an American salary.

An unhappy diplomat has: a Japanese country house; an English cook; a Chinese salary: and an American wife.

Newspapers.com
19 March 1971, Garden City (KS) Telegram, “The Distaff Side” by D. H., pg. 4, col. 1:
THIS ONE is going around in diplomatic circles:

A happy diplomat is one who has an English country house, a Chinese cook, a Japanese wife, and an American salary.

An unhappy diplomat is one who has a Japanese country house, an English cook, a Chinese salary, and an American wife.

Newspapers.com
25 January 1976, Clovis (NM) News-Journal, “Innsbruck Prepares For Sports Invasion” by Don Freeman (Copley News Service), pg. 15, col. 2:
“Heaven,” an Innsbrucker tells you, “is by definition an English apartment, a Japanese wife, Chinese food and an American salary. What we have instead is English food, an American wife, a Japanese apartment and a Chinese salary.”

Newspapers.com
1 January 1989, The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), “Best Theological Quote,” Parade Magazine, pg. 6, col. 1:
James H. Klabber III, chairman of Nikkal Industries, Ltd., in New Woman:

“Heaven is an American salary, a Chinese cook, an English house and a Japanese wife. Hell is defined as having a Chinese salary, an English cook, a Japanese house and an American wife.”

Google Books
Never Try to Teach a Pig to Sing:
Still More Urban Folklore from the Paperwork Empire

By Alan Dundes and Carl R. Pagter
Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press
1991
Pg. 232:
Heaven is an American salary, a Chinese cook, an English house and a Japanese wife. Hell is defined as having a Chinese salary, an English cook, a Japanese house and an American wife.

Google Books
The Asian Mystique:
Dragon Ladies, Geisha Girls, and Our Fantasies of the Exoti Orient

By Sheridan Prasso
New York, NY: Public Affairs
2006
Pg. 175:
It goes: Heaven is an American salary, a Chinese cook, an English house, and Japanese wife. Hell is a Chinese salary, an English cook, a Japanese house, and an American wife.

Twitter
London1234
@MagnetMH
RT @HealthyBitch: “Heaven is American salary,Chinese cook,English house,Japanese wife.Hell is Chinese salary,English cook,J....”
2:16 AM · May 16, 2009·Twitter Web Client

Twitter
Bob Kostic
@causticbob
Heaven is an American salary, a Chinese cook, an English house, and a Japanese wife.
Hell is defined as having a Chinese salary, an English cook, a Japanese house, and an American wife
8:14 PM · Feb 8, 2021·Twitter Web App

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Monday, February 08, 2021 • Permalink