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 Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from October 09, 2019
“I don’t eat spinach. If I ate it I might like it, and I hate the damned stuff”

A joke is told about a person (usually an Irishman) who doesn’t like lettuce/spinach/broccoli. The logic goes like this:

“I don’t eat lettuce/spinach/broccoli. If I ate it I might like it, and I hate the damned stuff.”

A lettuce version of the saying was printed in the New York City humor publication Life on May 13, 1909.


13 May 1909, Life (New York, NY). pg. 658, col. 3:
“LIKE lettuce, Pat?”

“No. Oi don’t. An’ Oi’m glad Oi don’t. For if Oi loiked ut Oi’d ate ut, an’ I hate the damned stuff!”

Newspapers.com
16 May 1909, Washington (DC) Post, pg. 2, col. 7:
His Convincing Reasons.
From Life.
“Like lettuce, Pat?”
“No. Oi don’t. An’ Oi’m glad Oi don’t. For if Oi loiked ut Oi’d ate ut, an’ I hate the damned stuff!”

Google Books
November 1921, Official Proceedings of the New York Railroad Club (New York, NY), “The News and the Editorial” by Mrs. Frank W. Noxon, pg. 6558:
He said, “I am glad I don’t like spinach, because if I liked it I’d ate it and I hate the damned stuff.” (Laughter.)

Google Books
January 1926, The Leather Worker’s Journal, “A Change of Scene,” pg. 41, col. 1:
Told on an Irishman.
Judge “Molly” O’Toole of the District of Columbia is responsible for the following story about Pat who was dining with a fashionable friend:

“Pat won’t you have some lettuce,” said the host.

“No, and I won’t have any lettuce,” Pat replied shortly.

“Don’t you like lettuce,” asked the friend.

“No, I don’t like lettuce,” replied Pat, “and I’m glad I don’t like it; because, if I liked it, I’d ate It and I hate the damned stuff.”

Google Books
Autobiography of a Bird-lover
By Frank Michler Chapman
New York, NY: D. Appleton-Century Company, incorporated
1933
Pg. 312:
... with him, nor did he seem to relish my apropos story of the Irishman who, when he was asked if he liked spinach, replied : “No, I don’t like it and I am damned glad I don’t like it, for if I did like it I’d have to ate it, and I hate the damned stuff.”

26 January 1933, The Hollywood Reporter (Hollywood, CA), “Manhattan,” pg. 3, col. 4:
The answer evidently lies in that old saying, “I never eat spinach, because if I ate it, I might like it and I hate the damned stuff.”

2 February 1933, Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, “Reverting to Type” by Art Arthur, pg. 12, col. 6:
...and to Lynn Farnol for explaining anything he can’t understand with the old saying, “I never eat spinach because if I ate it I might like it and I hate the damned stuff.”

11 June 1944, Chicago (IL) Sunday Times, “$2 Bright Sayings,” pg. 27, col. 1:
The other evening at dinner one of the guests noticed Bobby’s untouched spinach. She said, “Why Bobby, don’t you eat your spinach?” He replied, “I won’t eat it because I hate it and if I ate it, I might like it.”—Mrs. E. Hogan, 7342 s. Park.

Twitter
St. Rev ☯️🏴😻
@St_Rev
Replying to @Meaningness
@Meaningness But I don’t want to eat broccoli because if I ate it I might like it and then I’d eat more of it and I hate broccoli
5:51 PM · Jun 26, 2013·Twitter Web Client

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Wednesday, October 09, 2019 • Permalink