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 February 11, 2018
“If you can’t make both ends meet, make one end a vegetable”

The expression “make ends meet” shouldn’t be confused with “make ends meat,” but there have been puns. A joke was printed in the New York (NY) Herald on August 5, 1877:

“A landlady was complaining that she could not make both ends meet. ‘Well,’ said a boarder, ‘why not make one end vegetables?’”

The joke was popularized on New York City television in the 1960s by comedian Soupy Sales (1926-2009), who said:

‘’If you can’t make both ends meet, make one vegetable.”


Wiktionary: make ends meet
Verb
make ends meet

1. (idiomatic) to have enough money to cover expenses; to get by financially; to get through the pay period (sufficient to meet the next payday).

Wikipedia: Soupy Sales
Milton Supman (January 8, 1926 – October 22, 2009), known professionally as Soupy Sales, was an American comedian, actor, radio/television personality, and jazz aficionado. He was best known for his local and network children’s television show, Lunch with Soupy Sales (1953-1966), a series of comedy sketches frequently ending with Sales receiving a pie in the face, which became his trademark.

From 1968 to 1975, he was a regular panelist on the syndicated revival of What’s My Line? and appeared on several other TV game shows. During the 1980s, Sales hosted his own show on WNBC-AM in New York City.

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
5 August 1877, New York (NY) Herald, pg. 8, col. 6:
A landlady was complaining that she could not make both ends meet. “Well,” said a boarder, “why not make one end vegetables?”

Chronicling America
17 November 1881, Newberry (SC) Herald, pg. 3, col. 5:
A landlady was complaining that she could not make both ends meet. ‘Well,’ said a boarder, ‘why not make one end vegetables.’

9 May 1928, The Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, AZ), “Happy Days in Old Pueblo,” pg. 8, col. 3:
WHY NOT?
Mrs. Pen from Penn: “Honestly, Herb, I simply can’t make ends meet.”
Mr. Pen from Penn: “Then why not make one a vegetable?”

9 March 1929, Charlotte (NC) Observer, pg. 14, col. 1 ad: 
If you can’t make both ends Meat --
Make One a Vegetable.
(Blue and White Stores.—ed.)

9 September 1946, Boston (MA) Daily Globe, “Pitching Horseshoes: Horrors! Man Found Who Writes Gags for Dentists, Doctors” by Billy Rose, pg. 15, col. 6:
I bid Joe (Erens—ed.) a fast farewell. My mind flinches at the vision of a world where everybody was so busy telling jokes, nobody was laughing. I could hear my butcher saying:

“If you can’t make both ends meat, make one a vegetable.”

Google Groups: alt.support.stop-smoking
Perseverance
Selmar
3/11/98
(...)
And if you’re having trouble making both ends meet, make one vegetable.
Soupy Sales

13 June 1999, Tampa (FL) Tribune, “Woman found voice as one of first female disc jockeys” by Maria Victoria Ayarza, pg. 2, col. 1:
In the early 1960s, someone heard Tiny Grey say “If you can’t make two ends meet, then make one end a vegetable,” and decided her sense of humor, love of rock ‘n’ roll and throaty voice belonged on the radio.

Twitter
Elliott Harris‏
@elliottharris
A favorite quote from the late, great Soupy Sales: ‘’If you can’t make both ends meet, make one vegetable.’’
2:18 AM - 23 Oct 2009

Los Angeles (CA) Times
Laughing with Soupy
October 28, 2009
Re “Soupy Sales, 1926-2009: Comedian was a ‘60s TV star,” Obituary, Oct. 23
(...)
Here’s a timely quote from Soupy Sales, delivered as he approached the camera, his head tilted for the last few words, “If you can’t make both ends meet, make one a vegetable.”
Mark Rafter
Westlake Village

Twitter
CitizenBB‏
@citizenBB
If you can’t make both ends meat make one of them a vegetable.
3:26 AM - 15 Feb 2010

Twitter
You Know‏
@TweetMyFancy_
“When you can’t make ends meat, make one end vegetables.” My father is corny as fuck.
7:32 PM - 1 Feb 2012

Twitter
Christopher Peat‏
@Fundygalane
I was having trouble making ends meat,, so I tried a vegetable.
1:11 PM - 14 Sep 2012

Twitter
NIGHTHAWK‏
@MorganDiss
Isit true if you’re a vegatarian you don’t make ends meat you make ends vegetables?
8:20 AM - 24 Sep 2012

Twitter
Urban Inspirer‏
@UrbanInspirer
If you cant make ends meat… you should buy vegetables.
5:12 PM - 24 Dec 2012

Twitter
I A KM‏
@Iamkitchenmagic
If you can’t make both ends meet.Make one a vegetable
4:25 PM - 28 May 2014

Twitter
Fallout 4 Wedge Adventures‏
@SteampunkSergal
If you can’t make both ends meet, make one a vegetable.
6:01 PM - 3 Oct 2014 from Norfolk, VA

Twitter
Jen‏
@JennykJebsen
If you can’t make both ends meet, make one a vegetable
11:04 AM - 30 Mar 2015

Twitter
🌊African_ Queens_From _The _Shithole 🌊‏
@LeeVonzetta
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
IF YOU CANT MAKE 2 ENDS MEAT MAKE ONE END A VEGETABLE
I AM DYINNGGG!😭😭😭😭
2:26 AM - 18 Jan 2018

Reddit—Oneliners
If you can’t make both ends meet then make one end a vegetable.
submitted February 11, 2018 by painperdu
COMMENTS
AcresWild
I don’t think I understand, can someone please explain this to me?

jlking3
It’s a pun on meet/meat.

painperdu[S]
To make both ends meet is an idiomatic expression that basically means to survive on limited resources. Poor people, for example, try to make both ends meet by working a second job so as to earn enough money to survive.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Sunday, February 11, 2018 • Permalink