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 October 07, 2009
Soup Sandwich

The term “as sloppy as a soup sandwich” was printed in the Daily News (New York, NY) on January 28, 1977. “Sloppy as a soup sandwich” was entered in the “Canonical List of Fulldeckisms” in the newsgroup rec.humor on March 2, 1993. A sandwich made out of soup would be disorganized, unfinished, sloppy.

“Soup sandwich” has been used in the military since at least the 1990s. According to the Urban Dictionary on December 6, 2004:

“A slang term used by members of the United States Army to describe a fellow soldier whose performance is unsatisfactory. This term is often shortened to just ‘soup.’”


Wiktionary: soup sandwich
Etymology
An expression of military origin, calling to mind a picture of soup being poured over bread.
Noun
soup sandwich
(plural soup sandwiches)
1. (US, idiomatic) Someone or something that is not as it should be; something disorganized or unfinished.

Wiktionary: Glossary of military slang
soup sandwich
(US) Insult often used in Basic Combat Training, referring to an action, uniform or task done inefficiently or improperly. Example: “Your uniform is all messed up, looking like a soup sandwich.”

Wikipedia: Soup
Soup Sandwich is a denigrative U.S. military slang term, typically used to admonish a trooper for poor work or shoddy appearance. The term comes from the concept that a sandwich made out of soup would be a sloppy mess.

Military Jargon, Lingo, & Slang
Soup Sandwhich:  Try making one....
Soup Sandwich:  Someone who would look good if their uniform was squared away
Soup Sandwich:  Something really messed up
Soup Sandwich:  A soldier who isn’t ready or wet behind the ears.
Soup Sandwich:  Soldier who’s not squared away..
soup sandwich:  somebody who is not taken care of buisness

Dictionary of Playground Slang (Online)
soup
Something worthless, hopeless, useless, etc. Derived from the common United States military phrase Ate up like a soup sandwich.”; This memo is soup.” circa 1990 s, KOR

28 January 1977, Daily News (New York, NY), “Loco play has motive—so climb on board” by Douglas Watt, pg. 42, col. 4:
A scrapping couple lives in an apartment as sloppy as a soup sandwich.

Google Groups: rec.humor
Canonical List of Fulldeckisms, 03/02
Alan Silverstein
3/2/93
(...)
Sloppy as a soup sandwich.

Google Groups: alt.sex.stories
(fwd) USMC (3)
PupDoesIt
9/3/96
(...)
“Sorry...sir.  It’s just that...well, I’m due to report for duty tomorrow...and it wouldn’t be a good idea to look like a soup sandwich.”

New York (NY) Times
Books in Brief: Fiction
By Eric P. Nash
Published: Sunday, September 21, 1997
SLIPPAGE
Previously Uncollected,
Precariously Poised Stories.
By Harlan Ellison.
Houghton Mifflin, $22.
Harlan Ellison, the reigning bad boy of science fiction for more than 40 years, has mellowed—somewhat. Like Stephen King (who took more than a leaf from his stylebook), Ellison writes with a relish for gutter slang, veins-in-the-teeth violence and brand-name pop culture, and his work hums with a relentless narrative drive. Many of the stories in ‘’Slippage’’ are light fables. Another, ‘’Crazy as a Soup Sandwich,’’ about a modern-day demon, reads like a script for one of the more whimsical episodes of ‘’The Twilight Zone.’’ (And it was, in the reprised series of the 1980’s.)

Google Books
18th Airborne Corps in Desert Storm
By Charles Lane Toomey
Central Point, OR: Hellgate Press
2004
Pg. 315:
Behind the French, MSR TEXAS had become, as one derogatory description popular at the time put it, a “soup sandwich.”

Urban Dictionary
soup sandwich
A slang term used by members of the United States Army to describe a fellow soldier whose performance is unsatisfactory. This term is often shortened to just “soup.”

The term expresses a state of extreme uselessness, which can be understood by considering the functionality and worth of soup between two slices of bread.
“You are SOUP, private! You are a dog-gone SOUP SANDWICH! DROP!”
by GaliemVae… oh, fuck it December 06, 2004

Google Books
Battleground Iraq:
Journal of a Company Commander

By Todd S. Brown
Washington, DC: United States Department of Defense
2007
Pg. 83:
I thought we were a total soup sandwich, but then the higher-ups all started singing their praises for the platoon and the indirect mission we fired.

Urban Dictionary
soup sandwich
A term used in the US Army to denote extreme uselessness. It is directed toward something or someone that is the figurative equivalent of the literal hot sloppy pile of shit that a gob of soup between two pieces of sandwich bread would be.

So the implication here is that the object of discussion is ‘Fucked up like a soup sandwich.’
(...)
by ABN_PMPN505 June 18, 2011

Google Groups: World Alliances and Rivalries IC
USA (SECRET) James Bond never dealt with this
(...)
“Soup….sandwich.” An old military slang that described something totally messed up and near impossible to fix.

Google Books
Title Messy As a Soup Sandwich: 2019 Weekly Planner Journal Gift for Sarcastic Southern Friends and Family
Author Spitfire Books
Publisher CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018
ISBN 1729767788, 9781729767788
Length 104 pages

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Wednesday, October 07, 2009 • Permalink