Hoyt & Roberts, comps. Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations. 1922.


The poor man will praise it so hath he good cause,
That all the year eats neither partridge nor quail,
But sets up his rest and makes up his feast,
With a crust of brown bread and a pot of good ale.
Old English Song. From “An Antidote Against Melancholy.” (1661).

When the Sultan Shah-Zaman
Goes to the city Ispahan,
Even before he gets so far
As the place where the clustered palm-trees are,
At the last of the thirty palace-gates,
The pet of the harem, Rose-in-Bloom,
Orders a feast in his favorite room—
Glittering square of colored ice,
Sweetened with syrup, tinctured with spice,
Creams, and cordials, and sugared dates,
Syrian apples, Othmanee quinces,
Limes and citrons and apricots,
And wines that are known to Eastern princes.
T. B. Aldrich—When the Sultan Goes to Ispahan.

Acorns were good till bread was found.
Bacon—Colours of Good and Evil. 6. Quote from Juvenal—Satires. XIV, 181.

Some men are born to feast, and not to fight;
Whose sluggish minds, e’en in fair honor’s field,
Still on their dinner turn—
Let such pot-boiling varlets stay at home,
And wield a flesh-hook rather than a sword.
Joanna Baillie—Basil. Act I. Sc. 1.

’Tis not her coldness, father,
That chills my labouring breast;
It’s that confounded cucumber
I’ve ate and can’t digest.
R. H. Barham—The Confession.

I sing the sweets I know, the charms I feel,
My morning incense, and my evening meal,
The sweets of Hasty-Pudding.
Joel Barlow—The Hasty Pudding. Canto I.

Ratons and myse and soche smale dere
That was his mete that vii. yere.
Sir Bevis of Hamptoun.

Un dîner réchauffé ne valut jamais rien.
A warmed-up dinner was never worth much.
Boileau—Lutrin. I. 104.

First come, first served.
Henry Brinklow—Complaint of Roderyck Mors. Also in Bartholomew’s Fair. Act III. 5. (1614).

Man is a carnivorous production,
And must have meals, at least one meal a day;
He cannot live, like woodcocks, upon suction,
But, like the shark and tiger, must have prey;
Although his anatomical construction
Bears vegetables, in a grumbling way,
Your laboring people think beyond all question,
Beef, veal, and mutton better for digestion.
Byron—Don Juan. Canto II. St. 67.

That famish’d people must be slowly nurst,
And fed by spoonfuls, else they always burst.
Byron—Don Juan. Canto II. St. 158.

All human history attests
That happiness for man,—the hungry sinner!—
Since Eve ate apples, much depends on dinner.
Byron—Don Juan. Canto XIII. St. 99.

Better halfe a loafe than no bread.
Camden—Remaines. Proverbs. P. 293.

A loaf of bread, the Walrus said,
Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed—
Now if you’re ready, Oysters, dear,
We can begin to feed!
Lewis Carroll—The Walrus and the Carpenter. From Alice Through The Looking-Glass.

Todos los duelos con pan son buenos (or son menos).
All sorrows are good (or are less) with bread.
Cervantes—Don Quixote. Ch. II. 13.

Tripas llevan corazon, que no corazon tripas.
The stomach carries the heart, and not the heart the stomach.
Cervantes—Don Quixote. Ch. II. 47.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Cervantes—Don Quixote. Ch. XXIV.

Nemini fidas, nisi cum quo prius multos modios salis absumpseris.
Trust no one unless you have eaten much salt with him.
Cicero—De Amic. 19, 67. (Quoted.)

Esse oportet ut vivas, non vivere ut edas.
Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat.
Cicero—Rhetoricorum Ad C. Herennium. IV. 7.

For he on honey-dew hath fed, And drunk the milk of Paradise.
Coleridge—Kubla Khan.

Oh, dainty and delicious!
Food for the gods! Ambrosia for Apicius!
Worthy to thrill the soul of sea-born Venus,
Or titillate the palate of Silenus!
W. A. Croffut—Clam Soup.

A friendly swarry, consisting of a boiled leg of mutton with the usual trimmings.
Dickens—Pickwick Papers. Ch. XXXVII.

The true Amphitryon.
Dryden—Amphitryon. Act IV. Sc. 1.

When we sat by the fleshpots.
Exodus. XVI. 3.

When I demanded of my friend what viands he preferred,
He quoth: “A large cold bottle, and a small hot bird!”
Eugene Field—The Bottle and the Bird.

When mighty roast beef was the Englishman’s food
It ennobled our hearts and enriched our blood—
Our soldiers were brave and our courtiers were good.
Oh! the roast beef of England,
And Old England’s roast beef.
Henry Fielding—The Roast Beef of Old England. In Grub Street Opera. Act III. Sc. 2. Claimed for R. Leveridge.

Fools make feasts, and wise men eat them.
Benj. Franklin—Poor Richard. (1733).

What will not luxury taste? Earth, sea, and air,
Are daily ransack’d for the bill of fare.
Blood stuffed in skins is British Christians’ food,
And France robs marshes of the croaking brood.
Gay—Trivia. Bk. III. L. 199.

Blest be those feasts, with simple plenty crowned,
Where all the ruddy family around
Laugh at the jests or pranks that never fail
Or sigh with pity at some mournful tale.
Goldsmith—Traveller. L. 17.

“Here, dearest Eve,” he exclaims, “here is food.” “Well,” answered she, with the germ of a housewife stirring within her, “we have been so busy to-day that a picked-up dinner must serve.”
Hawthorne—Mosses from an Old Manse. The New Adam and Eve.

Je veux que le dimanche chaque paysan ait sa poule au pot.
I want every peasant to have a chicken in his pot on Sundays.
Henry IV of France.

Such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Hebrews. V. 12.

Strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age.
Hebrews. V. 14.

He rolls it under his tongue as a sweet morsel.
Matthew Henry—Commentaries.

Here is bread, which strengthens man’s heart, and therefore is called the staff of Life.
Matthew Henry—Commentaries. Psalm CIV. 15.

He pares his apple that will cleanly feed.
Herbert—Church Porch. St. 2.

A cheerful look makes a dish a feast.
Herbert—Jacula Prudentum.

Gluttony kills more than the sword.
Herbert—Jacula Prudentum.

’Tis not the food, but the content,
That makes the table’s merriment.
Herrick—Content not Cates.

Out did the meate, out did the frolick wine.
Herrick—Ode for Ben Jonson.

God never sendeth mouth but he sendeth meat.
Heywood—Proverbs. Pt. I. Ch. IV.

Born but to banquet, and to drain the bowl.
Homer—Odyssey. Bk. X. L. 622. Pope’s trans.

“Good well-dress’d turtle beats them hollow,—
It almost makes me wish, I vow,
To have two stomachs, like a cow!”
And lo! as with the cud, an inward thrill
Upheaved his waistcoat and disturb’d his frill,
His mouth was oozing, and he work’d his jaw—
“I almost think that I could eat one raw.”
Hood—The Turtles.

Millia frumenti tua triverit area centum,
Non tuus hinc capiet venter plus ac meus.
Though your threshing-floor grind a hundred thousand bushels of corn, not for that reason will your stomach hold more than mine.
Horace—Satires. I. 1. 45.

Jejunus raro stomachus vulgaria temnit.
A stomach that is seldom empty despises common food.
Horace—Satires. II. 2. 38.

The consummate pleasure (in eating) is not in the costly flavour, but in yourself. Do you seek for sauce by sweating?
Horace—Satires. II. 2.

Free livers on a small scale; who are prodigal within the compass of a guinea.
Washington Irving—The Stout Gentleman.

The stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water.
Isaiah. III. 1.

Let us eat and drink; for to-morrow we shall die.
Isaiah. XXII. 13.

A feast of fat things.
Isaiah. XXV. 6.

Think of the man who first tried German sausage.
Jerome K. Jerome—Three Men in a Boat. Ch. XIV.

Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.
John. VI. 12.

For I look upon it, that he who does not mind his belly will hardly mind anything else.
Samuel Johnson—Boswell’s Life of Johnson. Vol. III. Ch. 9.

For a man seldom thinks with more earnestness of anything than he does of his dinner.
Samuel Johnson—Piozzi’s Anecdotes of Johnson.

Digestive cheese, and fruit there sure will be.
Ben Jonson—Epigram CI.

Yet shall you have to rectify your palate,
An olive, capers, or some better salad
Ushering the mutton; with a short-legged hen,
If we can get her, full of eggs, and then,
Limons, and wine for sauce: to these a coney
Is not to be despaired of for our money;
And though fowl now be scarce, yet there are clerks,
The sky not falling, think we may have larks.
Ben Jonson—Epigram CI.

The master of art or giver of wit,
Their belly.
Ben Jonson—The Poetaster.

She brought forth butter in a lordly dish.
Judges. V. 25.

In solo vivendi causa palato est.
In their palate alone is their reason of existence.
Juvenal—Satires. II. 11.

Bona summa putes, aliena vivere quadra.
To eat at another’s table is your ambition’s height.
Juvenal—Satires. V. 2.

And lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon.
Keats—The Eve of St. Agnes. St. 30.

An handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse.
I Kings. XVII. 12.

And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail.
I Kings. XVII. 16.

A woman asked a coachman, “Are you full inside?” Upon which Lamb put his head through the window and said: “I am quite full inside; that last piece of pudding at Mr. Gillman’s did the business for me.”
Lamb—Autobiographical Recollections, by Chas. R. Leslie.

He hath a fair sepulchre in the grateful stomach of the judicious epicure—and for such a tomb might be content to die.
Lamb—Dissertation upon Roast Pig.

If you wish to grow thinner, diminish your dinner,
And take to light claret instead of pale ale;
Look down with an utter contempt upon butter,
And never touch bread till its toasted—or stale.
Henry S. Leigh—A Day for Wishing.

Your supper is like the Hidalgo’s dinner; very little meat, and a great deal of tablecloth.
Longfellow—Spanish Student. Act I. Sc. 4.

I am glad that my Adonis hath a sweete tooth in his head.
Lyly—Euphues and his England. P. 308.

Ye diners out from whom we guard our spoons.
Macaulay—Political Georgics.

Philo swears that he has never dined at home, and it is so; he does not dine at all, except when invited out.
Martial—Epigrams. Bk. V. Ep. 47.

Mithriades, by frequently drinking poison, rendered it impossible for any poison to hurt him. You, Cinna, by always dining on next to nothing, have taken due precaution against ever perishing from hunger.
Martial—Epigrams. Bk. V. Ep. 76.

Annius has some two hundred tables, and servants for every table. Dishes run hither and thither, and plates fly about. Such entertainments as these keep to yourselves, ye pompous; I am ill pleased with a supper that walks.
Martial—Epigrams. Bk. VII. Ep. 48.

You praise, in three hundred verses, Sabellus, the baths of Ponticus, who gives such excellent dinners. You wish to dine, Sabellus, not to bathe.
Martial—Epigrams. Bk. IX. Ep. 19.

As long as I have fat turtle-doves, a fig for your lettuce, my friend, and you may keep your shellfish to yourself. I have no wish to waste my appetite.
Martial—Epigrams. Bk. XIII. Ep. 53.

See, how the liver is swollen larger than a fat goose! In amazement you will exclaim: Where could this possibly grow?
Martial—Epigrams. Bk. XIII. Ep. 58.

Whether woodcock or partridge, what does it signify, if the taste is the same? But the partridge is dearer, and therefore thought preferable.
Martial—Epigrams. Bk. XIII. Ep. 76.

However great the dish that holds the turbot, the turbot is still greater than the dish.
Martial—Epigrams. Bk. XIII. Ep. 81.

I am a shell-fish just come from being saturated with the waters of the Lucrine lake, near Baise; but now I luxuriously thirst for noble pickle.
Martial—Epigrams. Bk. XIII. Ep. 82.

If my opinion is of any worth, the fieldfare is the greatest delicacy among birds, the hare among quadrupeds.
Martial—Epigrams. Bk. XIII. Ep. 92.

Man shall not live by bread alone.
Matthew. IV. 4; Deuteronomy. VIII. 3.

Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink.
Matthew. VI. 25.

O hour, of all hours, the most bless’d upon earth,
The blessèd hour of our dinners!
Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton)—Lucile. Pt. I. Canto II. St. 23.

We may live without poetry, music and art;
We may live without conscience, and live without heart;
We may live without friends; we may live without books;
But civilized man cannot live without cooks.
He may live without books,—what is knowledge but grieving?
He may live without hope,—what is hope but deceiving?
He may live without love,—what is passion but pining?
But where is the man that can live without dining?
Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton)—Lucile. Pt. I. Canto II. St. 24.

They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet
Quaff immortality and joy.
Milton—Paradise Lost. Bk. V. L. 637.

Le véritable Amphitryon
Est l’Amphitryon où l’on dine.
The genuine Amphitryon is the Amphitryon with whom we dine.
Molière—Amphitryon. III. 5.

Tenez bonne table et soignez les femmes.
Keep a good table and attend to the ladies.
Napoleon I.—Instructions to Abbé de Pradt.

What baron or squire
Or knight of the shire
Lives half so well as a holy friar.
John O’Keefe—I am a Friar of Orders Gray.

Gula plures occidit quam gladius, estque fomes omnium malorum.
Gluttony kills more than the sword, and is the kindler of all evils.
Patricius, Bishop of Gæta.

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
Mrs. Sarah Payson (“Fanny Fern”)—Willis Parton.

Magister artis ingenique largitor Venter.
The belly (i. e. necessity) is the teacher of art and the liberal bestower of wit.
Persius—Prologue to Satires. 10.

Whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame.
Philippians. III. 19.

Festo die si quid prodegeris,
Profesto egere liceat nisi peperceris.
Feast to-day makes fast to-morrow.

Their best and most wholesome feeding is upon one dish and no more and the same plaine and simple: for surely this hudling of many meats one upon another of divers tastes is pestiferous. But sundrie sauces are more dangerous than that.
Pliny—Natural History. Bk. XI. Ch. LIII. Holland’s trans.

What, did you not know, then, that to-day Lucullus dines with Lucullus?
Plutarch—Lives. Life of Lucullus. Vol. III. P. 280.

And solid pudding against empty praise.
Pope—Dunciad. Bk. I. L. 54.

“Pray take them, Sir,—Enough’s a Feast;
Eat some, and pocket up the rest.”
Pope—First Book of Horace. Ep. VII. L. 24.

“An’t it please your Honour,” quoth the Peasant,
“This same Dessert is not so pleasant:
Give me again my hollow Tree,
A crust of Bread, and Liberty.”
Pope—Second Book of Horace. Last lines.

One solid dish his week-day meal affords,
An added pudding solemniz’d the Lord’s.
Pope—Moral Essays. Ep. III. L. 447.

“Live like yourself,” was soon my lady’s word,
And lo! two puddings smok’d upon the board.
Pope—Moral Essays. Ep. III. L. 461.

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.
Proverbs. XV. 17.

L’abstenir pour jouir, c’est l’épicurisme de la raison.
To abstain that we may enjoy is the epicurianism of reason.

Dis moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.
Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.
Brillat Savarin—Physiologie du Gout.

A very man—not one of nature’s clods—
With human failings, whether saint or sinner:
Endowed perhaps with genius from the gods
But apt to take his temper from his dinner.
J. G. Saxe—About Husbands.

A dinner lubricates business.
William Scott. Quoted in Boswell’s Life of Johnson.

But, first
Or last, your fine Egyptian cookery
Shall have the fame. I have heard that Julius Cæsar
Grew fat with feasting there.
Antony and Cleopatra. Act II. Sc. 6. L. 63.

Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table.
As You Like It. Act II. Sc. 7. L. 106.

If you do, expect spoon-meat; or bespeak a long spoon.
Comedy of Errors. Act IV. Sc. 3. L. 61.

Unquiet meals make ill digestions.
Comedy of Errors. Act V. Sc. 1. L. 75.

He hath eaten me out of house and home.
Henry IV. Pt. II. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 81.

He that keeps nor crust nor crum,
Weary of all, shall want some.
King Lear. Act I. Sc. 4. L. 216.

But mice, and rats, and such small deer,
Have been Tom’s food for seven long year.
King Lear. Act III. Sc. 4.

Fat paunches have lean pates, and dainty bits
Make rich the ribs, but bankrupt quite the wits.
Love’s Labour’s Lost. Act I. Sc. 1. L. 26.

They are as sick that surfeit with too much, as they that starve with nothing.
Merchant of Venice. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 5.

A surfeit of the sweetest things
The deepest loathing to the stomach brings.
Midsummer Night’s Dream. Act II. Sc. 2. L. 137.

I wished your venison better; it was ill kill’d.
Merry Wives of Windsor. Act I. Sc. 1. L. 83.

Come, we have a hot venison pasty to dinner.
Merry Wives of Windsor. Act I. Sc. 1. L. 202.

I will make an end of my dinner; there’s pippins and cheese to come.
Merry Wives of Windsor. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 12.

Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour.
Richard II. Act I. Sc. 3. L. 237.

I fear it is too choleric a meat.
How say you to a fat tripe finely broil’d?
Taming of the Shrew. Act IV. Sc. 3. L. 19.

What say you to a piece of beef and mustard?
Taming of the Shrew. Act IV. Sc. 3. L. 23.

My cake is dough: but I’ll in among the rest,
Out of hope of all, but my share of the feast.
Taming of the Shrew. Act V. Sc. 1. L. 143.

I charge thee, invite them all; let in the tide
Of knaves once more: my cook and I’ll provide.
Timon of Athens. Act III. Sc. 4. L. 118.

Each man to his stool, with that spur as he would to the lip of his mistress; your diet shall be in all places alike. Make not a city feast of it, to let the meat cool ere we can agree upon the first place.
Timon of Athens. Act III. Sc. 6. L. 73.

You would eat chickens i’ the shell.
Troilus and Cressida. Act I. Sc. 2. L. 147.

Our feasts
In every mess have folly, and the feeders
Digest with it a custom, I should blush
To see you so attir’d.
Winter’s Tale. Act IV. Sc. 4. L. 10.

Though we eat little flesh and drink no wine,
Yet let’s be merry; we’ll have tea and toast;
Custards for supper, and an endless host
Of syllabubs and jellies and mince-pies,
And other such ladylike luxuries.
Shelley—Letter to Maria Gisborne.

Oh, herbaceous treat!
’Twould tempt the dying anchorite to eat;
Back to the world he’d turn his fleeting soul,
And plunge his fingers in the salad bowl;
Serenely full the epicure would say?
“Fate cannot harm me,—I have dined to-day.”
Sydney Smith—A Receipt for a Salad.

Bad men live that they may eat and drink, whereas good men eat and drink that they may live.
Attributed to Socrates by Plutarch—Morals. How a Young Man Ought to Hear Poems.

Lord, Madame, I have fed like a farmer; I shall grow as fat as a porpoise.
Swift—Polite Conversation. Dialogue II.

They say fingers were made before forks, and hands before knives.
Swift—Polite Conversation. Dialogue II.
Bread is the staff of life.
Swift—Tale of a Tub.

This dish of meat is too good for any but anglers, or very honest men.
Izaak Walton—Compleat Angler. Pt. I. Ch. VIII.