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Blue-plate special

Posted by Masakim on October 01, 2001

In Reply to: Blue-plate special posted by R. Berg on September 30, 2001

: : What exactly is a "Blue Plate Special?"
: : thanks for any input
: : Linda

: Originally the featured meal of the day, offered at a bargain price, in inexpensive restaurants such as diners. My sources don't say when blue-plate specials were popular; I'd guess early 20th century.
: Definition of "blue plate" in Webster's Unabridged, 1934: "A plate with a blue design; esp., one divided into compartments, for serving several kinds of food, as meat and vegetables, as a single order."

Damon Runyon's "Blue Plate Special" was published in 1934.

From Anthology of Thirties Prose at ~MA01/White/anthology/preface.html

A Blue Plate Special is a low-priced daily diner special: a main course with all the fixins [sic], a daily combo, a square for two bits.
It seems a fitting title for this collection of Thirties' prose: It's got some crime fiction, some real event reportage, strikes and riots and some humorous Guys and Dolls. Like a good square meal, it has a little bit from every group. Put them all together and you have a wholesome, and hopefully fulfilling, taste of the Decade.
The original blue plates, from which the Blue Plate Special gets it name, were manufactured during the Depression and had separate sections for each part of the meal. Similarly, this Blue Plate Special is divided into categories or topics, each with a different flavor. Ultimately the decision to select topics is arbitrary, and yet each seemed to spring rather naturally from the works. The categories say something about the decade, speaking generally to its main concerns and even methods of writing. For now, the categories are Proletarian Writing, The Camera Eye, City Scapes, Rural Scenes, Hoboes and Tramps, and The Media Mirror.

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