Pot Luck

Sliders, Rollers and Monkey Dicks

The trendy little hamburgers called “sliders” are the subject of this week’s review in Café. While I was researching the story, I had trouble pinning down the exact etymology of the word “slider.”

Since then I have learned that “sliders” most likely comes from the galley slang of the U.S. Navy, where breakfast sausage links are “monkey dicks,” ring baloney is “horse cock,” and regular baloney is “tube steak.” In the lingo of sea-going slop, hot dogs are “rollers” and hamburgers are “sliders” (because they slide in their grease). A cheeseburger is a “slider with a lid.”

This information came to me courtesy of Barry Popick, probably the foremost authority on the history and etymology of American culinary terms. Popick is a contributor-consultant to the Oxford English Dictionary, Dictionary of American Regional English, Historical Dictionary of American Slang and the Yale Dictionary of Quotations. He recently moved from New York to Austin, where he works as a lawyer and writer.

Should you be interested, you will find citations and more details about the origin of the word “slider” and lots of other culinary terms on Popick’s Web site. -- Robb Walsh

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