The phrase ham n’ egger was first heard around 1918 as a term for an unskilled worker who earned so little money that he was barely able to buy the substantial ham and egg breakfast that any man who did physical work needed to get through the day.
The label goes back to America’s mining camps which would hold boxing matches on public holidays. The winner received money and the loser got a ham and egg meal. Many miners with poor boxing skills were willing to be beaten up just to eat – these were called ham n’ eggers.
Ham n'eggers then became slang for unskilled workers and many all-day breakfast diners also used the term, such as this one in 1946 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
This inventive and charming menu is crammed with funny images and jokes. The Hangover Chaser came with two aspirins at no extra charge, for example.
The artwork shows a just-married pig and hen driving off to their new life – the interior menu shows images from their ‘marriage” including a fight and a stroller full of their offspring.
The whimsy and inventiveness of the Ham 'n Eggery is everything we love about vintage menu art!
Courtesy Private Collection.
Each print is accompanied by a copy of the interior menu or cover.