Clarence Darrow? George Sand? Charles Paul de Kock? Henry Monnier? Eddie Drake? Heywood Broun? Irvin S. Cobb? Steven Pinker? Anonymous?
Disliked Food: Spinach? Carp Head? Eels? Oysters? Lobster? Lettuce? Green Peas? Beets?
Dear Quote Investigator: The famous defense lawyer Clarence Darrow apparently had a very low opinion of the vegetable favored by the cartoon character Popeye. Darrow has been credited with the following comical tantrum:
I don’t like spinach, and I’m glad I don’t, because if I liked it I’d eat it, and I just hate it.
Would you please explore the history of this logically twisted humor?
Quote Investigator: During 1834 and 1835 the prominent French author George Sand wrote her thoughts down in a private journal while she conducted a tempestuous love affair with the poet Alfred de Musset. Many years later in 1904 the periodical “La Renaissance Latine” published material from the journal including the following statement about épinards (spinach). Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1
. . . je serais bien fâchée d’aimer les épinards, car si je les aimais, j’en mangerais, et je ne les peux souffrir.
In 1929 an English translation appeared under the title “The Intimate Journal of George Sand”. The text showed clearly that the remark about spinach was already in circulation circa 1835, and Sand disclaimed credit: 2
Here is some logic I heard the other day. I’m glad I don’t care for spinach, for if I liked it I should eat it, and I cannot bear spinach.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.
- 1904 July to September, La Renaissance Latine, Volume 3, Encore George Sand et Musset, Start Page 5, Quote Page 18, Paris, France. (Google Books Full View) link ↩
- 1976 (Copyright 1929), The Intimate Journal of George Sand by George Sand, Translation and Notes by Marie Jenney Howe, Section: Journal of George Sand to Alfred de Musset, Quote Page 34, (Reprint of 1929 edition from Williams & Norgate, London), Haskell House Publishers, New York. (Verified with hard copy) ↩