Tag Archives: still life with woodpecker

“Don’t Yuck My Yum” – A Pointless Etymolygy Search

4 May


So, I’ve been hearing this phrase here and there quite a bit lately. The message itself is pretty simple: If what I enjoy isn’t hurting anyone, don’t try to make me feel bad over it.

Thing is, I’d always assumed it was a direct quote from Still Life With Woodpecker, by Tom Robbins. Searching through with Google books, however, I don’t see an occurrence of that phrase as it is currently used. The closest I can find is this (frequently quoted) line:

“There are only two mantras, yum and yuck, mine is yum.”

During the course of the book, there are about a dozen or so riffs on the subject of “yums” and “yucks”, but never that specific phrase. So I decided to waste some time on Google to see if I could find some sort of internet etymological source.

So far, there’s a definition on Urban Dictionary from 2008 focusing specifically on food (9 out of 10 results are pulling up cooking blogs), a Yahoo! Answers from last year that says it started in queer circles (which is where I’ve primarily been hearing it), a Daily Kos article from 2008 that I’m not even gonna link to because it is dumb, more cooking blogs, more queer cooking blogs, the image macro I’m using as an article header, a Livejournal blog from 2004 about relationships going sour (AKA, a Livejournal article) that just uses it as a title but seems to be the first appearance of the phrase I can find, and this surprisingly deep video:

So, readers. Any insight on the origin of the phrase? Anything to say one way or the other on the subject of yucks and yums?