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Slap my ass and call me Sally!

We burst out laughing when we read that wonderful phrase in an email from our friend Rocky Rodenbach, of Tampa, Florida, the other day. Slap my ass and call me Sally!, he said, was a common expression in his neck of the woods.

Some British and Australian readers may have thought that the ass being slapped was a donkey, as they spell the slang word for butt (buttocks) as arse.

If the expression did in fact refer to a donkey, then it may well have been adapted from this English nursery rhyme or children's song:

Dancing Dolly had no sense,
She bought a fiddle for eighteen pence--
And the only tune that she could play
Was 'Sally get out of the donkey's way'

Slap my ass and call me Sally! reminded us of a similar phrase we heard used by Australian and US troops serving in New Guinea during World War II: Cut off my legs and call me Shorty! That was the name of a song Louis Armstrong recorded in 1940 which was often broadcast by the US Armed Forces radio stations.

Smack My Ass & Call Me Sally hot sauces are manufactured by Tijuana Hot Foods Inc., based not in Tijuana, Mexico, but in Florida, United States.

Calling them "our greatest hot sauce achievement," company president Brian Wheeler says:

Besides making the best tasting Tex-Mex in Orlando, FL, we like to play around with hot sauces.

Tijuana Flats Burrito Company's outrageously fresh food has been recognized throughout the nation for both food taste and quality. Customers test their tolerance at the Tijuana Flats Hot Bar® that consists of 12 rotating hot sauces shipped in from all over the world.

Our sauces have been featured in newspaper articles across the country and in national magazines ranging from Food & Wine to Popular Science. Our sauces were even featured on the national television shows The Today Show and Regis and Kathie Lee.

"Chet was a bad dude, the kinda guy that would steal the wooden leg from a handicapped person," says the Insane Chicken website, in Pembroke, Massachusetts, "so it was no surprise when someone slipped some of this homemade hot sauce into Chet's moonshine. After one sip, big Chet fell to his knees and with a tear in his eye shouted, 'Well Smack My Ass and Call Me Sally!'"

Suttons Bay Trading Company, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, sells a wide range of sauces, condiments and other items bearing creative titles such as:

  • Brandied Blackberry Butter
  • Pappy's Old Fashioned Sassafras Tea Concentrate
  • Amish Pantry Cinnamon Candy Apple Butter
  • Udder Cream.... Udderly Smooth Hand Cream
  • Fresh Ground Nuclear Hot Horseradish
  • Amish Pantry Sweet n Sassy Mustard
  • Slap my Ass and Call Me Sally Sauce.
  • Ass Kickin' Mustard
  • Ass Kickin Cookbook

We can't help feeling that many customers probably buy these products as much for the sake of the labels as for the contents. Either way, it's great marketing.

Few girls have attracted more attention from songwriters and poets than Sally.

During World War II, English songstress Gracie Fields sang:

Of all the girls that are so smart
There's none like pretty Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

There is no lady in the land
Is half so sweet as Sally;
She is the darling of my heart,
And she lives in our alley.

Checking it out, we were surprised to learn that Sally in Our Alley was born long before the 20th century. English composer and playwright Henry Carey (c. 1693­1743) wrote the original tune and words, and the song was first published in 1726.

About that time, we're told, Sally Lunn, a young French baker, sought refuge in England. "She began to bake a rich round and generous bread now known as the Sally Lunn bun," says the Sally Lunn's Co. in the English town of Bath.

Not everyone agrees with that version. Some historians believe that a French woman sold muffins on the streets of Bath, calling out Sol et Lune (French for sun and moon) to describe the round shape of the buns, which eventually was anglicised to 'Sally Lunn'.

Maybe that too was the origin of another silly Sally children's song::

Sally go round the moon,
Sally go round the sun.
Sally go round the chimneypots
On a Saturday afternoon.

Finally, Sally Ann is a slang term for the Salvation Army in both the UK and the US.

You can read an interesting description of Aunt Sally by clicking on English author Michael Quinion's World Wide Words website.



Story first posted February 2005

Copyright © 2005

Eric Shackle

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