The Stamp and Coin Place Blog: connecting the past and present of stamp and coin collecting, and looking to the future.

If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get Out of the Kitchen

Vintage advertising postcard showing a woman in the kitchen, advertising Quick Meal.

Vintage advertising postcard.

You’ve heard the phrase before – “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!” But did you know that we have a former U.S. President to thank for it?

The more obvious source of the phrase says that a kitchen with a hot stove and a hot oven will overheat. Only those prepared to withstand the heat will keep working in the kitchen.

Harry S. Truman used the phrase even before he became president.

Truman took that reasoning to heart and used the saying quite often. When he was a senator he found his favorite saying being written into a newspaper article:

“Favorite rejoinder of Harry S. Truman when a member of his war contracts investigating committee objects to his strenuous pace: ‘If you don’t like the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

President Truman on opening day of baseball season.

President Truman on opening day of baseball season.

His achievement of the position of president, of course, significantly increased awareness of the phrase. (Some suggest that it was actually Truman’s military adviser General Harry Vaughn who created it.)

Truman is also said to have created the phrase “pass the buck”.

It’s not surprising that Truman, known for his frank way of talking, spread this popular phrase to the public.

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