like white on rice
Posted: 22 August 2018 04:37 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The term “like white on rice” is not one I hear often. Rachel Maddow used it yesterday. In a quick search the earliest date I could find is 1951: https://idiomation.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/like-white-on-rice/

Is there anything earlier, plus is there some good history about it?

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Posted: 22 August 2018 06:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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From Green’s Dictionary of Slang:

like white on rice (also like gravy on rice) [rice is white itself]
(US black/P.R.) very closely.

1935 [US] Z.N. Hurston Mules and Men (1995) 145: She better not vary, do Ah’ll be all over her jus’ lak gravy over rice.
1938 [US] ‘Sl. among Nebraska Negroes’ in AS XIII:4 Dec. 317/2: Last may be noted some picturesque similes: [...] stick like white on rice.
1944 [US] C. Himes ‘A Penny for Your Thoughts’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 58: They were on him like white on rice.

The Hurston quotation is the only citation for gravy over rice. I wouldn’t include it here; the metaphor is entirely different.

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