heart attack on a plate n. earlier than 1985

‘Bryn’ has provided verifiable evidence from 1984.

A particularly unhealthy meal (especially one which is high in saturated fat) is sometimes called, with gallows humour, a heart attack on a plate. The earliest evidence for the phrase found by the OED’s researchers dates from the mid-1980s and refers specifically to the “Ulster fry”, a traditional Irish breakfast featuring fried eggs, sausages, and bacon:

The fry—potato bread, soda bread, sausages, eggs, bacon and tomatoes—is known in Northern Ireland by the diet conscious as ‘the heart attack on a plate’.

1985 Guardian 1 Nov., p. 15

Did the phrase heart attack on a plate originate in Northern Ireland? We are seeking earlier evidence, from there or elsewhere.

Posted by OED_Editor on 26 June 2013 8.15
Comments: 2

  • hugo_oed

    I didn’t find anything earlier, but the earliest I found is a 1987 also referring to the “Ulster fry”.

    Army assaults fatty courses, Times, The (London, England) – Wednesday, January 21, 1987 – Author: RICHARD FORD

    The traditional Ulster fry, jokingly known as heart-attack-on-a-plate because of its high fat content, is frowned upon by the catering corps who are endeavouring to reduce salt, fat and sugar intake among the 10,000 serving soldiers in the province.

  • Bryn_OED

    Sunday Times 20th May 1984 [p.66] has:
    “A Life in the Day of Michael Caine – Don’t ask how’s the wife”

    “I Don’t know anyone here who bothers with breakfast. I do it in England – all that heart attack on a plate. Sausage, Bacon, Eggs ….”