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Southern Stories
What Comes Around: The Origin of the Lazy Susan
Aug 26/16

What Comes Around: The Origin of the Lazy Susan Posted by: Aaron Stearns | 0 Comments


I’ve always been fascinated with names, both for people and pets, and also for things. Who came up with that name, and why? Does it have a history, or was it just something arbitrarily assigned? Is there a deeper meaning than what is on the surface? And so, when my grandmother used a Lazy Susan at Sunday dinner from the time I could remember, the thing that fascinated me more than the fact that it would spin was how, and why, Susan was lazy.

Turns out it’s more a mystery than anything. Lazy Susans appear to be descendants of Dumb Waiters (another name for another day), which originated as rotating discs on tables before they became food elevators in old, creepy houses. Because the Dumb Waiter moved off the table, a new name was needed for the turntable left to, well, turn on the table. Was it because she was too lazy to get up and move? Perhaps, but why Susan? Why not Betty, or George, or Fido? I guess we’ll never know.

One thing’s for sure: Lazy Susans have survived all these years because we just can’t resist rotating our food around to serve ourselves more. And lazy or not, we love seconds.


By Paula Martin
Paula Martin was born and raised in Arkansas and received her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of New Orleans. She is a writer, teacher, mom, barefoot trail runner, martial artist, and free-thinker always packed and ready for the next adventure. 



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