Why do we say "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen"?

Well-Known Expressions

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen

Meaning:

If the pressure is too great for you, leave it to others who can cope

Background:

Harry S. Truman is on record as using the expression in 1942 as reported by The Soda Springs Sun, Idaho:

"Favorite rejoinder of Senator 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'."

But sources, including Truman, attribute the expression to others:

Some say that Truman attributed it to his friend General Harry H. Vaughan. Others cite a 1931 issue of The Examiner (Independence, Missouri) quoting Eugene I. "Buck" Purcell: "But if a man can't stand the heat he should, he ought to stay out of the kitchen."

The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs (Yale Press) notes that Truman acknowledged having heard the expression from an old friend and colleague on the Jackson County Court. If that is the case, he would referring to be Purcell, a county judge.

Alphabetical list of expressions

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