Side: A steam engine with a side of quiche

  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    It's being compared to the Tesla articulated lorry (truck).
    The idea seems to be that this electric truck handles so lightly and responsively that it's even better than a sports car, making the latter feel heavy and sluggish (like a steam train) by comparison.

    The full quote is: Driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.

    "A side of" suggests a side serving (an accompaniment to a meal), but quiche doesn't make any direct sense in this context. I suspect it's a reference to a comparison between "real men" and "quiche eaters".
    Real Men Don't Eat Quiche - Wikipedia

    For someone who is touting a futuristic vision, this seems "so last-century".


    Senior Member
    English - United States
    But do fake, or girly men drive steam trains?

    Quiche is very rich and I tend to feel heavy and sluggish after eating it. Perhaps the way the handling of a gasoline sports car would feel in comparison to the Tesla sports car.


    New Member
    English, pan-Canadian
    I agree with rich, heavy, and sluggish. While the sexist undertone to the use of the word is perceived, it is not intended, because Real Men Don't wasn't an affirmation of, but rather a response to sexism.

    What I immediately got from the statement was "cold egg pie flavoured with coal smoke" (disgustingly distasteful) and steam says: profoundly less efficient, more awkward, and dangerous. Seems like a fair analogy.


    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    While the sexist undertone to the use of the word is perceived, it is not intended
    Well, it's not a question of sexism in the true sense of the word (discrimination against women), but rather it discriminates against "non-real" (i.e. girly or gay) men.
    To mention quiche in this clearly derogatory way seems to be a phenomenally misguided faux pas for Musk to have made, given media reports that the Tesla company stands accused of being anti-gay.


    New Member
    English - Canada
    Given its context, one cannot reasonably argue this is a homophobic slur. One might argue the point if it were included with a list of other things not traditionally considered within the domain of "manly" pursuits, but it was not. Given the context, the "side of quiche" quip was likely thrown in to highlight the quaint, old-fashioned nature of steam travel in addition to its obsolescence.


    Senior Member
    English but my first language was German
    I've been trying to figure this out ever since eno2 asked.

    I think Musk is acknowledging that a gasoline sports car will still be something fancy (like quiche) after his electric one debuts, just with outdated technology. Quiche is not a food of the people in the US -- it is an aspirational food.

    So: a steam engine with pretensions to elegance.
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    New Member

    Frustratingly, I don't understand his hyperbole.

    Pitching and bragging of course, but what does it exactly mean?
    It didn't translate well to UK/English either, but I assumed it links back to a term I heard in the 1980's where a lot of things were compared to eating quiche (see Real Men Don't Eat Quiche - Wikipedia). I remember at college the computer geeks had a whole things about "real programmers don't eat quiche". I didn't understand why eating quiche was a bad thing back then, but guessing with Elon Musk's links back to South Africa, may be the UK-influence brought that term to SA too?
    Either way, over all it clearly is an expression of his prediction that driving traditional sports car (combustion engined) are going to look silly/pointless compared to the electric vehicle that are coming when they are demonstrably better in every sense (speed, comfort, acceleration, top-speed, range, purchase price, service costs and fuel costs) - esp Tesla who are fully committed unlike all the other traditional car manufaturers (who are dragging their feet either because they can't make money on EV or can't make EV's due to having no access to sufficient batteries.


    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I didn't understand why eating quiche was a bad thing
    The only thing "wrong" with eating quiche was that it was considered girly, as in "not macho", and therefore not suitable for "real" men (who would presumably eat steak instead). Once the paradigm was transferred to programmers, quiche-eating needed to be replaced by something more appropriate to programming, specifically the choice of programming language. It never made sense to say "real programmers don't eat quiche". As the Wikipedia article explains, the usual phrase was "real programmers don't use Pascal", or "real programmers use Fortran".

    Of course, quiche is much healthier for you than steak, and similarly there were at the time already a lot of much better programming languages around than Fortran, but Fortran had been around for so long that many programmers were so fond of it that they closed their minds to anything else, and macho programming involved pushing Fortran to tackle tasks beyond what it had been designed for. Pascal wasn't exactly the bees' knees, it has to be said, but it just happened to be used a lot in teaching, and became an easy target for (not entirely undeserved) derision.
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