October 26, 2017

"Join us for the Sunday meat raffle."

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The Baldwin Street Grille, photographed yesterday. I've never gone in the place, but according to one reviewer at Yelp:
I've driven past this place so many times, disappointed I just now figured out what I was missing. The meat raffle was incredibly entertaining with solid choices. Really wish we could've stayed till the end but it was a little long....
What's a "meat raffle"?!

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Actually, Wikipedia has an article on the subject:
A meat raffle is a tradition of raffling off meat, often in pubs and bars, common in Britain, Australia, in the USA, and in Western Canada....
And here's a 2006 NYT article, "The Meat Raffle" by Elizabeth Gilbert (the author of "Eat, Pray, Love"):
My cousins and aunts... drank me under the table.... And so I wasn't at all certain I was hearing things correctly when a man in a plaid flannel shirt approached us and asked, "Would you ladies care to participate in my meat raffle?"

The ladies reached for their purses again -- not for guns, as I would have imagined, given the man's question -- but for wallets. They were each peeling one cool dollar bill off their private stashes as I stammered: "Wait! His what? His what raffle?"

"It's just a meat raffle, Liz," Aunt Luana explained. "We always have meat raffles around here."

"But what do you win?"

"Meat."

The bartender reached into a freezer and produced for my benefit the evidence: several giant packages of, indeed, meat. Frozen meat. A stunning pack of pork chops and a handsome four-pound chuck roast. These were the prizes of the night -- beautiful meat to be sweepstaked off to some lucky drunk! Saloon meat! Chance meat! Destiny's meat!

You know you're an outsider when something that seems perfectly normal to everyone else is impenetrably bizarre to you. I was dizzied with a thousand questions. (Where does this meat come from? Why is the meat-raffle game board imprinted with an official stamp of the Minnesota State Gambling Control Board? Is that an official Minnesota State Gambling Control Board chuck roast? Is it unsanitary to consume pork that you found in a bar?) But there was no time for questions because, lo, the meat raffle was quick approaching, and there were only a few tickets left. I announced, "Mr. Meat Raffle Man, I shall buy all your remaining tickets!"

"You really want to win." He gazed at me with masculine compassion.

I gazed back with feminine yearning: "I really want that chuck roast."

59 comments:

tcrosse said...

Meat Raffles are common in Minnesota. I miss them.

David said...

At the Wisconsin county fairs, they auction entire live cows and pigs. There is usually a raffle too but the auction is the cool part. These are prize winning animals raised by 4H and FFA farm kids. The kids are unbelievably squared away. Also practical realists. They very proudly exchange their well tended animals for cash, knowing the inevitable slaughter that awaits.

Kristian Holvoet said...

Meat Bingo happens here in Eastern Pennsylvania.

anti-de Sitter space said...

My opinion, based on nothing but ignorant stereotyping (like most (all?) of my opinions), is that the author of a book about gal stuff with that title would write a piece such as the one excerpted by Althouse.

Virgil Hilts said...

I think its weird when restaurant signs include animated/happy depictions of the animals you are going to eat. Growing up, the oldest/most famous chicken restaurant in my city had a huge smiling Rooster's head as its sign. "Come on in... I really want you to eat me!"

Fabi said...

No Laslo tag?

Ambrose said...

"The ladies reached for their purses again -- not for guns, as I would have imagined,..."

NYT just can't get over its bias re anyone who lives west of the Hudson River.

tcrosse said...

In Minnesota you can grab 'em by their purses.

Etienne said...

My google map tour today was Malta, and I found a hideaway on Gozo Island!

I've never been to Malta, it looks a wee bit warm.

tcrosse said...

Here is the local take, without the New York attitude:
Inside Minnesota Meat Raffles

wild chicken said...

We had booze basket raffles in MT. Small, medium and large baskets o booze.

That was back when we had fun.

Ralph L said...

Virgil, our local BBQ joint has a "pig-up" window. The sign has a smiling pig pointing the way.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Etienne,

Is that the Azure Window? If so that collapsed last winter during a storm. I'm looking to retire to Xlendi Bay in Gozo. Wonderful island. It is hot and dry in summer but there is a constant wind. It has the cold Med water but some nice diving.

Malta has unbelievable history from prehistoric, Middle Ages, WWII and upto today with the refugee problem.

David Begley said...

Common at church fairs in Nebraska.

Althouse and Meade should definitely go. Great fun. Good odds.

Etienne said...

Bill, Republic of Texas said...Is that the Azure Window?

No, this place is on the other side of the Island (SE) in Qala.

Original Mike said...

Meat raffles are big in Australia.

Darrell said...

No matter how well off you are, you still should be able to conceive that there are people less affluent than you. Meat is expensive and you can imagine that a chance to win a dinner for you--and your loved ones--would be exciting for those people. The snark makes you look stupid and inhuman. No wonder you work for the NYT.

Etienne said...
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Jimmy said...

We have "turkey shoots" that are pretty close to raffles for meat, difference being that winners are those lucky enough to hit challenging targets on a gun range.

I say lucky because while a skilled sharpshooter could likely walk away with the prizes, I have never seen other than your average duffers as competitors.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Nothing wrong with an all-American meat raffle or contest per se - see Bingham's Raffling for the Goose or Shooting for the Beef - though the choices are a trifle disappointing

(Chuck roast is a prize? Really? Compared to offal perhaps. And frozen! [snif] No, I do respect nose-to-tail and butcher's cuts, and I do realize that meat itself is an aspiration for some budgets...but a prize should have glamour. Remember that like real lotteries, the sponsor is making a big profit, so the bet is never a soundly reliable way to provide for one's dinner.)

and the piece reads falsely. PBJ seems tautological tonight-been drinking moonshine again?-but I really can't fault him. Was warned against this Eat Pray Love book; warning authenticated.

walter said...

I don't think a joint on Baldwin St. is going to give you a proper introduction to the meat raffle.
Get out of town..preferably to a 2 bars and one church sized town.
If that woman likes a good Chuck roast, she should come to this blog.
Meat is murder..and quite tasty.

Ann Althouse said...

If you don’t want to go all the way to Malta, visit the sea caves of Apostle Islands National Shoreline.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Jimmy said...

I say lucky because while a skilled sharpshooter could likely walk away with the prizes, I have never seen other than your average duffers as competitors.

Real, old fashioned, Southern turkey shoots use shotguns. That way it evens the odds between the marksmen and duffers.

Anonymous said...

Prof:

With all the Weinstein, Weiseltier, Halperin, and not to forget the Clintons, Trump, etc., do you not agree that it is increasingly like that next POTUS is Liz Warren.

The challenge for Dems will be to identify a male VP who has never taken advantage of women or minorities.

Alternatively, if more scandals arise, then people will not focus on Trump tape and he may run for 2020. Now, as of today, he will not run.

FYI -- The flood gates lead to one inescapable conclusion: Next pulitzer goes to Kantor and Toehey from NYT!

Cheers!

Etienne said...

Ann Althouse said...If you don’t want to go all the way to Malta, visit the sea caves of Apostle Islands National Shoreline.

The Google shot is kind of suspicious, as the satellite view shows on open-pit mine in the area, ha.

We want to go to Avignon for Christmas, so that is about all the travel I need for a few years. Apostle Islands sounds much better.

Interestingly, there is the TGV high speed rail from Frankfurt to Avignon direct (8 hours). We can get a direct Dallas to Frankfurt flight also. I have to check that it all still goes in the dead of winter. I know Patton and my parents had a big problem with the snow back in 45 :-)

Molly said...

It is an interesting economics question why (if one has a large amount of meat to sell) you think you can make more money by a raffle than by simply selling the meat pieces, piece by piece. Yet I do believe it is true, and there is an element of "charity" -- let's contribute to the bar owner because (half drunk as we are) we love this place. I invite you to compare to existence of 50-50 raffles where the prize is half of the ticket sales -- obviously these are bad gambles, but people buy the 50-50 tickets to support the group operating the raffle.

anti-de Sitter space said...

A few years ago we took a looked at a kayak trip re the Apostle Islands.

In the end went another direction. I think it was a logistic issue, e.g. flying in.
Presumably we should look at it again.



tim in vermont said...

Where does this meat come from?

LOL, only the New York Times could ask a question like that.

D said...

Malta as a hideaway??? Might as well be a recluse muttering to yourself under a big rooster sign in a midwest American city. People are everywhere in the Med! Never a moments peace.

South Pacific is where everyone looks. I say St Helena. The far side, away from the tomb.

Or, if thats too crowded, theres a few colder islands to the south. Theres an uninhabited one called Inaccessible. A small problem re finding drinking water and high cliffs, and UN labels of preservation and likely teams of science guys saying go away mad hermit, but if you like (a) solitude and (b) eating bird...........

tpceltus said...

Spitalsfieldlife.com has a good, cheery article on a similar tradition (use site search function):

"The eager carnivores of London converge upon the ancient Smithfield Market every year for the annual Christmas Eve meat auction at 11am staged by Harts the Butcher."

Rob McLean said...

I'm ashamed to admit that, well into adulthood, I thought 12am was noon and 12pm was midnight. (That's why people call them "noon" and "midnight", to keep them straight.)

Khesanh 0802 said...

As tCrosse says when you drive through small town north/central Mn this time of year it seems almost every bar/restaurant offers a regular meat raffle. I have never been to one but it must be a good deal.

Michael K said...

"Come on in... I really want you to eat me!"

Was it a hen or a cock.

Sorry

Meat is expensive and you can imagine that a chance to win a dinner for you--and your loved ones--would be exciting for those people.

If you drive through Alaska, you will see "Game Management Area" signs. What they mean is that, you if are a resident of that area, and they are mostly in rural areas, you are allowed to put yourself on the "Roadkill List"

What that means is,if a car or truck hits a moose, the list members get called in order. Each has 30 minutes to come and get the moose. If you don't respond, the next guy on the list gets called. If you get called and come and get the moose, you go to the bottom of the list and work your way up again.

A family can live a year on a moose. There are many such families living out in the bush.

bagoh20 said...

Vegetarianism is like homosexuality. I understand it, but damn! Meat is what I was made to eat.

WE HAVE THE MEATS!

anti-de Sitter space said...

"Was it a hen or a cock."

The equiv difference re real meat is usually important re legal hunts. But:

"you are allowed to put yourself on the "Roadkill List""

Means that gals are for dinner.

RonF said...

America's Politico, I would love to see the Dems put up an elderly extreme leftist Harvard professor. Trump would beat her like a drum.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

It's easy to forget how poor everyone used to be. We eat like kings--better than kings--but a nice cut of meat was probably a nice prize not too long ago.

My mom won a wheelbarrow full of liquor earlier in the year at the American Legion. I am still working my way through the share she gave me!

southcentralpa said...

All I can say is, "You really are a city gal, aren't you?"

(What next? You get lost one day, pass a fire hall out in the country, and we're treated to "What's Bingo?" (featuring a New Yorker and/or Atlantic article on "Hey, there's this wacky red-state thing called 'bingo'. We were amused...", a NYT piece on how it's related to white privilege, and then whatever from the OED entry for "bingo" tickles your fancy (bonus references to the movie "Bingo" (set in part in Wisconsin)optional)...?)

tcrosse said...

Incidentally, my Deplorable Immigrant Grandmother could turn a frozen chuck roast into the tastiest meal you could imagine. Of course, she could also do it with an old boot.

Laurent Canup said...

I miss the meat raffles at Weichs Tavern in Mundelein IL. Cheap beer, great times and a chance to win a 10lb slab of bacon.

Bob Boyd said...

Raffle schmaffle. Try meat wrestling.

How bad do you want it?

n.n said...
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n.n said...

Mmm. Who... or perhaps what is on the casting couch tonight?

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

"The challenge for Dems will be to identify a male VP who has never taken advantage of women or minorities."

Statements like this lead me to believe that America's Politico is a satirist of a conservative bent.

William Chadwick said...

"I've got your meat raffle, right here."--Harvey Weinstein

Chubfuddler said...

Ever since I've lived here (mid-1980s), our Massachusetts town's VFW has held "meat shoots," although the meat to be awarded has never been specified in their notices. Natick VFW Last Summer Meat Shoot

Bad Lieutenant said...

The equiv difference re real meat is usually important re legal hunts. But:

Jelly, I like you today. You have again understood something correctly, to wit, that poultry, however welcome, is not really meat.

What we city boys don't have is ready access to venison. If I haven't missed the Arbys deerwich, I am so there!

anti-de Sitter space said...

"If I haven't missed the Arbys deerwich, I am so there!"

I doubt it's real. Their so-called roast beef is nasty fake meat.

Anywho, I shot one of the real things last week. I only planned on hunting for the fun of walking in the forest and pretending I'm a savage, but I saw the damn thing extremely early (barely out of the truck). Anywho, he's frozen.

chickelit said...

All the crazy type font in the photo reminded me of the chaos described in the short film "Helvetica" and how the Swiss inventors of that font just wanted to restore some order.

And thank you, Freeman Hunt, for recommending that film so many years ago.

Yancey Ward said...

Sounds gay.

Ken B said...

A meat raffle is for hicks. Sophisticates prefer the twat raffle. http://people.com/celebrity/george-and-amal-clooney-co-hosting-dinner-with-hillary-clinton/

Ann Althouse said...

Who says "I shall buy..." — "shall" — in a bar that has meat raffles?

Ralph L said...

Someone who admits to gazing with feminine yearning.

Ralph L said...

Globetrekker went to a restaurant out West where, if you could eat an enormous slab of beef in one hour, you'd get it for free. The idiot trekker Zay tried it and failed.

rastajenk said...

Fifteen years ago, when bean-bag toss games were re-invented and re-popularized with a different name in my part of the country, an old friend from college visited for a few days. As we drove around the area, he was puzzled by so many houses with signs out front advertising that they sold Cornhole Supplies. I had to admit it was some unusual marketing.

Ann Althouse said...

"Someone who admits to gazing with feminine yearning."

The language is all in the article, which is written for the women who read the NYT (and books by Elizabeth Gilbert).

I don't believe she said "shall" in real life. I don't think I have ever been around anyone who uses the word "shall" in their natural speech. I don't think I would ever use the word unless I was singing "We Shall Overcome" or "Shall We Gather at the River."

Ralph L said...

It does make her sound like Margaret Dumont (Marx Bros) or an 18th cent grande dame.

southcentralpa said...

Professor,

Seriously, never even a "I shall return" ... ? I find that hard to believe.

Rick Turley said...

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

"Real, old fashioned, Southern turkey shoots use shotguns. That way it evens the odds between the marksmen and duffers."

Got one near me in Leiper's Fork, TN next weekend I think. $3 a shot and they'll loan you the shotgun if you don't bring your own. Line up with 9 other shooters and pull the trigger to win. All ages welcome. Net proceeds go to local charity to provide Thanksgiving meals to the less fortunate.