It was Friday evening at V.F.W. Post 4591 in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., and the scene was a vegetarian’s nightmare.Starting with Eve, women have been blamed for just about everything.
About 350 men, seated shoulder to shoulder at long tables, were devouring slices of beef tenderloin and washing them down with pitchers of beer. As waiters brought trays of meat, the guests reached over and harvested the pink slices with their bare hands, popping them down the hatch.
. . . Each slice was perched on a round of Italian bread, but most of the men ate only the meat and stacked the bread slices in front of them, tallying their gluttony like poker players amassing chips. Laughter and uproarious conversation were in abundance; subtlety was not.
As anyone in northern New Jersey could tell you, this was a beefsteak. The term refers not to a cut of meat but to a raucous all-you-can-eat-and-drink banquet with a rich history in Bergen and Passaic Counties.
The events, which typically attract crowds of 150 or more, with a ticket price of about $40, are popular as political meet-and-greets, annual dinners for businesses and civic groups, and charity fundraisers. Caterers said they put on about 1,000 of them in the region last year.
. . . the beefsteak came into being in the mid-1800s, became popular as a political fund-raiser and vote-buyer, and began a slow decline when women started taking part after being granted suffrage in 1920.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
The Other Kind of Beefsteak
This is one kind. But it's not the kind of "beefsteak" that the NY Times wrote about in Wednesday's Food section: