Rice Pudding

April 9, 2007

During the 1890s, bartenders swabbing the bars while their patrons swilled down five-cent draughts of beer became adept at (cough cough) accidentally knocking down a few of the nickels the drinkers had lined up to keep the suds flowing. This supplemental income became known as “rice pudding.”

The term lingered into the twentieth century. During Frank Hague’s 30-year reign as mayor of Jersey City, boss of Hudson County and baron of New Jersey, municipal employees were expected to kick back three percent of their annual salaries to the political machine. The day they were supposed to pony up was called Rice Pudding Day.

Workmen preparing for the demolition of the old Sands Casino Hotel in Atlantic City have turned up over $17,000 worth of rice pudding. Unfortunately for them, Pinnacle Entertainment of Las Vegas gets to be the bartender.

Like they say, the house always gets its money.


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