I love, love, LOVE finding the story behind old sayings. Have you ever heard the phrase, "There's no such thing as a free lunch?" Maybe you were bragging that you got a free snack at work, or that your friend dropped you at the airport no strings attached. Either way, whoever was implying that you'd find yourself paying double for that "free" ride was oh-so wrong. There WAS a such thing as a free lunch... up to a point.

Back in the 19th century, saloons offered a free lunch to entice hungry souls into their businesses. The menu? Pickled eggs, deli meats, cheeses, and pretty much anything else that was salty enough to conjure up a hearty thirst. Most saloons had an honor system; you couldn't stop by for the eggs and skip out on ordering (and paying for) the whiskey.

Makes you think twice now before tucking into the bowl of mixed nuts at your local bar, right?

Easy Party Snack Mix
Credit: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Lisa Powell Bailey

Easy Party Snack Mix; aka, The "Free" LunchSo what stopped the free lunch? Believe it or not, prohibition. It may not have stopped drinking, but when it prompted businessmen to intentionally skulk into password-only back rooms in search of a post-work cocktail, the need for the allure of a pickled egg fell by the wayside.

So is there such a thing as a free lunch? Depends on your point of view. For me, the lunch was definitely free, and the cocktail was worth every penny.

What recipes do you want to learn about? Come back each Thursday as we revisit the classics in our recipe collection!

By Ashley Kappel and Ashley Kappel