Whence the name Free Tri-Tip Dinner?
The name has multiple origins.
1. As a newcomer to Calaveras County in 1992 I had never heard of Tri-Tip, and since my business was politics I soon became aware that it was the go-to entrée’ menu item for any self-respecting candidate running for local public office. And believe it or not, in those days local politicians would have fund-raising events where the food was, in fact, free – no cover charge like these days. Back then, however, you were expected to put some serious cash in a coffee can AND write the candidate’s campaign a check. Note: coffee cans full of cash are now illegal.
2. I hail from westside Santa Cruz; and I am of sufficient age to remember the place when it was a sleepy little Italian-dominated fishing village. Then the University moved in and an irreverent alternative press sprang up that included a publication called Free Spaghetti Dinner. I’m sure I must have read it sometime, but I remember nothing about it but the name, which I thought clever.
3. Finally, it is both an homage and a cheeky rebuttal to the El Paso Herald-Post of June 27, 1938 who coined the famous phrase “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” calling it “Economics in eight words.”