HERE'S THE HISTORY…​from  1939

 

ALL YOU CAN HOLD FOR FIVE BUCKS

-Written by Joseph Mitchell, Originally printed in the New Yorker Magazine, 1939

The  New York State steak dinner, or "beefsteak", is a form of gluttony as  stylized and regional as the riverbank fish fry, the hot-rock clambake,  or the Texas barbecue.  Some old chefs believe it had its origin sixty  or seventy years ago, when butchers from the slaughter houses on the  East River would sneak choice loin cuts into the kitchen of nearby  saloons, grill them over charcoal, and feast on them during their  Saturday night sprees.  In any case, the institution was essentially masculine until 1920, when it was be debased by  the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the  United States.  The Eighteenth Amendment brought about mixed drinking, a  year and a half after it went into effect, the salutation "We Greet Our  Better Halves" began to appear on the  souvenir menus of beefsteaks  thrown by bowling, fishing and chowder clubs and lodges and labor  unions.  The big, exuberant beefsteaks thrown by Tammany and Republican  district clubs always had been strictly stag,  but not long after the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the suffrage,  politicians decided it would be nice to invite females over voting age  to clubhouse beefsteaks.  "Womenfolks didn't know what a beefsteak was  until they got the right to vote."  An old chef once said.

​It didn't'  take women long to corrupt the beefsteak.  They forced the addition of  such things as Manhattan cocktails, fruit cups, and fancy salads to the  traditional menu of slices of ripened steaks, double lamb chops,  kidneys, and beer by the pitcher.  They insisted on dance orchestras  instead of brassy German bands. The life of the party at a beefsteak  used to be the man who let out the most exotic grunts, drank the most  beer, ate the the most steak, and got the most grease on his ears, but  women do not esteem a glutton, and at a contemporary beefsteak it is  unusual for a man to do away with more than six pounds of meat and  thirty glasses of beer.  Until around 1920, beefsteak etiquette was  rigid.  Knives, forks, napkins, and tablecloths never had been permitted; a man was supposed to eat with his hands.  When beefsteaks became bisexual, the etiquette changed.  For generations men had worn their second-best suits because of the inevitability of grease spots;  tuxedos and women appeared simultaneously.  Most beefsteaks degenerated  into polite banquets at which open-face sandwiches of grilled steak  happened to be the principal dish.  However, despite the frills  introduced by women, two schools of traditional steak-dinner devotees  still flourish.  they may conveniently be called the East Side and West  Side schools.  They disagree over matters of menu and etiquette, and  both claim that their beefsteaks are  the more classical or old-fashioned…. 


https://medium.com/@Beefsteak/all-you-can-hold-for-five-bucks-dc945bba60d