Have You Heard Of A Slush Fund?

Have You Heard Of A Slush Fund?

Feb 07
Have You Heard Of A Slush Fund?

Outside, it’s sweltering. Temperatures have been in the mid-80s to low-90s for the past ten days. Even when the sun sets, there isn’t much relief. So wouldn’t your thoughts turn to a Slush, that irresistible blend of half-melted ice and fruit flavorings? Yum!

What is a Slush Fund, exactly? If a Slush is a fruit and ice drink, why has the term “Slush Fund” acquired a shady and criminal connotation? A Slush Fund, according to the dictionary, is a sum of money raised for unspecified objectives, most likely corrupt, such as bribery or graft. Clearly, the origins of these two products are distinct.

So we’re not talking about a tantalizing cold drink with half-frozen ice and fruit flavors for the purposes of this discussion.

Carrying groceries and preparing them was a difficult task in the age of sail, when enormous wooden ships traversed the world’s oceans and seas. A ship of the line’s main fare would have consisted of a nearly unbreakable bread known as “hard tack.” This one has little holes that made it simpler to remove the weevils by slamming the bread on the table. Dried peas that could be rehydrated and converted into mush were also available. Then there was the salted meat, which was almost certainly beef or pork. There would be a runoff of fat or grease during the boiling process, which was important to remove as much salt as possible, and this was known to as Slosh or Slush.

As revolting as this stuff sounded, and I have no doubt that it was, it had a market value because of its many uses as a lubricant or lamp oil. It became a prerogative of the British Navy’s sailors, and there were very few prerogatives available to the “tars,” as British sailors were known in slang, to collect the slush in empty casks and sell the casks of slush upon arrival in a port. The money was put into a “slush fund,” which was mostly used by the cook to purchase small indulgences like fresh meat, vegetables, and cheeses.

“The sailors in the navy are allowed salt meat,” William McNally wrote in his book Evils & Abuses in Naval & Merchant Service in 1839. When this food is cooked, practically all of the fat boils off; this is skimmed off and placed in empty beef or pork barrels, which are then sold, and the money received is known as the slush fund.” Mr. McNally, I believe, would not have approved.

It has acquired a negative connotation over time, perhaps because of Mr. McNally, or simply because of the disagreeable nature of the slush fund’s source. Pork Barrel, which is often used to refer to government sponsored projects of doubtful national importance that members of Congress utilize to reward loyal supporters and constituencies, is most likely developed in the same way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *