Rubber-Chicken Dinner

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Meaning of Idiom 'Rubber Chicken Dinner'

Also: Rubber-chicken circuit

Rubber-chicken dinner is a term used to describe the kind of unappetizing mass-produced food typically served at banquets. It is specifically associated with the kind of formal banquet dinners given by politicians for fund-raising but also describes the kind of dinners that public figures, CEO's, and academic administrators must attend.

The rubber-chicken circuit is a series of rubber-chicken dinners that political candidates must attend. 1

Examples of Use

"If I have to attend one more rubber-chicken dinner I think I'll get out of politics."

"The boss is giving some rubber-chicken dinner for a bunch of deep-pockets. He said I don't have to go but of course, I have to go."

Origin

This idiom and its related term date at least to the 1940's. Rubber chicken alludes to the overcooked "rubbery" meat served at such banquets but also to the rubber-chicken novelty gag. 1

Source
1. Mariani, John F. The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink. Bloomsbury, 2014.

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