E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Meal or Malt (In).
In meal or in malt. Directly or indirectly; some sort of subsidy. If much money passes through the hand, some profit will be sure to accrue either in meal or in malt.
When other interests in the country (as the cotton trade, the iron trade, and the coal trade) had been depressed, the Government had not been called upon for assistance in meal and malt.Sir William Harcourt: On Agricultural Depression, 13th April, 1894.
He must pay either in meal or malt. In one way_or another. A certain percentage of meal or malt is the millers perquisite.
If they [the Tories] wish to get the working-class vote, they have got to pay for it either in meal or in malt.Nineteenth Century, August. 1892, p. 344.