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.” —
“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.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894