Forgotten Foods: reviving weird old food and figuring out what should be brought back

I’d always known it as Worcester Sauce until someone tried correcting me and forced me to look at the bottle more closely. Checking Wikipedia, it seems I wasn’t alone. I think I’ll go back to my old ways.

I’ve just been made aware of this corned beef discrepancy:

UK

US

It looks like yours is made out of actual meat.

4 Likes

I was going to reply “Yes, it’s generally brisket” - but it seems even what piece of the cow is “brisket” changes as you cross the pond.

1 Like

I’m a vegetarian these days, so I don’t eat aspic any more, but my mom made it reasonably often when I was a kid, and it was fine. She usually made one with a tomato juice base, olives, and a few other savory things. It’s far less scary than many of the sweet Midwestern stuff-in-jello concoctions that were around in the 50s and 60s.

Bean dishes or cheese dishes instead of meat dishes? Sure; doesn’t even have to be poverty food. Some kinds go together well, some don’t. Pinto beans go well with cheddar or jack, black beans can if you have the right other flavors with them. American-style baked beans never struck me as going well with cheese, but they do well with grains. Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup? It’s pretty much the canonical good lunch.

2 Likes

British food ranges from excellent to terrible, and the differences are usually based on the quality of the ingredients and the care that went into cooking it rather than the things they’re making. Sausage and potatoes can be delicious food with appropriate spices, whether delicate or stong-flavored. They can also be absolutely horrid bangers and mash, with the flavor boiled out of the meat and soggy lumpy potatoes. Beers can be anything from Real Ale to total swill. Marmite (yeah, ok, maybe you have to be British for that to work well.) A lot of the reputation is from the war years and after, when Britain was dealing with food shortages and starker-than-usual poverty, meat was rationed and what you could get was bad.

I didn’t grow up with mushy peas, but they’re better than the canned peas we used to get in elementary-school cafeteria lunches, and it’s not hard to make good pea soup from almost the same ingredients. I’ve never had really bad canned beans, just uninteresting ones, and while I think of them as lunch food rather than breakfast, they do go well with toast.

3 Likes

I had the pleasant fortune to experience the ‘cowboy’ cut of steak whilst in Mexico, which I discovered is a bone-in ribeye, like the t-bone of ribeyes.
Damn.

1 Like

So true!

I used to make aspic as a kid (one of my jobs was housework, including cooking) and it wasn’t bad. My grandfather would shoot a deer, use every single bit of it – he even made head cheese that was actually wonderful – and then sell the hide.

But the “salads” which were actually canned fruits and vegetables in sweet Jell-o? Holy moley, that stuff was awful.

But then, as I keep telling my kids, once upon a time you couldn’t get “fresh” berries in the Midwest in January. Or corn.

2 Likes

I inherited a series of wonderfully weird magazines/cooking book in monthly parts called “Cordon Bleu Cooking” from my mum. The recipes were the best of circa 1972 British cooking - it was a strange traditional-meets-groovy, aspic-meets-avocado collection with a few keepers and a lot of eye hurting photos.

The highlight, however, was the cold suckling pig that had been decoratively “iced” with a lard filigree on one of the colours.

1 Like

Not all mushy peas are equal… but when they’re done right, they’re awesome.

The British love of baked beans, however… Well, there’s worse things out there I suppose.

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/oct/27/how-to-cook-perfect-welsh-rarebit

I know, right! Good memories. He had all those dreams. It was probably the best episode of the entire series.

That’s exactly right. My grandmother made a jacked-up version of the jello fruit mold. She incorporated Cool-Whip into part of the Jell-o, and made the fruit coctail settle to the bottom. So, you got three layers, essentially: fruit at the bottom, a lighter colored layer of jello-cool-whip, and then pure jello on top.

It wasn’t better than a real pie or cake, but it was definitely edible and likable.

I moved to New England in 1989 from the Central Valley in CA. When I went to the grocery store in the northeast in January, I was appalled. The fruits & veggie section was like something out of a WWII movie. Everything looked like a wilted paper maché simulacrum of real fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes were a pale off-red. There was a whole section of something I’d never seen before: KALE. Eew. No fresh herbs. Stacks and stacks of potatoes and onions in bags. 2 kinds of apples: Hard-as-a-rock Granny Smiths, and mushy-as-hell Macs. Bananas? Brown. Oranges? Expensive, and dry interiors. Berries? Nonexistent, except Cranberries rotting in their plastic bags.

I don’t know how I survived. I gorged on tomatoes, avocadoes, artichokes and every fresh vegetable and fruit known to man when I visited home in CA. Distribution to the northeast is much better now, but back then 20 years ago it was TERRIBLE.

3 Likes

I meant the colony I used to live in (Australia) and the UK where I now live. Sometimes I do now wonder if we are not just a colonial outpost of the US though…

I have an aunt who went to her grave disliking me because childhood me would sit with arms folded before a plate of Chipped Beef on Toast. I viewed it as the destruction of a perfectly edible piece of toast.

O man, I loved that stuff! Eventually, my mother would let me cut the store-packaged chipped-beef slices myself. With practice, those squares got pretty small…

I use anchovy paste - it is the best and I use it for many things - from a little bit in pizza sauce, pasta sauce, on melted cheese toast – a little on meat or in the marinade before cooking - stuff like like that. I’ll have to try the sardine paste…

Hush your mouth, I say. I still love chipped beef on whatever starchy base I can find. SOS was a staple weekend breakfast - Navy family, natch - and it’s still my go-to morning-after-a-drunken-bender or general comfort breakfast at the local greasy spoon. Esskay even sells it in nice microwavable packages.

I used to make the alternate version with deli-sliced ham from scratch. Over biscuits. Divine.

Funny you should mention that, one of the submitter’s articles is on… http://tablematters.com/2013/06/27/jell-o-fiascos/

1 Like

Don’t be silly. You eat mushy peas with a hot pork pie.

I’ve seen that very picture! Truly, it is a marvel.

2 Likes