Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Lot of Baloney (Rarebit)

This is how to make Rarebit, according to the McCall's classic, the Practically Cookless Cookbook (1965): take some spongy white bread and put baloney (spelled the Fancy Way, i.e. bologna) on top, as if you were making a sandwich. But if you then drench it in canned cheddar-cheese soup and add chablis and parsley, voilĂ ! Instant gourmet Rarebit!

Does this recipe mean you've given up altogether (cue the Wonder Bread, cheap baloney and canned cheese soup) or are laboring under strange delusions of grandeur (adding chablis to the Wonder Bread, baloney and canned cheese soup)?

Probably both. And since you're not really cooking, you don't need to use anything that goes into the real Rarebit, i.e. nice crusty bread and real cheese. Because that would take too much cooking time. That would not be Practically Cookless. Oh...actually it would be - because real Welsh Rarebit is a very easy meal to prepare.* But McCall's in 1965 does not agree.

Don't forget that sprig of parsley on the side which screams: this is Fancy Cooking all right. And don't forget the glass of beer either. It will distract you from what you have got on your plate.

If you want to see this recipe up close and personal, here is the larger version.

* Although the late British cooking authority Keith Floyd insists that you make a roux, and that is not necessarily easy and quick. Not in my book anyway. Oh look, Alton Brown insists on roux too. Now I see why McCall's was seduced by that can o' soup! But I have had real Welsh Rarebit (the roux-ified version) and it is really good - well worth a little rouxfulness.


vanilla said...

Well roux the day we eat that concoction.

Better to eat the parsley and throw away the "rarebit."

Jan from BetterSpines said...

Oh, too good, Vanilla!
So Lidian, if we could buy canned cheese soup in this country, I would just have to try this fascinating recipe. It's got all the food groups (white bread, processed meat, canned gloop and white wine), so it must be good. And oh so tasty.

Lidian said...

vanilla - I second that!

Jan - It is only one of many fascinating recipes in the Almost Cookless Cookbook (aka the Almost Tasteless Cookbook). I have had the real thing in your country and it is really excellent when done with - you know, real ingredients!

Georgina said...

For shame! I can hear my great-grandmother spinning in her grave right now! I think I am going to have to atone this weekend, dig out the family cookbook and try making it. - G

Bill said...

There's a dark, twisted side of me that wants to serve this to guests with a straight face.
The careful instructions to only toast one side of the white bread under the broiler, so that the bologna goodness will soak into the untoasted side, the caution not to dilute the condensed soup when heating it in your (Revere-ware) saucepan - until you add the Chablis! - these extra touches in the recipe say fine dining.

Lidian said...

Bill - Yes, that is the epitome of Fancy, not diluting the soup!

Anonymous said...

Rarebit is my rainy day comfort food. So easy, even with a roux.