Saturday, February 26, 2011

Weekend Cooking #4: A War-time Welsh Rabbit in honor of St. David’s Day

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. As always Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads

Tuesday, March 1st is St. David’s Day and if you are Welsh, it is a day you celebrate. St. David is the patron saint of Wales. Of course, Welsh Rabbit has nothing whatsoever to do with St. David’s Day, other than that it is Welsh. According to Wikipedia, the origin of Welsh Rabbit, or Rarebit as it is sometimes called, comes from the days when the Welsh were very poor and cheese was used extensively in lieu of meat.

When we were young kids, my dad, who was born in South Wales, was told to make us grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch because my mom had to work (she was a nurse.) When he served us a version of the recipe below, our eyes almost popped out. This WAS NOT the grilled cheese we knew and loved. But he talked up into eating it and it became the new grilled cheese we knew and loved. Of course, there was no war on by this time, so our lunch was made with sharp cheddar cheese, which I would highly recommend over the American cheese this recipe calls for.

Welsh Rabbit (serves 6)
2 tbsp butter or margarine
1 lb American cheese, diced
½ tsp salt
½ tsp dry mustard
Few grains cayenne pepper
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ cup milk, beer or ale
2 eggs
Bread for toasting

1. Melt butter and diced cheese and cook over hot water until melted, stirring constantly.
2. Add salt, mustard, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce; mix well.
3. Add liquid slowly. Add eggs and stir until mixture thickens.
4. Serve at once on hot toast.

(Halve this recipe and use as a sauce)
From: Cooling on a ration; food is still fun by Marjorie Mills 1943


  1. I'm going to share this with my cheese loving husband and daughter. I'm sure they will love it. Thanks!

  2. my mother used to make this for my brother when we were was his favorite food in the world.

  3. Oh yummmm. I've always loved this. My mom would make this for us on snowy Saturdays.

  4. What a great story. I didn't know about St. David's Day. I've taken a recent interest in Wales since I discovered that I have ancestors from there -- from the 1600s so no family stories or recipes passed down that far.

  5. Great post. I never knew what Rarebit was. It sounds yummy.

  6. Your posts are always so informative :) Would you serve this for lunch and or dinner though? And would this suffice, or do you normally add a salad or soup?

  7. I love reading your weekly recipe posts!

  8. Thanks for all your kind comments. I love to collect WW II recipes and share them. I also collect knitting patterns from the war, but have only made anything from them once, whereas I do make the recipes.
    Chinoiseries - this is good for lunch or dinner, and a salad with it is lovely, so is a soup like tomato soup.
    I am glad people are enjoying these.

  9. Hmmm - never knew what Welsh Rabbit was. Or St. David's Day either. Thanks for the education.