Welsh rarebit

Welsh rarebit

Welsh rarebit, Welsh rabbit, or more infrequently, rarebit is traditionally a savory sauce made from a mixture of cheese and various other ingredients and served hot over toasted bread. The term "Welsh rarebit" refers to a dish most commonly served in Great Britain.Fact|date=August 2008 The original name(s) apparently date from the 18th century in Great Britain.

Various recipes for Welsh rarebit include the addition of ale, mustard, ground cayenne pepper or ground paprikaLe Guide Culinaire by Georges Auguste Escoffier, translated by H L Cracknell and R J Kaufmann] ["Le Répertoire de la Cuisine" by Louis Saulnier, translated by E Brunet.] [Hering's Dictionary of Classical and Modern Cookery, edited and translated by Walter Bickel] and Worcestershire sauce [Recipes published on the labels of Lea and Perrins (Heinz) Worcestershire sauce,] [ [http://graphic-design.tjs-labs.com/show-picture?id=1093969680 Rarebit recipe featuring Lea & Perrins. Good Housekeeping magazine, December 1934.] ] . The sauce may also be made by blending cheese and mustard into a sauce béchamelThe Constance Spry Cookery Book by Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume] Farmer, Fannie M., "Boston Cooking-School Cook Book" (Boston, 1896) ISBN 0-451-12892-3] (a sauce Mornay). Some recipes for Welsh rabbit have become textbook savoury dishes listed by culinary authorities including Escoffier, Saulnier, Hering and others, who tend to use the form Welsh "rarebit", emphasizing that it is not a meat dish. In the United States, a frozen prepared sauce [ [http://www.stouffers.com/Products/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=135 Stouffer's frozen prepared rarebit sauce] ] by Stouffer's can be found in supermarkets.

Acknowledging that there is more than one way to make a rarebit, some cookbooks have included two recipes: the "Boston Cooking-School Cook Book" of 1896 has two recipes, one béchamel-based, the other with beer, The "Constance Spry Cookery Book" of 1956 has two recipes, one with flour and one without, Le Guide Culinaire of 1907 has two recipes for 'Welsh Rarebit', one with ale and one without.

The term "rarebit" is to some extent used for variants on the dish, especially "buck rarebit" which has a poached egg added, either on top of or beneath the cheese sauce.

It is typically made with Cheddar cheese, in contrast to the Continental European fondue which classically depends on Swiss cheeses and of which Welsh rabbit is a local variant.

Origin of the names

The first recorded use of the term "Welsh rabbit" was in 1725, but the origin of the term is unknown.Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, 1989] It may be an ironic name coined in the days when the Welsh were notoriously poor: only better-off people could afford butcher's meat, and while in England rabbit was the poor man's meat, in Wales the poor man's meat was cheese. It may be a slur against the Welsh, since the dish contains no meat and so was considered inferior. Then again, because the word "Welsh" was at the time used by the English to describe anything inferior or foreign, it may allude to the dish's Continental European origin.

It is also possible that the dish was attributed to Wales because the Welsh were considered particularly fond of cheese, as evidenced by Andrew Boorde in his "Fyrst Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge" (1542), when he wrote "I am a Welshman, I do love cause boby, good roasted cheese." [Andrew Boorde: "The Fyrst Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge, the whyche dothe teache a man to speake parte of all maner of languages, and to know the usage and fashion of all maner of countreys" (1542)] In Boorde's account, "cause boby" is the Welsh " _cy. caws pobi", meaning "roasted cheese". It is the earliest known reference to cheese being eaten cooked in the British Isles but whether it implies a recipe like Welsh rabbit is a matter of speculation.

A legend mentioned in Betty Crocker's Cookbook claims that Welsh peasants were not allowed to eat rabbits caught in hunts on the estates of the nobility, so they used melted cheese as a substitute. The cookbook writes that Ben Jonson and Charles Dickens ate Welsh rabbit at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, a pub in London. [cite book | title = Betty Crocker's Cookbook | date = 1989 | pages = 184 | publisher = Prentice Hall] There is no good evidence for any of this; what is more, Ben Jonson died almost a century before the term Welsh Rabbit is first attestedOxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, 1989] .

The term "Welsh rarebit" was evidently a later corruption of Welsh rabbit, being first recorded in 1785 by Francis Grose, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The entry in Merriam-Webster's "Dictionary of English Usage" is "Welsh rabbit, Welsh rarebit" and states: "When Francis Grose defined Welsh rabbit in "A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue" in 1785, he mistakenly indicated that rabbit was a corruption of "rarebit". It is not certain that this erroneous idea originated with Grose...." [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=2yJusP0vrdgC&pg=RA3-PA952&dq=%22welsh+rabbit%22&sig=l5yBOfuSWhBHXwFRBCl_Q8MVGPw Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, p. 592] at books.google.com (accessed 9 November 2007)]

According to the American satirist Ambrose Bierce, the continued use of "rarebit" was an attempt to rationalize the absence of rabbit, writing in his 1911 "Devil's Dictionary": "RAREBIT n. A Welsh rabbit, in the speech of the humorless, who point out that it is not a rabbit. To whom it may be solemnly explained that the comestible known as toad in the hole is really not a toad, and that "ris de veau à la financière" is not the smile of a calf prepared after the recipe of a she banker." [Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, 1911]

In his 1926 edition of the "Dictionary of Modern English Usage", the grammarian H. W. Fowler states a forthright view: "Welsh Rabbit is amusing and right. Welsh Rarebit is stupid and wrong." [Fowler, H. W., A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, Oxford University Press, 1926]

The word "rarebit" has no other use than in Welsh rabbit and "rarebit" alone has come to be used in place of the original name [The Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 11th edition (2006)] .


ee also

*Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
*Cheese on toast
*Croque Madame
*Croque Monsieur
*Grilled cheese sandwich
*Horseshoe sandwich
*Monte Cristo sandwich
*Cheese roll

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Welsh rarebit — Welsh rarebit. El Welsh rarebit, Welsh rabbit (en inglés ‘conejo galés’) o, más infrecuentemente, solo rarebit es un plato con una salsa salada hecha con una mezcla de queso y varios otros ingredientes servida caliente sobre una tostada …   Wikipedia Español

  • Welsh rarebit — Welsh rabbit Pour les articles homonymes, voir Welsh. Le Welsh, Welsh rabbit ou Welsh rarebit est un plat d origine britannique fait à base de cheddar (originellement du fromage de Chester mais très difficile à trouver) fondu dans de la bière (de …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Welsh rarebit — Welsh rarebit, n. same as {Welsh rabbit}. [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Welsh rarebit — also .Welsh rabbit n [U and C] a dish of cheese melted on bread …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Welsh rarebit — UK / US noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms Welsh rarebit : singular Welsh rarebit plural Welsh rarebits a meal of cheese sauce poured over bread and cooked …   English dictionary

  • Welsh rarebit — Rabbit Rab bit (r[a^]b b[i^]t), n. [OE. rabet, akin to OD. robbe, robbeken.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any of the smaller species of the genus Lepus, especially the common European species ({Lepus cuniculus}), which is often kept as a pet, and has been… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Welsh Rarebit — Welsh Rare|bit 〈[wɛ̣lʃ re:(r) ] m.; s, s〉 mit einer Mischung aus geriebenem Chesterkäse u. Ale belegte u. überbackene Weißbrotscheibe [<engl. welsh „walisisch“ + rare „rar, selten“ + bit „Bissen“] * * * Welsh|rab|bit [ wɛlʃ ræbɪt; engl., eigtl …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Welsh Rarebit — Welsh Rare|bit 〈[wɛ̣lʃ rɛ:(r)bıt] m.; Gen.: od. s, Pl.: s〉 mit einer Mischung aus geriebenem Chesterkäse, Cayennepfeffer u. Bier belegte u. überbackene Weißbrotscheibe; oV [Etym.: <engl. welsh »walisisch« + rabbit »Hase« bzw. rare »selten« +… …   Lexikalische Deutsches Wörterbuch

  • Welsh rarebit — ➡ Welsh rabbit * * * …   Universalium

  • Welsh rarebit — Welsh rare|bit [ ,welʃ rerbıt ] noun count or uncount a meal of cheese sauce poured over bread and cooked …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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