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Is creamed chipped beef only liked by the people who were or are currently in the military?

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bwinter714 Sep 28, 2011 10:11 AM

I'm a Marine, and I remember eating "Shit on a Shingle" in bootcamp in Paris Island. For some reason, it was so damn good, and I am kind of nostalgic for it now that I've been out for quite some time. I was thinking of making it on the Marine Corps Birthday, but I don't think it would be the same. Ahh, memories

I don't know if chow halls across the branches all had it, but the Island certainly did. So my question is, (I'm sure there are exceptions), but there seems to be a higher affinity for that milky white with brown-bits crap slathered on burnt toast from people in the military, is it only us? Or do non-military people really like that too?

  1. c
    christy1122 Sep 28, 2011 10:15 AM

    I love Creamed Chipped Beef....my Nana made it from scratch yet we grew up on Stouffers. It is always my first choice on a Breakfast Menu....the quetions is always, do they do it good?

    1 Reply
    1. re: christy1122
      a
      aurora50 Sep 28, 2011 10:49 AM

      Oh my goodness, none of my immediate family has ever been in the military, yet I'm in love with SOS. Not sure how or where I grew to love it, I think it must have been through my mother somehow. I tend to get the Stouffer's frozen, it's very good.

    2. Terrie H. Sep 28, 2011 10:49 AM

      I grew up on eating creamed chipped beef often. My maternal grandmother was from northern Maryland where there was a lot of influence from the PA Dutch type of cooking, which I somehow associate with CB. I was at my parents' yesterday at lunchtime and my father asked my mother where the leftover CB was - they had apparently treated themselves for dinner the night before. My mother said "too late - I already ate it. Snooze you lose!"

      15 Replies
      1. re: Terrie H.
        c
        centralpadiner Sep 28, 2011 07:50 PM

        Yes, it is extremely popular here in Central PA. I don't associate it with the military at all. My mother loves it, my husband loves it and many others in my family with no military experience. It never occurred to me to associate this with the military.

        Stouffers makes it? I don't think they even sell that around here. It is always homemade, but I've never made it, personally.

        1. re: centralpadiner
          c
          cleobeach Sep 29, 2011 07:32 AM

          I am a PA Dutcher and creamed chipped beef on toast is very popular. I don't care for it in the creamed form but as a child I liked to eat the dried beef just plain, right out of the package.

          1. re: cleobeach
            Terrie H. Sep 29, 2011 07:44 AM

            I tried to explain to my mother that the dried beef at the Amish butcher in Germantown was worth the drive vs Buddig - I could eat that stuff without the cream gravy in a heartbeat.

            1. re: Terrie H.
              c
              cleobeach Sep 29, 2011 01:17 PM

              dried beef "roll ups" are regularly found at parties in my area. dried beef spread with cream cheese and rolled to form a tube.

              1. re: cleobeach
                f
                FrauMetzger Sep 30, 2011 05:01 PM

                You brought back great memories, Cleo! My grand mom used to give me those when I was small. Sometimes, we'd be forced to substitute Lebanon bologna, but it was just never the same.

            2. re: cleobeach
              k
              Kelli2006 Sep 29, 2011 02:37 PM

              I live in Amish coiuntry in Ohio and I also like creamed chipped beef but I only like it when it is made with a proper roux, plenty of meat and fresh black pepper.

              My father was a draftee Lt in Korea and mother mother was a Navy nurse but I was never in the service.

              1. re: Kelli2006
                Terrie H. Sep 30, 2011 03:43 AM

                I have a friend who visits from about 2 hours away periodically and times it so he can have the creamed chipped beef served over home fries at a local diner. Highly recommend home fries rather than toast.

            3. re: centralpadiner
              alliegator Sep 30, 2011 07:03 AM

              Stouffers must sell it there, when I visit my grandparents in Williamsport, it's in their freezer. It's pretty good in a hurry, if you see some around and have the urge for it, give it a try!

              1. re: centralpadiner
                b
                betsydiver Sep 30, 2011 09:01 AM

                stouffer's does it frozen; i think it's boil in bag? I like it alot; salty, creamy,mmmmm

              2. re: Terrie H.
                Terrie H. Sep 28, 2011 08:11 PM

                So I asked my soldier about this since I was lucky enough to hear from him tonight. He's a Cajun, which apparently means that SOS wasn't what he grew up with or would choose on the chow line. "Except if my other choice was goat.". Seriously.

                1. re: Terrie H.
                  f
                  FarFar Sep 30, 2011 08:35 AM

                  We were passing through Ocean City, MD last year and saw a restaurant named "House of Chipped Beef". Unfortunately, we didn't have time to stop and check it out.

                  1. re: FarFar
                    Terrie H. Sep 30, 2011 04:22 PM

                    Now that's a curious place.

                    1. re: FarFar
                      JMF Jan 22, 2014 10:42 AM

                      Oh, you mean General's Kitchen. It says "House of Chipped Beef" under the name on the sign. I had breakfast there several times back in spring/summer 2005 and 2006 when I was in the area camping at Assateague State Park, taking long weekends after spending some time consulting with an organic farm a few hours north of Ocean City.

                      I tried the chipped beef breakfast and it was ok. My first and only time trying it. I thought it kind of interesting, in a boring kind of way.

                      But their scrapple was great. Crispy and browned outside and still creamy inside and very flavorful. Their breakfast steaks were very tasty too.

                      1. re: JMF
                        c
                        Christina D Jan 22, 2014 10:49 AM

                        Apparently, the General's Kitchen has changed hands sometime in recent years and the chipped beef has suffered (this is per my mother, a chipped beef aficionada). Layton's on 92nd street has a very good version.

                    2. re: Terrie H.
                      b
                      brilynn79 Jan 23, 2014 10:13 PM

                      My grandfather was PA Dutch and I grew up eating. I have not had it in quite awhile, but love the stuff. One of those comfort foods...and I need a dose!

                      ETA-Both my grandfathers were in the military and referred to it as SOS- the no PA Dutch one does not care for it, but eat hamburger gravy- not my favorite.

                    3. al b. darned Sep 28, 2011 11:25 AM

                      While in Uncle Sam's Canoe Club, one form of SOS was Creamed Chipped Beef, but more often it was hamburger either in a tomato or cream-like sauce. The tomato-based version was my favorite, with the chipped beef coming in last. They only time they served SOS was for breakfast. I've never been a big fan of a heavy breakfast, and when it was available on the chow line I usually chose something else. Unlike bwinter714, however, I don't really miss any of them.

                      1. PotatoHouse Sep 28, 2011 11:28 AM

                        I grew up in the Navy and I LOVE SOS.

                        1. b
                          bwinter714 Sep 28, 2011 12:06 PM

                          So Ok, maybe it's a southern thing. I grew up in Albany, NY, so we didn't get the southern comfort foods up here.

                          I think that the reason why I liked it too was because your body is pretty adept at recognizing calorie-laden food (survivial instinct), and when you're in bootcamp you need all the calories you can get. Just a thought of mine anyway. But I wouldn't mind going back to Paris Island (not for bootcamp, fuck, that was enough the first time around) and seeing if it is still as good as I remember it.

                          1. d
                            dberg1313 Sep 28, 2011 01:08 PM

                            I grew up eating it, and never had any remote relation to the military. My mother would make it for dinner pretty often, probably because it was cheap in those days, and served it over boiled potatoes with peas on the side. Oddly, we didn't often have it for breakfast. It was very popular with my husband & children but I don't make it so much these days--too many carbs for the diabetics. Also husband has no notion of portion control and will eat a gallon of it (seriously, he will if he gets the chance). I love it over home fries - it's a big seller at the firehouse breakfast
                            1

                            1. s
                              smartie Sep 28, 2011 02:28 PM

                              help a foreigner - what is it?

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: smartie
                                c
                                Cathy Sep 28, 2011 03:01 PM

                                Creamed chipped beef on toast.

                                http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/moms-eas...

                                The beef usually is leftover from a roast, although this recipe calls for the thin sliced lunchmeat beef sold in a package in the grocery store.

                                (I grew up eating it and still like it. Dad was Navy in WWII before he married mom. I think it was -and is- a way to stretch beef leftovers)

                                1. re: Cathy
                                  h
                                  hazelhurst Sep 28, 2011 03:28 PM

                                  That's foreign to me..my mother (who must have learned it in WW II) used the dried Armour meat in jars, NOT unrolled at first but sliced across. She soaked the meat in ice water to leach out salt. I love the stuff..but we also made some additions I never saw in public offeings , e.g. bell pepper.

                                  1. re: hazelhurst
                                    c
                                    Cathy Sep 28, 2011 03:34 PM

                                    I do remember the dried Armour meat in a jar! I guess mom got all fancy at some point.

                                  2. re: Cathy
                                    lisaress Sep 28, 2011 03:50 PM

                                    I am from PA Dutch world and Creamed Chipped Beef was extremely common as I was growing up and is still on most breakfast menus around here. We made it with "real" dried beef from the deli case - very salty. You can't make the mistake of getting the dried beef loaf. It looks similar, costs less, but doesn't pack the same punch. I have seen the Armour stuff, but never tried it. I cannot imagine that regular deli beef or scraps from roast beef would taste anything like the Creamed Chipped Beef I know. Get Stouffer's - it is really close to homemade. I keep a few packs on hand when I get the craving and luckily I am the only one in the house who will eat it. For me, it is often the perfect comfort food. To the OP... nope never been in the military.

                                    1. re: lisaress
                                      c
                                      cleobeach Sep 29, 2011 07:35 AM

                                      We made it with "real" dried beef from the deli case - very salty.
                                      -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Yes! and it needed to be sliced super thin.

                                    2. re: Cathy
                                      d
                                      Dempsey Jan 22, 2014 09:47 AM

                                      My family used dried "chipped" beef -- from the butcher or in packages. I have never seen leftover beef used this way, though.

                                  3. b
                                    Breezychow Sep 28, 2011 03:33 PM

                                    "SOaS" was a common "stretch" meal growing up. My dad got paid once a month, & we always knew when payday was close when we started having things like fried Spam & eggs, Curried Hardboiled Eggs, & SOaS for dinner - lol! But we loved it all. My mom was/is a terrific cook, & anything she made never tasted like scrimping.

                                    1. deet13 Sep 28, 2011 04:15 PM

                                      Heh, when I was doing Army OSUT/Basic st Ft. Knox, a plate full of cold SOS, lukewarm coffee, greasy bacon, hot orange bug juice, and seconds helpings of strawberry cake made for a fine meal, just before we hit the CS gas chamber...

                                      As for outside of the mil-life, I think SOS is more of a rural or Southern thing.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: deet13
                                        gaffk Sep 28, 2011 04:21 PM

                                        I don't think it's southern? I'm from Philadelphia (not far from PA Dutch country several other posters note) and creamed chipped beef is indeed on almost every diner menu in the area. Though I am not a fan, my 82-year old mom loves it and sometimes requests I take her to the local diner that does the best job of it. (And no, neither she nor her family members ever served in the military.)

                                        1. re: gaffk
                                          deet13 Sep 28, 2011 04:48 PM

                                          Maybe you're right. If that's the case, then perhaps SOS started out up there as a regional Penn Dutch recipe, but was transported to the different regions via the US military post-Civil War....

                                          The only reason I say Southern is due to the resemblance SOS has to the sausage gravy we make down here.

                                          1. re: deet13
                                            l
                                            lsmutko Sep 28, 2011 05:09 PM

                                            That's what I thought, too, deet13. That's essentially how I make sausage gravy. Though not a southerner, I learned and developed it to feed a southerner. And sub biscuits for toast.

                                            1. re: deet13
                                              gaffk Sep 28, 2011 06:08 PM

                                              Hadn't thought about the sausage gravy aspect. Funny, mom also *hates* biscuits and gravy (and passed that on to 3 of her 4 daughters ;) but loves cream chipped beef. The next time she summons me to the diner, I'll have to ask her what the difference is between the two gravies.

                                              1. re: gaffk
                                                deet13 Sep 30, 2011 04:05 PM

                                                Aside from some spices (nutmeg and Worcestershire sauce) and meats, both SOS and sausage gravy are a simple variation on a bechamel sauce/roux, provided that you substitute butter with meat drippings.

                                                Of course over the past 200 years we've our fair share of Deutsch and Acadian immigrants down here in the South. They moved into the Texas hill country and along our Gulfcoast region. So it's also a possibility that the two types of gravies were created independent of each other...

                                        2. Will Owen Sep 28, 2011 04:42 PM

                                          Central Illinois kid here, and the Armour stuff in jars was what Mom used to make it. She didn't soak it, she just made the white sauce with no salt and let the meat take care of that. It was a supper dish, always served on toast, sometimes fancied up with chopped hard boiled egg, a wonderful variant.

                                          My branch of service was the Air Force, served almost entirely at Elmendorf AFB outside of Anchorage. Our chow hall's SOS was only the creamed hamburger version; the cream sauce was simply a gallon or three of evaporated milk, reduced in a steam kettle to a thick goo and combined with the browned beef. Very much unlike al b. darned I DO crave a hearty breakfast, especially if afterwards I'm gonna walk half a mile in subzero weather; my favorite version was eggs, hashbrowns, sausage and bacon, with SOS poured over everything. Of course, that was when I had to eat like that just to keep my weight *UP* …

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: Will Owen
                                            PotatoHouse Sep 28, 2011 04:46 PM

                                            We had the Hamburger version sometimes also.

                                            1. re: Will Owen
                                              b
                                              Breezychow Sep 28, 2011 04:55 PM

                                              Yup - the Armour jarred stuff is what my mom bought as well - & we lived in LI, NY. Also served on toast & sometimes with hard-boiled eggs.

                                              1. re: Will Owen
                                                m
                                                Mayor of Melonville Sep 28, 2011 05:32 PM

                                                In the Air Force we always had SOS with hamburger. Our favorite way was SOS on toast with the eggs on top (reverse order of Will Owen's), chased down with half-white/half-chocolate milk and coffee. This fueled us on midnight shifts in the area known as the Bavarian Siberia (Hof, Germany).

                                                1. re: Will Owen
                                                  FoodFuser Sep 28, 2011 08:37 PM

                                                  Armors in jars, that could be easily peeled.

                                                  Housewife who grew up in the Depression, thus boys coming home
                                                  were hooked on that SOS.

                                                  Mama, the cook, had no clue of a bechamel
                                                  but she made a mean white sauce
                                                  that she folded with wafers unfolded from glass jars.

                                                  Served them on toast.

                                                  Valiance on sauce.
                                                  Valiance on Mama.
                                                  Valiance on jars of them simple chipped wafers.

                                                  1. re: FoodFuser
                                                    EWSflash Sep 28, 2011 10:57 PM

                                                    "that she folded with wafers unfolded from glass jars"

                                                    I love the description, FoodFuser, thanks for the visual.

                                                    1. re: EWSflash
                                                      FoodFuser Sep 29, 2011 12:01 AM

                                                      Credit is hers, not mine.

                                                      They were best opened closely
                                                      with the old-fashioned can opener.

                                                      The metal of lid was certainly soft
                                                      and gave a soft hiss.
                                                      Best held with jar to the softness of belly.
                                                      There was something most gentle about it.

                                                      The wafers were Mom's to explore, peel and tear.

                                                      Yes, I still have a pair of those jars.

                                                  2. re: Will Owen
                                                    Will Owen Sep 29, 2011 11:51 AM

                                                    I think I should add that this is yet another Midwestern working-class treat I introduced Mrs. O to, and she adored it. Her father, family cook and WW2 infantryman, just shuddered when she told him.

                                                  3. f
                                                    FrauMetzger Sep 28, 2011 04:42 PM

                                                    I grew up just outside Philadelphia in a family of die-hard SOS eaters. I never could stand it, and being a Navy veteran has not changed that one bit. But then, I don't remember it being served in any of the galleys I frequented.

                                                    1. EWSflash Sep 28, 2011 10:55 PM

                                                      I never was, and I love it. Especially on a toasted English muffin, but toast or biscuits are wonderful, too.

                                                      1. l
                                                        LikestoEatout Sep 29, 2011 05:21 AM

                                                        Not military here but I grew up on the stuff. Not sure what meat my mom used originally in the 1950's but later on, Buddig packaged lunch meat was used. Still something I crave, especially in the winter but my partner is now vegetarian and the veggie version is awful. I keep wanting to secretly make myself a big batch.

                                                        1. t
                                                          Teacakes Sep 29, 2011 06:04 AM

                                                          I grew up eating chipped beef on toast. Daddy was in the military and he always was the one to make it. We all loved it and I still make it today. All my three children liked it. Dried beef in the jar and a white sauce.

                                                          1. d
                                                            Dee S Sep 29, 2011 08:16 AM

                                                            IMHO, there's a huge difference between creamed chipped beef and SOS. Creamed chipped beef contains, well, chipped beef and has a bechamel based sauce; it's very pure in that respect and even has a more refined appearance. SOS is more of a ground meat (usually beef) in a white gravy that uses the meat fat as the basis and contains additional seasonings (garlic, paprika, cook's sweat, etc). SOS has a heartier structure with no visual appeal (hence the nickname) that makes the entire dish an experience (I kid you not....) while creamed chipped beef is all about the chipped beef.

                                                            There's something about SOS while in the service and each branch does it differently. I've eaten at USAF, USN, USA and USMC chow halls but none compares to USMC. The SOS between USMC installations varies. Parris Island sets the standard but a couple other bases I was at did a fine job as well.

                                                            Having experienced the BEST military SOS at Parris Island duing boot camp, I get a nostalgic yearning for that specific dish. Try as I might, I've yet to come across a recipe that mimics the good old USMC's recipe. I did find one that makes a standard chow hall batch but it's a bit large for just the two of us. Since hubby's a former sailor, he doesn't appreciate SOS but makes a mean sausage gravy in SOS style.

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: Dee S
                                                              a
                                                              aurora50 Sep 29, 2011 11:12 AM

                                                              Now that you folks have got me thinking, I seem to remember hamburger style SOS that used to be served in my high school cafeteria with a "cream" (term applied loosely) sauce.
                                                              Not the best, but even that slop seemed to be tasty to me.

                                                              1. re: aurora50
                                                                b
                                                                bwinter714 Sep 29, 2011 11:27 AM

                                                                That's probably what that was. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one on this board that wouldn't mind eating it again. So many people here seemed to like it. And I always thought that the military was where SOS won hearts and minds!

                                                                Dee, you've been to Paris Island and eaten the chow? Were you 4th battalion or were you there for a relative that graduated? (I think they let family eat in the chow halls now)

                                                                1. re: bwinter714
                                                                  d
                                                                  Dee S Sep 29, 2011 12:04 PM

                                                                  4th Batallion, series 14B from a long time ago. Ooh-rah! When I was there, the new WM barracks were just starting to be used again but we all had to march to Admin chow hall. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed that SOS and how different it was from creamed chipped beef my mom made for us back home. I was probably the only WM to gain weight in boot.

                                                                  Back then, civilians did not eat in our chow hall.

                                                                  1. re: Dee S
                                                                    b
                                                                    bwinter714 Sep 30, 2011 06:15 AM

                                                                    Ooh-rah Semper Fi! Now, they let parents and family eat in the chow halls and visit the training grounds on graduation day :/ My stepfather was Force Recon in Vietnam, and his father was also a Marine, who looked strikingly like Chesty Puller! So when Mike graduated, his father took a jog around the training facilities, and all the DI's made their recruits stop and salute because they thought he was Lt. General Chesty Puller (He was still alive then). I wish I could've seen that. Anyway, back on subject......

                                                              2. re: Dee S
                                                                JMF Jan 22, 2014 10:55 AM

                                                                I know that this is way late but...

                                                                Here is the Paris ISland SOS recipe and Camp Lejeune's from the Marine Corps Gazette, as well as from USMC Recipe Manual, NAVMC 1067-SD, circa 1952 as printed in Leatherneck Magazine:

                                                                Leatherneck's World-Famous SOS Recipe:

                                                                1 1/2 pounds extra lean hamburger or ground chuck
                                                                2 tbsp. oleo or butter
                                                                1 cup chopped onion
                                                                3 tbsp. flour
                                                                2 tsp. granulated garlic
                                                                2 tbsp. soy sauce (or less to taste)
                                                                1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
                                                                2 cups milk
                                                                salt and pepper to taste
                                                                sliced bread

                                                                Brown the meat, then drain. Add oleo. Stir in the onions and cook until you can see through them. Add flour, stir and cook two to three minutes. Add garlic, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and mix thoroughly. Add milk and stir until it thickens. Serve over bread.

                                                                Camp Lejeune's SOS Recipe for Manly Men

                                                                1 lb. lean hamburger
                                                                3 tsp. beef stock powder
                                                                3 tbsp. plain flour
                                                                ¼ tsp. salt
                                                                ¼ tsp. black pepper
                                                                ½ tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
                                                                1 pint whole milk

                                                                Brown hamburger. Add beef stock powder, flour, salt, pepper and then cook. Add Worcestershire sauce. Add milk and stir over low heat until thickened. Serve on burnt toast.

                                                                *The Official USMC Food Service Association Recipe of SOS
                                                                For two manly men. This is extracted from the USMC Recipe Manual, NAVMC 1067-SD, circa 1952
                                                                1 ¼ lbs ground beef 1 ½ cups beef stock for milk 3 ¼ tbsp chopped onions salt to taste 3 ¼ tbsp bacon fat monosodium glutamate (MSG, optional) 4 ¾ tbsp flour black pepper to taste 1 ½ cups evaporated milk
                                                                Cook the meat in its own fat until brown, stirring frequently. Cook onions in bacon fat, add flour and blend thoroughly. Mix milk and beef stock and heat. Add hot milk mixture to fat and flour mixture. Heat to boiling point; boil one minute, stirring constantly. Add salt, MSG and pepper. Pour sauce over meat. Simmer until meat is well done, but not over cooked. Serve over toast points or biscuits.
                                                                Note: If you’ve been wondering why you just can’t get your SOS to taste like it did back in the old Corps, look to your beef stock for the answer. Make a rich stock from beef bones per the procedure of that time, then carefully follow this recipe for a true reproduction of that old Marine Corps SOS
                                                                *Reprinted from "Leatherneck" Magazine.

                                                                1. re: JMF
                                                                  njmarshall55 Jan 23, 2014 06:16 PM

                                                                  One can always count on a gyrene!

                                                              3. rockandroller1 Sep 29, 2011 12:29 PM

                                                                I grew up with a Mom who made the Armor version of creamed chip beef pretty regularly - cheap and filling. And we also did the egg variation, though not with the beef. Never did the ground meat/SOS variation. Oh, and we were not even close to military.

                                                                1. alliegator Sep 30, 2011 06:53 AM

                                                                  SOS and creamed chipped beef fan here. I was often on the menu when I was growing up and I still like the Stouffer's boil in a bag kind over biscuits or a baked potato. I'm from central Pennsylvania (as are a lot of us, it seems!) but none of my folks were ever in the military.

                                                                  1. w
                                                                    Whinerdiner Sep 30, 2011 08:53 AM

                                                                    Another PA reply. Growing up, my grandmother made "dried beef gravy". Man, was it good! She also made "tomato gravy" the same way, substituting fresh tomatoes for the dried chipped beef. She was of English, German, and Pennsylvania Dutch descent.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Whinerdiner
                                                                      m
                                                                      Ms.M Sep 30, 2011 04:00 PM

                                                                      Ditto here! I grew up in central PA, but my mother was from Chester County of English Quaker descent, and made a delicious Dried Beef with Gravy. She had the salty dried beef freshly sliced paper thin from the local CloverFarm store. And, fried Ripe tomatoes were a summer treat, when garden was so full of tomatoes you couldn't possibly eat another slice of fresh tomatoes. Just sprinkle some herbs and flour on the tomato slices, brown lightly on both sides, and save one or two slices to smash up with a little milk to make a gravy.

                                                                    2. i
                                                                      Isolda Sep 30, 2011 04:09 PM

                                                                      My dad had served in the army and occasionally asked my mom to make it. I didn't care for it, but I do remember it fondly because we kids all called it sh*t on a shingle without getting our mouths washed out with soap. That made it special!

                                                                      1. VBLedbetter Jan 22, 2014 08:36 AM

                                                                        I grew up in Virginia Beach (Hampton Roads = East Coast Military Hub). My dad was a cook in the air force and then later a radar tech in the Navy. He LOVED making SOS and cream chipped beef at home and I still love it to this day. I have to agree that Stouffer's is good for that nostalgic thirst quencher. I can't say that it's a favorite in all military families as my husband (his father was a navigator in the Navy) absolutely cannot stand it. Ah well, we each have our flaws :) All SOS however is not made equal. My extended family in NC makes it, but it's just not the same. My family up north? They just don't get it, lol.

                                                                        1. njmarshall55 Jan 22, 2014 08:57 AM

                                                                          Had it often at AOC School (same one Richard Gere went to in Officer and a Gentleman...but in Pensacola). I think we liked it because we were pushed to our limits and ANYTHING would taste good.

                                                                          1. Perilagu Khan Jan 22, 2014 09:30 AM

                                                                            I really wanted to like this stuff, because it sounded so good. Alas, after giving it a go a few times, I had to conclude that chipped beef is just no dam' good. And, no, I don't have a military background, although my dad did.

                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                              h
                                                                              hazelhurst Jan 22, 2014 09:42 AM

                                                                              Ah but HOW are you making it?

                                                                              1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                Perilagu Khan Jan 22, 2014 10:13 AM

                                                                                It's been a while, but it seems like I rinsed it in water, doused it with some Worcestershire, cooked it in a modified béchamel, and poured it over toast.

                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                  h
                                                                                  hazelhurst Jan 22, 2014 10:18 AM

                                                                                  That's about right although I would be careful with the Lea & perrin since I leach salt out first anyway. But we put scraps of onion and bell pepper with a mushroom or two--or maybe some sort of mushroom steak sauce. it is basic junk, really. haven't had it in ages...think I will stock up and make some since I just got some good butter and whole milk two days ago. might be a waster of the milk and butter but whaththehell.

                                                                                  1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                    Perilagu Khan Jan 22, 2014 11:35 AM

                                                                                    Well, it's funny because I'm usually a fool for retro food, and absolutely love both biscuits n' gravy, and beef in almost any iteration. You'd think chipped beef would be right up my street, but on this one, I just didn't make the connection. I didn't hate the stuff, but I won't go out of my way for it either.

                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                      h
                                                                                      hazelhurst Jan 22, 2014 11:39 AM

                                                                                      I think you have hit the nail on the head. I probably wouldn't care one way or the other except that I grew up with it. I'll make it out of nostalgia.(I sometimes do the same with Swanson Frozen TV Dinner which tastes JUST AS I WANT IT to taste. It is not "good" but I enjoy the hell out of it and as I approach it I can hear the opening strains of "Bonanza" give way to Dinah Shore singing "See the USA in your Chevrolet.")

                                                                                      1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                        Perilagu Khan Jan 22, 2014 12:54 PM

                                                                                        Heh. I know exactly what you mean, hh. Hell, just last night I fixed Kraft's Classic Spaghetti Dinner, not because it is the acme of Italian cuisine but because I grew up with it and find it oddly satisfying. And there are several other processed foods that are part of my rotation solely for those reasons.

                                                                            2. d
                                                                              Dempsey Jan 22, 2014 09:44 AM

                                                                              Not at all! It was a frugal, tasty staple of Middle Western families in the late 19th and up until the mid-20th century. I still make it as a family treat, on toast or baked potatoes.

                                                                              1. grampart Jan 22, 2014 09:47 AM

                                                                                If it looks like the photo on the left, I love it. The other? I tolerate it.

                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: grampart
                                                                                  h
                                                                                  hazelhurst Jan 22, 2014 09:52 AM

                                                                                  I have never---fortunately--seen anything that remotely looked like that excresence on the right. Yes, the one of the left is the true, veritable, lunch on Mount Olympus. (I hope the peas are canned.)

                                                                                  1. re: hazelhurst
                                                                                    grampart Jan 22, 2014 10:04 AM

                                                                                    The crap on the right looks good compared to the version that was served in Air Force chow halls.

                                                                                  2. re: grampart
                                                                                    j
                                                                                    jbsiegel Jan 22, 2014 01:26 PM

                                                                                    Ha ha! LOVE the stuff on the left. Have no idea what the stuff on the right is...

                                                                                    1. re: jbsiegel
                                                                                      a
                                                                                      aurora50 Jan 24, 2014 09:30 AM

                                                                                      The stuff on the left looks like the Stouffer's version, with the chipped beef, which I love. The stuff on the right looks like the stuff that was served to us in high school. (See my earlier entry).

                                                                                  3. monkeyrotica Jan 22, 2014 09:51 AM

                                                                                    Dad used to eat the hell out of this stuff. I mean licking the plate clean. It was pretty obscene. I have fond memories of smelling that stuff in his beard as a kid. It's getting harder to find the Stouffers boil-in-a-bag in the frozen food section, but Armour, Hormel, and Esskay make dried beef and it isn't that difficult to make a bechamel, so I've been doing it a lot on the weekend.

                                                                                    There's a pretty interesting book about the history of military chow recipes, it includes the distinct versions of chipped beef/S.O.S. that the various Services prepare. I had no idea that the secret ingredient in the U.S.M.C. eggrolls served at the DC Marine Corps Barracks was cheddar cheese.

                                                                                    http://www.amazon.com/Military-Life-E...

                                                                                    1. mbfant Jan 22, 2014 10:08 AM

                                                                                      My mother, who was from outside Philadelphia, used to love it. And they used to give it to us occasionally for lunch at school in Manhattan, but everybody hated it. I remember my mother would buy the meat in glass jars, I think at B. Altman (where she also would order Strode's scrapple), and my grandmother would make the cream sauce and put it on toast. I won't tell you how long ago that was.

                                                                                      1. jill kibler Jan 22, 2014 10:32 AM

                                                                                        It was the end of the month at our house...Midwest slightly past mid century. Budding beef in the package. We could stretch one package for all 5 of us! I remember hating to wash the dishes afterwards! Dad was in the navy for about 14 days...so probably not the influence.

                                                                                        1. c
                                                                                          Christina D Jan 22, 2014 10:52 AM

                                                                                          I grew up in the Baltimore area and chipped beef is very popular. I don't think it's so much military in origin, I think it's more a combination of PA Dutch influence and an inexpensive, rib-sticking option for a blue-collar community.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Christina D
                                                                                            grampart Jan 22, 2014 11:07 AM

                                                                                            The military may not be where it began, but it has a long history in our armed forces. Interesting read....
                                                                                            http://www.seabeecook.com/cookery/coo...

                                                                                          2. babette feasts Jan 22, 2014 02:49 PM

                                                                                            Not quite the same, but a family favorite is my late grandmother's dried beef balls. The thin sliced Armour dried beef, cream cheese, maybe a little horseradish, I'm not sure what else. Rolled into salty creamy little bite-sized balls and served with the pre-dinner snacks at holidays - Grandma's typical cocktail hour spread was beef balls, celery with cream cheese, olives, and goldfish crackers for the grandkids. Neither grandparent was in the military, but they were Depression era and very frugal.

                                                                                            1. jmckee Jan 23, 2014 08:44 AM

                                                                                              Not at all. I love the stuff. I even love the frozen Stouffer's version.

                                                                                              1. s
                                                                                                scoyart Jan 24, 2014 06:05 AM

                                                                                                I love both types--chipped beef and ground beef--grew up on it. Preferably with mashed potatoes but bread will do.

                                                                                                I make a version occasionally with ground beef, mushrooms, bell peppers, and peas topped with shredded cheese that I invented for the kids when they were little...I guess you could call it A La King, but we call it Volcano...pile the mashed potatoes high and let the gravy run over.

                                                                                                Hmm, it's 5 below zero, I think I know what's for dinner!

                                                                                                1. b
                                                                                                  betsydiver Jan 24, 2014 09:37 AM

                                                                                                  having it for breakfast right now... theStouffer's frozen

                                                                                                  1. d
                                                                                                    debbiel Jan 24, 2014 05:51 PM

                                                                                                    We grew up with the chipped beef (buddig chipped beef, thank you) on toast version. I loved it. Enough so that the first time I had family over after returning to meat eating, I served it as an hors d'oeuvres. Small toast squares. Spoon a bit of the chipped beef and sauce on. Tasty and wonderful memories.

                                                                                                    ETA: Oops. No one in my immediate family was in the service, but my dad's dad was in the navy, 1940s. And it was called shit on a shingle in our house.

                                                                                                    1. t
                                                                                                      Tovflu Jan 25, 2014 06:07 AM

                                                                                                      I feel like adding context: I'm 24, female, in upstate NY (I swear this is not a personal ad) with no connection to the military** and I love it. It being the version with the dried, salty beef (I know there are a few variants depending on the recipes you're looking at).

                                                                                                      **Oh, and it was not cooked for me growing up. Just something I came upon and started eating on my own.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: Tovflu
                                                                                                        breadchick Jan 25, 2014 06:53 AM

                                                                                                        Another upstate NY resident, and my mother made it all the time. It was cheap, and we all loved it.

                                                                                                        I used to make it years ago, and haven't in quite a while. Maybe I'll get the beef and make some for lunch on this freezing cold day. My husband loves it too.

                                                                                                        My husband (Navy man) called it by it's more colorful name!!

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