Creamed chipped beef on toast is a popular breakfast dish in the United States. It is most commonly served in diners in the northeast, where I lived most of my life, though it can be found in other areas of the country as well. It consists of a form of dried cured beef swimming in a simple white gravy (which is similar to a bechamel sauce) poured over toast. Sometimes scrambled eggs are first placed over the toast and the creamed chipped beef is poured over top.
It seems to have originated at some point during World War II, when it was served to many military companies daily, and at times was served for every meal. The reason for this was that it was quick to prepare, and the meat was cured so it was easy to keep a large supply on hand without worrying about spoilage. Soldiers are said to have had a love hate relationship with it. Many of them enjoyed it but certainly got sick of eating the same thing all the time. These soldiers are said to be the people who coined the popular nickname of this dish “Shit on a Shingle”, because, as unappetizing as it may sound, it kinda looks like bird poop on a roof shingle. Please do not let this funny factoid scare you away. It is totally delicious!
Much to my dismay it is purely USA fare and I now live in Canada. It just doesn’t feel right to go out to breakfast and not see it on the menu. Luckily for me, however, it is super easy to prepare. The only problem is that the main ingredient, the dried beef, is also only sold in the USA. So, as with so many other foods, I must buy a bunch whenever I venture south of the border. Sigh. So if you want to try to make this, despite the lovely nickname, and you do not live in the USA you are probably out of luck, unless you can take a trip or have it shipped to you somehow. If you live in the USA you should have no problem finding dried beef in the grocery store.
Sliced Dried Beef