The Americans protest too much

New Zealand has claimed the “abomination” and “monstrosity” that is mince on toast, after uproar in the UK when an American food website said it was a classic of British cuisine.

The US website eater.com posted a video featuring mince on toast to Twitter on Monday, saying: “Mince meat on toast is a quintessential British comfort classic.”

Sigh, add tomato and toast a bun, not a slice, and you’ve a Sloppy Joe, which actually is a classic American dish. Eaten as a hamburger, kids just adore it. Because, you know, mince eaten like a hamburger, who wouldn’t love that mess?

Far the more interesting point being made here to us intellectualliti is this:

“To me it is something that has been around for ever: we had it as children and I would say generations of people on farms have eaten it in New Zealand,” said Helen Jackson, a food writer and former food editor at the New Zealand Women’s Weekly magazine.

“It is an absolute rural classic. Rural people used to have meat for pretty much three meals a day and you could heat leftover mince up for lunch or Sunday night dinner with buttered toast.

“And we’d make mince and cheese toasted sandwiches as well.”

No wonder NZ was such a popular place to emigrate to. It was very late in the day indeed that the British working classes had red meat three times a day. Where just the waste from the last meal was enough meat for the next.

Yes, yes, I know all those recipes like cottage pie and so on but again, it was late in the day that even they became something other than a treat.

16 comments on “The Americans protest too much

  1. Mince and tatties was a popular Scottish dish, though not necessarily an English one. Not sure about the slice of toast. Meat every day would be pushing the boat out…cheese and mac and cheese and potato pie being the more likely. I still manage to eke out three days of meals from one joint of meat (if you go to the trouble of roasting something it needs to be big enough to make the exercise worthwhile…and there are only two of us). But you’re right: affluence (and obesity) is a more recent phenomenon.

  2. I seem to remember Engels marveling about how regular and often the english working class ate beef compared to their German equivalents who managed it very rarely on feast days.

  3. I had some leftover bolognese between two slices of bread for my lunch on Monday.

    Is that Italian, English, or an abomination?

  4. A New Zealand culinary classic is tinned pineapple and tinned spaghetti on a pizza. I’m going to think twice before taking Kiwi advice on food…

  5. I’m not keen on the Kiwi idea that you can dish up pumpkin in some form or other for any course in a three course meal.

  6. BiG – Sounds like an unusual example of fusion cuisine.

    I trust you served it up on a large plate, and only ate half of it.

  7. I have never before heard of mince on toast never mind it being British classic comfort food.

    Sounds to me like Fake News.

  8. I have never in my life eaten, or seen, mince on toast. And that’s in spite of some of the very odd lunches that were provided after away matches at schoolboy rugby.

    Mince and tatties, on the other hand, is a fine repast as long as the mince is “best steak, minced” and lightly curried. Mmmmm.

  9. I had some leftover bolognese between two slices of bread for my lunch on Monday.

    Is that Italian, English, or an abomination?

    All three.

  10. I read somewhere that eating in New Zealand was like being whisked off in a time machine to 1950’s Britain. If it turned out Woolton Pie was a Kiwi favourite I wouldn’t be surprised.

  11. There’s another similar but more obscure/regional dish in America called “loose meat”. Sometimes this is known as a tavern sandwich.

    Most people knew nothing about this, unless they were from the upper midwest, before the TV show “Roseanne”, where they opened a small business serving these for lunch.

    Both are basically sloppy joes, without the tomato-ey sauce. And some people even make it by simmering the browned ground beef and onion mixture with … gasp … a can of Coca-Cola. Try it sometime. It’s weird, but it works.

  12. “with … gasp … a can of Coca-Cola. Try it sometime. It’s weird, but it works.” But doesn’t all the aluminium make it dangerous?

  13. Bloke in Costa Rica

    “I read somewhere that eating in New Zealand was like being whisked off in a time machine to 1950’s Britain.”

    Sort of true, until about 25 years ago. Meat was far, far more plentiful than 50’s Britain. Almost everyone I knew growing up had a large, second freezer full of meat.

  14. Local cafe does mince on toast; as did the one local to my last employer. From my experience it is mostly consumed by slightly hungover Mainlanders and Westies – us metropolitan jafas wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole.

    Re: Flatcap Army

    Yes, I know – pineapple and tinned spaghetti on a pizza – disgusting stuff. Everyone knows that pineapple has no place on a pizza!

  15. Re: David

    Almost everyone I knew growing up had a large, second freezer full of meat.

    Still do – the next door neighbour’s parents have live on a lifestyle block so we buy a share in a home kill a few times a year.

  16. Grew up in NZ in the ’50s and ’60’. Mince was a common meal and always cooked like Bolognese – without all the foreign muck, just fried then stewed – magic when you knew no better. Reheated and served on buttered toast it was great for hangovers.
    Left home early 20’s and returned for a holiday about 10 years later, really looking forward to Mum’s mince but was horrified to find it was so salty I couldn’t eat it!
    Anyone who grew up with mince and never made the connection with serving it on toast is obviously mentally deficient, I really loved the way the juice soaked into the toast, the quintessential Mary Berry’s soggy bottom!
    Dearieme, like your comments on quite a few blogs but you’ve lost some of your stature with you’re comments on this staple.

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