Mother was the queen of making meals that seriously looked like someone had upchucked a previous meal onto your plate. One of the items she made was commonly referred to as “Shit on a Shingle” (or SOS) by the military. My sister and I both suspected she had learn make SOS during her brief military career.
The meal is also called Creamed Chipped Beef. If made properly it tastes very good and is a very inexpensive meal to serve. It is often served over piping hot, right out of the oven, buttery biscuits. Well, that was not the case with Mother’s cooking methods.
If she had enough bread that wasn’t too moldy, it was served over dry toast. If the bread had not only expired but was moldy enough that it could serve as a science experiment at the local high school, then it was up for grabs what you would be served with the “Shit”. Sometimes there was no shingle at all so you slopped up the messy glop the best you could and tried to not to think about how unappetizing the plate looked.
Because she did not have the ability or the energy to plan her meals, there may or may not be something to accompany the SOS. Trust me, after eating it you were ready to send up the white flag in surrender!
Once my sister Abby and I were away from her kitchen disasters, we learned to experiment in the kitchen. While in college, if we were short on funds (as college students often are) we made Creamed Chipped Beef and found it to be tasty and it met our budget guidelines. We never served it without buttery biscuits or toast and always had fresh bread.
I must say (which is very Ed Grimley of me! Look it up on an old SNL if you need a reminder) that we have both grown to be excellent cooks and meal planners. After growing up with a mother who never knew from one moment to the next what was for dinner, Abby and I always have a plan. We make sure to have plenty of food and make it tasty. Mother was the consummate fly by the seat of your pants meal maker. Abby and I believe in organizing, planning, and serving well balanced meals.
And we would never ever think about serving moldy bread to our guests.