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Family Recipes: Creamed, Chipped Beef (Or S.O.S.)

Lucien Jung
Mitz Erickson spoons out creamed, chipped beef over a slice of toast. She says the meal was a staple in her childhood growing up in a military family that had to be resourceful with their food.

It was dinnertime, and Mitz Erickson was in a pickle. The young mother from Cudahy, Wis., needed to get dinner on the table and she wasn’t an enthusiastic cook. But while wandering the aisles of her grocery store, a memory came to her — creamed, chipped beef on toast. It's a dish her mother would make for her and her siblings long ago in Nebraska as a young military wife.

It was “Navy, army-type food back in the day, and I think it crept its way into American households just as a quick, easy, inexpensive food to make,” says Erickson.

It's the perfect solution for a weeknight dinner dilemma. The simple concoction of flour, milk, and dried beef hits all the vital flavor notes for a comfort food classic. Most importantly, it can be whipped up in a pinch. The recipe can also be jazzed up with peas or hot sauce. But for Erickson no additions are necessary. “For some reason I just don’t. I eat it like this.”

Mitz Erickson’s Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast (S*** on a Shingle)

  • 1 package (2 ½ ounces) dried beef
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Step 1: Cut dried beef into quarters.

Step 2: Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir in flour and gradually add the milk. Stir constantly until mixture thickens.

Step 3: Add dried beef, simmer for five minutes.

Step 4: Add black pepper. Serve over toasted white bread.

Editor's note: Family Recipes is produced by Lucien Jung, a long time contributor to Lake Effect. In Family Recipes, Lucien visits the kitchens of Milwaukee-area residents as they prepare special family dishes they remember from childhood.

Lucien Jung is a Milwaukee-based video and radio producer. His research in the IP-based distribution of multimedia has been presented at the Broadcast Education Association’s annual conference as well as the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture. Lucien is a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications master’s program in Television-Radio-Film.