Ya' learn something old every day
Cleaning up the kitchen I noticed that the recipe I printed out was titled Welsh Rarebit. I thought I had googled for Welsh rabbit, and I remarked at how clever Google was to know that the two terms are synonymous. (It turns out I had typed rarebit after all, and Google merely returned what I had asked for. Oh well.) My wife said she was sure she had never heard anyone call the dish rabbit and had only heard rarebit. A trip to Google Fight showed that both terms are in current use. Dictionaries treat rarebit as a variant of rabbit. (The history of the term is interesting; it’s a precursor of our modern battles over politically correct speech.)
Anyway, I continued to explore and happened upon this page, where I learned a couple of interesting old facts. The first is that the modern American version of the dish is rather sissified, a cheese-flavored cream sauce with a few other ingredients tossed in for flavor. The rightpondian original was pretty much melted cheese softened with a bit of ale and some seasoning. I’ll have to try it that way next time.
The second old thing I learned was that in the days before stoves, when cooking was done on the hearth, the implement used for broiling the top of something like a Welsh rabbit was a salamander, so called because it rather looks like one (as you can see on the page linked above).
Why is this interesting? It’s interesting because the commercial broiler used in restaurant kitchens is also called a salamander, a name that never made any sense at all to me until I went googling down the rabbit hole this evening.
Ya’ learn something old every day.