The Untold Truth Of Canned Corned Beef

The article notes that corned beef was long issued to British troops for when normal catering could not be provided (such as during tours of duty in the trenches during the Great War). It was so ubiquitous during the War that I titled my book about food during the conflict “Bully Beef & Biscuits”. Bully beef long being the slang name for it in the British army.


My mother always added boiled potatoes and sauteed onions to it to make her own corned beef hash. I usually do the same, as it’s way better than canned hash. I once ground up some corned beef deli ends, thinking it would make better hash than the canned mush. It didn’t, even with added bacon grease.


I love canned corned beef but my wife says she wouldn’t feed it to our dog. I got hooked on it when I was a kid. A read a book about a navy destroyer patrolling the Atlantic during WWII. There was a scene where the ship’s cook made the captain his favorite watch meal. It was a corned beef sandwich made on toast with thick slices of canned corned beef, onions and mayo. It inspired me to make the sandwich and I occasionally make it today.


No love here for spam?

1 Like

So how did Spam lead to the popularity of canned corned beef? According to The Jewish News, the Israeli Defense Forces wanted to feed tinned meat to their conscripts, but they had a problem: Spam wasn’t kosher. After World War II, the IDF developed its own kosher canned corned beef called Loof (short for “meatloaf”). It continued to serve Loof to soldiers through the early 21st century because the product could last decades if stored correctly. One Israeli soldier said in 2011 that he ate a can of Loof made before he was born. It turns out, age hadn’t affected the Loof at all, and in the words of the soldier, “It wasn’t bad.”

Israel isn’t the only military that relied on canned corned beef. The British fed it to their fighting men from the 19th century through WWII (via We Are Not Foodies).

Read More:

For some reason spam was somewhat wildly popular for a brief time where I grew up. I’d reach for canned corned beef before reaching for spam. I :heart: Israel and would not want to face them as a military adversary.

1 Like