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Chipped Beef - Military Delicacy

Food has been part of U.S. soldier diets for more than 50 years.


Chipped Beef - Military Delicacy
Updated August 24, 2011

Love it or hate it, chipped beef has been a food staple of the U.S. military since World War II.

Same Old Stuff (S.O.S)

Chipped beef is a thinly sliced or pressed piece of dried beef that is salted and delivered in vacuum sealed packages. The main manufacturer of chipped beef in the U.S. is Hormel Foods Corporation based in Minnesota. In the U.S. military, "chipped beef on toast" has been served in mess halls since the Second World War. Chipped beef on toast consists of slivers of dried beef in a white cream sauce served on toasted bread. Hormel recommends flavouring this dish with Worcestershire sauce. However, most soldiers dislike this dish and chipped beef in general. 

Among rank and file soldiers, chipped beef on toast is often referred to as "Shit on a Shingle," or "Stew on a Shingle," or simply as "Same Old Stuff." For many U.S. soldiers, chipped beef is emblematic of their service career and military experience. In fact, there is a book of military humour in the U.S. titled "Chipped Beef On Toast (S.O.S)." The popular World War II book titled "Band of Brothers" contains several references to chipped beef. However, despite its association with the U.S. military, chipped beef can be found in specialty grocery stores and some restaurants – mostly diners. 

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