Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Welsh Rabbit or Welsh Rarebit?

Many years ago, we lived in Newport News, VA.  Sundays found us taking the short drive to Williamsburg.  This was the era of Williamsburg before the big amusement park arrived.  It was a quiet town where one could leisurely step into the past and spend an afternoon up close and personal with history.  The only buildings one had to pay to visit were The Capitol and The Governor's Palace.

We'd arrive, park at the Visitor's Center and take the bus (free back then) to the restored area.  First we'd visit some of our favorite places or just wander through the gardens.  A few times we attended services at Bruton Parish Church.  We'd then find a comfortable spot under a shading tree, spread out our blanket and read the Washington Post or a novel.  Sometimes we'd take a short nap.

Then we'd head over to Chowning's Tavern for an early supper.  All the other restaurants required reservations.  One could just line up at Josiah's "place".  When the weather was good, we opted to eat in the garden.  Our favorite meal was Welsh Rabbit.  I, along with others, am unsure of where the name actually came from.  Some say it was a slur on the Welsh.  The truth is, there's no rabbit involved in this delicious tavern dish.  Some recipes call it Welsh Rarebit which seems much nicer.  It's a bit like fondue but with cheddar cheese.

Welsh Rabbit or Rarebit
(The Williamsburg Cookbook with a few changes by me)

1 tbsp butter
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup beer
dash of Tabasco (to taste)
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Melt butter over medium heat
Add cheese and beer and stir over medium to low heat until the cheese melts
Stir in the Tabasco, mustard and Worcestershire sauce

Serve over toast.

Serves 4

Leftovers can be brought to room temperature and spread on bread and placed under the broiler.



  1. This is so simple but oh so delicious. My grandmother used to make this when I was a child and we all loved it.

  2. Oh my goodness, this brings back memories. My mom used to make this when we were kids!

  3. I've never had it as my mother always made grilled cheese sandwiches when I was little. I like the sound of the seasonings in this. I'll have to give it a try!

    How nice it must have been in Williamsburg then!

  4. I remember making this when I was a kid. Such a blast from a delicious past!!!

  5. Bonnie,

    Been there and had that!!!

    I haven't made this for years - probably will soon, though. Looks like you served it on Fiesta. Great shot. I went out to take pictures yesterday with the Rebel - dodn't get many good shots. I am sure it is operator error....

  6. Hi Bonnie! Oh, yummy! You know I've never made this and always was a little intimidated by it - no more! You're cured me. I'm going to do this. It looks delicious.
    Oh, I felt like I was right there in your post today being that we were just in Williamsburg a few weeks ago and actually attended that church! :)
    Hope your day is wonderful.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  7. When fondue came into style back in the 60's, my favorite was Welsh Rarebit. This is what I made for fondue and it was so good. Gonna make it again, it has been too long.

    Thanks for sharing,

  8. Never heard of that...sounds great though! Carla

  9. I was about to say i don't eat Rabbit and then i read the recipe. this rabbit i could eat and its sooo easy.

  10. Sure looks good!and sounds so easy. I have read about it but never made this, never tasted it. I know my husbank would love this.thanks.

  11. Comfort food at it's finest! It all depends on the cheddar...I like a really sharp one that is almost grainy.

  12. How coincidental...when I make my fondue I add some strong cheddar to the mix.

    Bonnie...now I know a little bit more of a recipe that has no rabbit.

    Flavourful wishes,

  13. Wow! This is so easy!! I'm going to make it, and cut the recipe in half for the two of us, we don't need a pound of cheese! It looks lovely and comforting in your photo!

  14. So I've never heard or seen this before...but it sounds right up my alley. Bread and cheese has to be one of my all time favorites. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us. Simple yet delicious.

  15. YUM! This is making me drool. I SO can't wait to get back to my kitchen!
    xoxo Pattie

  16. The title threw me off a little until I read the recipe. Yummy! I've never heard of this but it looks so cheesy delish!

  17. This brings back memories! It's been years ...

  18. What a simple and elegant classic meal. I have never visited Williamsburg (sad for me).

  19. What could be better than bread and cheese? This looks yummy. I remember Williamsburg before the amusement park(s). My sis went to Wm.& Mary so we spent a lot of time there. (Jamestown too.) It's a beautiful place!

  20. My grandmother made this for me often when I was growing up, and we always called it Welsh rarebit.

    She served it on toast with tomato slices and bacon. I, however, don't like tomatoes, so I just used the bacon. And she never used cheddar cheese...it was ALWAYS Velveeta. In fact, whenever I happen to eat a piece of Velveeta nowadays, it brings back memories of rarebit at Grandma's.

    Blessings to you,

  21. I always misread welsh rarebit as welsh rabbit and so the dish's contents eluded me for such a long time! Rarebit does sound much nicer...as does cheese fondue!

  22. So simple and delicious. Never had it but will try it.

  23. My Mom used to make this all the time and serve it over Saltine crackers. We always called it Welsh Rabbit!

  24. And now I know what this is. ha ha!


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