I am fond of custard (you can take a girl out of England… and all that), so naturally homed in on the phrase ‘Bummer’s Custard’ when it popped uninvited into my Google field of view one day recently. A less well-known brand than Bird’s perchance? A name for custard made especially for tramps or hoboes? A custard to compensate for a bummer of an outcome in something or other?
The recipe appears in two or three cookbooks of the 1909-1912 period, then seems to have sunk without a trace – or so it appears from my brief investigation. The real mystery however, lurks in the recipe itself.
Take half a pound of Roquefort cheese, divide into three equal parts. Rub up one-third with olive oil, one third with Worcestershire sauce, and one third with cognac. Mix all together until it is of the consistency of custard, and add a dash of cayenne. This is delicious served on hot toast or crackers.
Two hundred recipes for making salads with thirty recipes for dressings and sauces, Olive Hulse, Chicago, 1910
In other words, it is the custard you have when you would really rather be having Welsh Rabbit, or vice-versa. How strange is this? And from whence did the strange name originate?
Another recipe book has it:
Bummers Custard Sandwich.
Take a cake of Roquefort cheese and divide in thirds; moisten one third with brandy, another third with olive oil, and the other third with Worcestershire sauce. Mix all together and place between split water biscuits toasted. Good for a stag lunch.
The Up-to-Date Sandwich Book,1909
Peripheral mysteries to the naming are (i) why would anyone use three bowls to mix this? (ii) what makes it so suitable for a stag party?
Quotation for the Day.
When men reach their sixties and retire, they go to pieces. Women go right on cooking.