Minor British Institutions: Welsh Rarebit

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The Independent Online

Or Welsh Rabbit. In these politically correct times we ought to have found a new name for Welsh Rarebit (or Rabbit). The origins of the name perhaps go back to the 17th century but in any case are certainly obscure, and seem to be some sort of slight on the Welsh, to the effect that their idea of a rare, luxurious meat dish (eg, rabbit) is in fact cheese. Maybe we should just call it cheese on toast.

There are plenty of variations on the theme: bread drizzled in olive oil, if you please, though it doesn't seem that Welsh. You can also evolve your grated cheddar into something progressively more sauce-like, and you could even turn your Rarebit into a sandwich, but by now we are getting a bit croque-monsieur.

Thinly-sliced Hovis with tomato ketchup spread on the bread (pre-cheese topping) and coleslaw on the side is about as adventurous as most want, or need, to get with their Rarebit.