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Remembering Welsh rabbit

January 10, 2007

FOR native Angelenos of my vintage (ancient), Welsh rabbit ["Clever Rabbit Tricks," by Charles Perry, Jan. 3] and the old Cock N' Bull restaurant on Sunset will be forever intertwined. There, Welsh rabbit was the standard first course.

In my younger days I used to make the Cock N' Bull Welsh rabbit at home from a recipe printed in a small cookbook devoted to the famous dishes of old-line L.A. restaurants. That recipe has long vanished into the mysterious abyss where lie cookbooks that were only used for one dish. Cheddar, beer and Worcestershire sauce were part of the mix, and the result, like that served in the restaurant, was delicious.




THANK you for the interesting, informative column on Welsh rabbit.

Charles Perry wrote that "... nobody's sure how the name came about." Not exactly true.

Many Englishmen are quite sure that the name is a put-down of the Welsh peasantry who could afford only simple bread and cheese while the English gentry were able to feast on rabbit. As for the "rarebit" pronunciation, that may have to do with Welsh dialect as it was years ago. I do not vouch for the truth of any of this. But some of my English friends are pretty sure of how Welsh rabbit (or rarebit) got its name.



Perry replies: Although some people are sure that "Welsh rabbit" is a put-down and others that it's jocular, the origin of the name is unclear. There are cheese dishes called "rabbits" (no one knows why) in many parts of western and southwestern England. Perhaps the dish became associated with Wales in particular because the Welsh had been proverbial since the Middle Ages for loving caws pobi (roast cheese).

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