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Swede dines on WWII-era beef: it tasted 'okay'

Published: 24 Aug 2011 13:30 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 Aug 2011 13:30 GMT+02:00

Swedish pensioner Eskil Carlsson on Tuesday decided the time was ripe to treat his neighbours to a cut of beef which had been stored in a glass jar by his family for over 70 years, revealing that it had held the test of time.

"It didn't smell much, it didn't smell bad anyway. It was as if it had been meat from this week. I shouldn't exaggerate though, it was no delicacy," Eskil Carlsson told The Local on Wednesday.

Carlsson explained that the choice cut originated from around 1939/40 when there was a shortage of food in Sweden and wartime rationing was in force.

"My parents-in-law had a contact in the countryside and bought three kilos of brisket and put it in one of the old-style glass jars with the rubber ring," he said.

The glass container was left untouched in the immediate post-war years as the family wanted to save it in case "the bad times returned".

"I came into the picture after about ten years. By then the family had developed respect for the jar, that it had stayed sealed. We talked about it from time to time and it became like a member of the family," he said.

Carlsson told The Local that the glass jar moved with the family when they came to Eskilstuna in eastern Sweden and when his wife passed away, he decided that after 70 years it was time to check the state of the jar's contents.

"I figured that 70 years was enough and that it would be a catastrophe if it started to leak and was thus destroyed. So I decided to make a bit an occasion and invited the neighbours for the opening."

The neighbours were invited to Carlsson's garage for the ceremonial opening of the brisket jar, and were all invited to partake in the testing.

"We did our homework and consulted the authorities about what might happen and they said there shouldn't be a problem."

But despite advice that the meat would most probably remain edible, Carlsson decided to take a cautious approach and invite his cat to be the guinea-pig.

"The cat got the first taste and when it survived, we all had a taste," he said.

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Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:57 August 24, 2011 by fikatid
His cat must have felt so loved by its owner.
14:02 August 24, 2011 by Little Moo
The old man said he kept the jar sealed in case bad times returned. Probably he was so scared by the news about the new recession he decided to open the jar. Shame on Obama, Greek government and Standard & Poor!
14:24 August 24, 2011 by rohermoker
I now have hope for my Y2K beans and rice I have saved for "hard times" and was to scared to eat---yet----
14:51 August 24, 2011 by canam
Sounds like a lot of the meat I've had here.
17:20 August 24, 2011 by spy
Generally the only people who think that Swedish food is good are Swedes who haven't travelled outside their country much. I can quite believe that this gentleman thought that the beef was delicious.
17:39 August 24, 2011 by fikatid
@spy: I totally agree with you. Swedish food is blend and "generic". Every coffee shop serves the same princess cake and salad topped with a few tiny shrimps. Swedish food lacks flavors and variety. It's simply boring without any excitement. If you've been to cities like Nice, you will taste the difference. :)
17:45 August 24, 2011 by Svensksmith
Then he ate the cat and that tasted better.
21:32 August 24, 2011 by StockholmSam
I think someone should perform a follow-up report next week.
22:16 August 24, 2011 by wxman
"The glass container was left untouched in the immediate post-war years as the family wanted to save it in case 'the bad times returned'". When, pray tell, were those bad years? During the war? Sweden wasn't even in the war!
22:47 August 24, 2011 by Ivan Juric
Probably still would of tasted better than McDonalds.
00:23 August 25, 2011 by axiom
Poor cat :D
04:04 August 25, 2011 by Da Goat
I think he might have jumped the gun, the bad times are just starting an he ate the beef now he will need to go out and bottle up another chunk for later!

probably bottling it made it better than it was before!
13:55 August 26, 2011 by thomas_w_bowman
In the 1970's I regurlarly ate WWII C-Rations (Canned Rations) when in the US Army, the canned food was OK, but the cigarettes were very very dried out...

However the meat was stored must have been good technique, perhaps it's time to prepare some more, just in case...
16:00 August 26, 2011 by Borilla
Also known as "British cuisine".
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