Swede dines on WWII-era beef: it tasted ‘okay’

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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