Mrs Beeton’s Excellent Beef Tea for Invalids

Mrs I. M. Beeton (12th March 1836 – 6th Feb 1865)

BEEF TEA

Ingredients. – 1 lb. of lean gravy-beef, 1 quart of water, 1 saltspoonful of salt.

Mode.—Have the meat cut without fat and bone, and choose a nice fleshy piece. Cut it into small pieces about the size of dice, and put it into a clean saucepan. Add the water cold to it; put it on the fire, and bring it to the boiling-point; then skim well. Put in the salt when the water boils, and simmer the beef tea gently from 1/2 to 3/4 hour, removing any more scum should it appear on the surface. Strain the tea through a hair sieve, and set it by in a cool place. When wanted for use, remove every particle of fat from the top; warm up as much as may be required, adding, if necessary, a little more salt. This preparation is simple beef tea, and is to be administered to those invalids to whom flavourings and seasonings are not allowed. When the patient is very low, use double the quantity of meat to the same proportion of water. Should the invalid be able to take the tea prepared in a more palatable manner, it is easy to make it so by following the directions in the next recipe, which is an admirable one for making savoury beef tea. Beef tea is always better when made the day before it is wanted, and then warmed up. It is a good plan to put the tea into a small cup or basin, and to place this basin in a saucepan of boiling water. When the tea is warm, it is ready to serve.

Time.—1/4 to 3/4 hour. Average cost, 6d. per pint.

Sufficient.—Allow 1 lb. of meat for a pint of good beef tea.

This may seem strange and perhaps even downright revolting but let’s not forget that Bovril is still a popular drink throughout Britain and what is Bovril if not a beef tea? In the interests of safety I would recommend against making this unless you have an iron constitution and a few days without commitments!

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