Just in time for breakfast

Shit on a Shingle might not sound dinner-appropriate, but it’s definitely breakfast-appropriate.

The unofficial term—abbreviated as “S.O.S.”—became popular slang among American soldiers during World War II. It refers to “cream chipped beef on toast,” a dish that’s been featured in Army cookbooks for over 100 years.


Man, I grew up on this shit. When my dad wasn’t off hunting and fishing on Uncle Sam’s dime or shooting at motherfuckers, he did the cooking on the weekends. Breakfast for 17 years (give or take a couple three years) consisted of SOS, fried eggs and fried potatoes – every weekend.
I still love it.

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19 Responses to Just in time for breakfast

  1. Robbie says:

    While we were dating, my wonderful wife got the Army recipe for SOS from a coworker.

    I was a goner from that moment on. ;-)

  2. Rob says:

    SOS on fried potatoes with a couple of eggs on top of that… it does not get any better!

    • ABE says:

      Absolutely! I’ve been eating SOS for almost sixty years. It wasn’t until the last twenty or so that I dropped the shingles and just put it on my spuds. Add a couple of fried eggs on top and you’ve got heaven.

      Whenever I go to a diner, I ask for an order on the side and they go right on top of my hash browns.

  3. hvlee says:

    Always liked it. In the Army, seemed like it was hamburger instead of chipped beef.

  4. Flugelman says:

    My bride makes a killer hamburger stroganoff for dinner. Guess what? Breakfast next day is two eggs on toast topped with leftover stroganoff. Heaven!

  5. mrgarabaldi says:

    Hey Kenny;

    My Dad being Military, yeah I got S.O.S. a lot in the 1970's and loved it..it would "stick to the ribs". Once I went into the Army, I continued eating the stuff. I haven't had it in a long while...nobody makes it anymore...

  6. mostly cajun says:

    The very best of army breakfasts – suitable for staving off the commie hordes.

    Even after I got out, a the National Matches in Camp Perry, a national guard messhall served SOS to us ragged civilian shooters.


  7. Bill says:

    Definitely my favorite, even to the point of plate licking

  8. Nemo says:

    My mother used to make the Army version for dinner every once in a while. I had a craving for it a couple years ago so tried to find the salted beef in a glass jar that I remember she made it from, at my local grocery store. What’s in those jars these days in no way shape or form resembles the salted beef I remember, so I passed.

    The Navy version when I was in, at least at NAS Argentia NFLD, was hamburger and onions in a coarse ground tomato sauce. I used to eat a cereal bowl full every morning along with two eggs and toast.

  9. SgtBob says:

    When my mother served SOS, she called it “Same old stuff.” She was a Texas lady.

  10. 9Booger says:

    I still make it to this day, 20+ years after getting out of the Corps

  11. Ogrrre says:

    Back when I was a young kid, we were poor (even if we didn’t know it). Mom would make SOS using hot dogs instead of hamburger. It was good. As dad increased in pay grade, she switched to hamburger, and it was still good. I liked it then, and I like it now.

  12. Skipperdaddy says:

    My Pops was a one trick pony when it came to breakfast too. If you dont have home fries, it aint breakfast.

  13. Rooster says:

    Even better with hot sauce! Uhmmmmm


  14. Gater, OKC says:

    My favorite diner here in Oklahoma City has a breakfast dish called “SLOP” (don’t know what it means.

    SLOP consists of chopped sausage patties, sliced link sausage, scrambled eggs, and hash brown potatoes, all mixed together, covered in sausage gravy, served with sliced toast.

    Wonderful and filling. Have it for breakfast, you don’t need to eat again until dinner.

    • wes says:

      Here’s our slop recipe.

      Hashbrowns or thin sliced spuds, diced red and green peppers, diced tomato, bacon, ground sausage, eggs, grated cheese, chopped mushrooms, country gravy, tobasco sauce.

      Fry the spuds, scramble the eggs, brown the bacon and sausage. Fold meat and spuds together. Toss in the peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms. Fold that in. Cover in grated cheese and smother with country gravy. Tobasco to taste.

      We usually make two big cast iron skillets of it and if you don’t get firsts there’s no going back for seconds because it’s all gone.

      And you’re right it will carry you from breakfast to dinner and there’s lots of times we’ll have it for a dinner.


  15. bobdog says:

    Had it when I was a kid when money was tight. Had it again in the Army, although I think it was sausage and red eye gravy. It’s been a long time, so maybe I’m wrong. You can still order this stuff at Bob Evans and Denny’s, I think.

    Never did like the stuff.

  16. Stretch says:

    Local diner has SOS on it’s menu.
    I get it on an English muffin ’cause those little holes in the muffin hold the sauce real well.
    Usually place a regular order (SOS, sausage patties, spiced apples) then a follow up with just the muffin and creamed chipped beef

  17. Tom from East Tennessee says:

    From my old boat, USS Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657)

    Courtesy of Russ Christie, MT1/SS

    Crews Mess

    Looking at the pictures and reading the sea stories on this web site can certainly bring back memories but they are hard to share with others who were never on a sub. But something you can share with them is a sampling of the “great” food experienced on a submarine. I found these memorable recipes on Ron Martini’s submarine web page. I have added a few comments of my own below to make it more of a true submarine experience but give them a try. They are simple to make and will fill your home with the aroma of middle level ops on a Sunday morning.

    To make it really authentic, start by putting on a stained, formerly white T-shirt. Stay awake for the 24 hours prior, washing the same coffee cups over and over. Scrub the kitchen floor on your hands and knees with a greenie pad and the worst smelling detergent you can find, then wake your family an hour before you start cooking and make them wait in the cellar. Then start making breakfast using one of the recipes below. When it is just about ready, call your family up from the cellar but make them use a ladder instead of the stairs and make sure they step on each others hands. Swear at everyone you see. Now it is a real submarine experience for all.

    Recipes and Food Tidbits for Boat Sailors

    SOS – Sh*t on a Shingle:

    Brown and chop up about a pound of hamburger. Drain off any excess grease (leave it for a more authentic meal). Let cool slightly. In a plastic bag, put a cup of white flour, salt & pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Put the hamburger in the bag with the flour mixture, twist the top, and shake until all the hamburger is covered with the flour mixture.

    Put about two cups of milk in a sauce pan over medium heat, and add in the hamburger mixture. Stir until the sauce thickens to the consistency you like. You can put it over toast, or just eat it plain. (Or you can use it to fill those holes in your driveway)

    Creamed Chipped Beef (FOT): (For those who can’t remember what FOT stands for… you’re lucky.)

    Cut the beef into thin strips Note: One jar of this beef will make about three meals, so you will only need about a third of the jar for a two person meal. (Note: Who the hell buys beef in a jar?)

    Put two tablespoons of canola oil in a sauce pan on medium heat. Add two heaping tablespoons of flour, and pepper to taste. The beef is pretty salty, so you'll have to experiment around with whether you want to add any salt now, or wait until it gets on your plate.

    Stir the oil and flour mixture until the flour just starts to brown. Add a cup and a half of milk, stirring constantly until the mixture starts to thicken. Add the beef strips, stirring to get a uniform distribution. Turn down the heat to low and let simmer for about 5 min, or until your toast is done. (Goes well with a dry chardonnay)

    These recipes, except for the words in italics, are real. Give them a try. My kids are still gagging. If any of the MS guys out there have any other sub recipes they would like to share (like sticky buns or dynamited chicken – yum), please send them along to ssbn657@comcast.net. Below are a couple of pictures of the mess areas on the Key – and my attempt at S.O.S.

    Crews Mess and Ward Room on the Key.

    PS: Sunday, October 22, 2006 – From: Russ Christie

    OK, I made the S.O.S. for breakfast this morning and it tastes like S. I have a few suggestions. First, I did not use 1lb of hamburger but 1/2 pound because I knew no one else in my family would try it. I used a cup of flour as directed in the instructions. I should have used much less. After frying the hamburger and putting it in the plastic bag and mixing it with the flour and garlic powder, I dumped it into a pan with a cup of milk. The excess flour made the mixture as thick as mud so I kept adding milk to get it to a mixture I could at least stir. I would recommend using only 1/2 to 3/4 cup of flour and just a dash or two of garlic powder. You can always add more garlic later but you can’t take too much away after it is in the mixture – take it from me! After those corrections, it wasn’t bad at all. To prove I actually did make it, see the picture below.

    Now doesn’t that take you back to the good old days on the boats. Well, I’m off to the head – Courtesy Flush!!!

Play nice.