I’m generally thought to be a fairly good internet researcher, tho I have not been able to come up with the origin of “SOS” or “Shit on a Shingle” as it was referred to by generations of US armed service employees. (A more polite version of the abbreviation might be “Stuff on a shingle’ or “Same old stuff.”)
A common description for chipped beef in a cream sauce, served over toast, “SOS” is thought to have been created in the Southern United States prior to 1900 as a way of extending leftovers. It may be a variant of sausage gravy. The Stouffer’s package describes it as “tender strips of dried beef in a seasoned creamy sauce.”
Variations on the dish may include using ground beef in lieu of chipped beef.
What is chipped beef? Hormel used to describe their own version of this as “an air-dried product that is similar to bresaola, but not as tasty.”
The meat is swimming in a white sauce, and served over toast, generally as a breakfast dish. It used to be a standard in diners, but is difficult to find these days. Chain restaurants have replaced it with sausage gravy, for the most part.
It is generally very salty, and Stouffer’s version (a boiling bag product) has a half-day’s RDA of sodium in a serving.
In my memory, we were never served this at home when I was growing up, but we did frequently have jars of the Hormel processed meat product in the pantry. I’m not really sure what for.
Stouffer’s instructions tell you to place the sealed pouch in boiling water for 18 minutes; alternatively, you may elect to pierce the pouch, place it in a bowl, and microwave for 9 minutes. Open pouch, pour over toast.
I’ve always had a fondness for this dish, probably because (some would say) I’m addicted to salt.
Regardless of my motivation, I picked up a packet of it recently, and enjoyed it last nite.
If you’re inclined to make it at home, from scratch, here’s a recipe that serves 60, from the 1910 edition of “Manual for Army Cooks.”