Definitions

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. meat preserved in a can or tin

Etymologies

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  • "Canning offered a solution to the problem of urban supply and when cattle-plague hit in the 1860s, Australian tinned meat -- coarse-grained, overdone lumps with a wad of fat -- cost less than half the price of fresh meat and business boomed.* So unpopular that the navy called it 'Fanny Adams' after the eight-year-old whose murder had shocked the nation,** tinned meat was generally foul, but it was cheap and it came in handy for unexpected guests, titivated into soups, stews and rissoles. As the United States recovered from its Civil War, its canning factories went into overdrive: exports to Britain rose from seven tonnes in 1866 to about ten thousand tonnes five years later. ...

    * Sixteen thousand pounds of Australian tinned meat were imported in 1866, compared to twenty-two million pounds only five years later.

    **The scandals of earlier attempts at canning that had produced putrid meat had been broadly forgotten. It is likely that the tinned meat supplied to Sir John Franklin's fated 1850 expedition to find the North-West Passage had been boiled in salt water to save fuel, remaining partially raw at its core, rotting and poisoning many of the crew. Others believe that lead found in the tinned containers weakened the men."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 299

    January 18, 2017