My maternal grandmother, Evelyn Jones, had a knack for making a little bit of meat go a long way. That talent proved particularly useful when my grandfather William returned home to Florida after World War II. While serving in the navy, he developed a fondness for creamed chipped beef on toast also known among servicemen as “Shit On A Shingle“. To satisfy his cravings, my grandmother regularly made creamed chipped beef, but instead of calling it by its dysphemism she created her own term: “Apcray On Apcray” (pseudo pig Latin for crap on crap). As she broadened her repertoire so that it included other creamed proteins, like chicken or tuna—a favorite of mine from the time I was little—those variations were also referred to by the same designation. To this day my mother carries on the apcray on apcray tradition, and so do I. Not only are these creamed dishes economical, comforting, and really delicious; they would, I think, make my grandfather proud.
The author's family tradition regarding creamed chipped beef on toast.