Tuesday, March 11, 2008


This British mainstay—this pinnacle of cuisine—has been with us since 1870, when soldiers fighting for Napoleon III needed to keep up their strength in their campaigns against the filthy Prussians. Since then, Bovril brand cow glop has warmed the guts of WWI fighters battling for old Blighty, as well as British soccer hooligans.

Bovril was originally known as Johnston's Fluid Beef.

Fluid beef.

Fluid. Beef.

(Texas Pork Puff flashbacks! We're already cramping and seeing spots.)

That concludes the history lesson. Now let's see what we can see.

A confident cow leans from her spacious home-on-the-rails—no cattle car for her!—and asks the first human she sees whether she could make a directed donation. That is, to designate the final disposition of her earthly remains. Of course she's on her way to slaughter, but the honor of winding up in a jar of Bovril would go a long way to easing the last leg of her life's journey.

Remember, she's not looking to be spared. She's not offering her plow-pulling services, or even volunteering to be impregnated and milked for years to come. No, she just wants to die for a worthy cause. In this case, the Bovril Company's bottom line. It's practically an instinct!

It's hard to imagine that this advertisement was nearly so successful. In it, we see two prisoners passing the grim news along the "jailhouse telegraph" that the Bovril Company is planning a raid.

(Thanks to Dr. ZezozeceGlutz for the referral.)

Addendum: At one point—due to concerns about Mad Cow Disease—Bovril changed its recipe. For two stagnant, arid years, Bovril was composed solely of plant products. When the EU at long last lifted its ban on British beef in 2006, Bovril reverted to its previous recipe, consisting primarily of cattle on a long waiting list.

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