Some of my friends have been scratching their heads because I’ve been mentioning something called “hobo stew.” I mentioned it on my Facebook account, but I started the references in an e-mail to colleagues for a luncheon.
Here’s the relevant text:
Please respond if you have an idea on where to eat downtown. Otherwise, I’ll probably pick a shoddy place, like that guy selling hobo stew on the corner of West Ninth and Main streets (Mmmmmm, hobo stew).
To be honest, I’m sorta scratching my head about the origin of hobo stew. In my personal experience, it’s a distant memory from when I first started camping with the Boy Scouts.
IIRC, hobo stew is a simple stew that is assembled in a can of baked beans. I think it’s baked beans, a little ground beef, some veggies and some salt and pepper. What made it “hobo” was the fact that it was heated over a stove or fire in the bean can. It was then eaten directly from the can much like the stereotypical hobo would.
I might be off on the directions — it was nearly 20 years ago (eek). Maybe it was cooked in a pot and then served in the cans (apparently modern-day cans have a plastic lining to prevent contact with the food).
And, now, for the education segment on Buzz Blog, a search for “hobo stew” turned up 20,800 results. A post on Sonomapicnic.com has an interesting personal history with hobo stew and includes a recipe. Finally, Wikipedia tries to equate hobo stew with Mulligan stew.