This recipe comes from a very old cookbook I more than likely found at a yard sale. Entitled <em>The Modern Cook Book and Household Recipes</em>, it was written in 1904 and is a collection of traditional recipes used by home cooks at the turn of the twentieth century. The tomato helps cut the richness of the rarebit. A wonderful addition is a generous handful of fresh crab on top of the tomatoes before pouring on the rarebit sauce. Serve with bottles of ice-cold ale or hearty beer.
My favorite toasted bread is black bread or crumpets. You can also use white, wheat, rye, sourdough or English muffins. Make sure it is good homemade or bakery bread.
1 pound good cheddar cheese, grated (white, yellow or a mixture)
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the cheese, stirring occasionally. Add the paprika, cayenne mustard, and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Gradually add the ale, stirring constantly. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Keep warm.
Place 1 slice of toast in each of 4 shallow soup bowls. Top each with 2 tomato slices and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Pour the rarebit sauce over the toast and garnish with chives.