I want you to imagine a situation. Not long married. No money. No proper food in the house. Not an unusual situation in our early years, but we managed, after all, two can live as cheaply as one, can’t they? Well, that isn’t always the case, but we got by and we were happy. So, I’ve set the scene. Can you guess what comes next? Unexpected visitors! Yes, and we had to feed them!
What did we have in the larder? A tin of tomatoes, a bag of flour, one egg, milk (but in reality just enough for tea and breakfast), two slices of dry bread, a little cheese, and, thankfully right at the back of the cupboard, two tins of condensed tomato soup.
The flour, egg and milk were just enough to make some pancakes, some of the cheese (grated) was mixed with half a tin of soup and spread over the pancakes which were rolled up and placed into an ovenproof dish. The rest of that can was poured over the top and the last of the cheese sprinkled on top. The two slices of bread were quickly lightly toasted, then cut right through the middle to create 4 slices. These, along with the pancake dish was popped into the oven to heat through and brown. A quick whizz in the liquidiser combined the other can of soup with the tomotoes in the hope that it would make a tasty soup. All this happened while my husband kept the conversation going in the other room, not knowing what on earth we were going to be eating.
Although not very ‘well balanced’ it was in fact quite tasty. The now crisped bread was served with the soup and the comment from one of the diners was ‘Wow, I’ve never had homemade tomato soup before!’ Of course at the time I kept quiet, the empty tins were already in the dustbin and I wasn’t about to let on that we were in such dire straits… Amusingly enough, this soup remains a topic of conversation when we meet. It has been requested as a dish to be served, on repeat visits, and now that the ingredients are known it is always served with laughter (and the occasional addition of other ingredients too, just to tickle the palate). We call it ‘Cheat’s Soup’.
Fortunately our circumstances are no longer that dire. For that I am very thankful.