Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Automat Soup

     Last night, after wrestling with the dryer for a lot longer than I realized,* I found myself hungry and with limited time and resources to do anything about it.  There were a couple of sandwich-sized slices of deli ham in the fridge, but I'd had a ham and egg sandwich for breakfast....

     There was a microwavable rice-and-beans pouch in the cupboard, good brown rice and black-eyed peas, and the maker called it "Hoppin' John" on the label.  Why not give it a try?  I snipped up the ham while the rice and beans were nuking, and mixed it all together in a bowl with a dash of Cajun-style seasoning.  Not bad, but it needed something.  I gave it a generous shake of dried onion flakes and a dash of hot water, but it was still not quite right.  A big dollop of Heinz Chili Sauce (just revved-up catsup) did the trick.  That was when it hit me: I'd just reinvented Automat soup.

     See, Automats -- coin-operated cafeterias, where you paid for each item as you went, unlocking little windowed compartments, a nickel in the slot for a sandwich, a nickel for a slice of pie, and so on -- generally had free hot water, condiments and crackers.  For the price of a cup of coffee, you'd end up with an empty mug, a spoon and fixings for rough tomato soup: ketchup, hot water, salt, pepper and saltines.  Dinner!  (You could pull the same trick at a regular cafeteria, too, though it was best done when they were too busy to notice.)

     Good ol' "red lead" didn't make the greatest tomato soup in the world, and it doesn't make prize-winning Hoppin' John, either.  But it wasn't bad, it was quick to make and the price was right.  Tam had already gone to off to sleep by then, so I can't give you a second opinion.
* The dryer works now, though it runs a bit rough.  And a test run smelled slightly of burned hair.  I vacuumed the dryer out while I had it open (so much lint!), but there's always some you miss and it inevitably ends up in the wrong place.  We'll have to keep an eye on it.


John Peddie (Toronto) said...

Yet another mechanical skill she acquired, now at encyclopedic level. When does she transition to heavy duty truck repair?

Stewart Dean said...

I once glommed on a used dryer. Got it home, wanted to see if it worked *before* I lugged it down the cellar hatch. Had 220V out for as genset...plugged it into that. Good thing. The Mice Had Built a Hotel in the heater section and the cloud of gaseous smoke rolling over the lawn would have done a WWI Chlorine Gas warfare unit proud.