, , , , ,

Overheard recently at a checkout in my local supermarket.

Checkout Operator, eyeing the next customer in line: Hello, and how are you today?

Customer, avoiding eye contact and placing objects on the belt: Fine, thanks.

Operator, activating belt movement: And what do we have today?  Oh, just a couple of apples and a tin of baked beans.  What’s this then – on a diet – beans on toast followed by an apple as dessert?

Customer: No.  I making some soup.

Operator: Excuse me?  Did you say soup?

Customer: Yes.  Apple and baked beans soup.

Operator: That’s novel.  What does it taste like?

Customer: Sometimes a bit appley; sometimes a bit baked-beany.  It depends on what variety of apple I buy and whether the baked beans are branded or supermarket own brand.

Operator: Hmm. Is this a hot soup like most soups, or a cold soup like, what’s-it-called, pistachio?

Customer: Gazpacho, not pistachio. Oh, definitely hot to bring out the flavour of the beans.

Operator: I understand.  How do you make the soup?

Customer: Same as any other soup.  Peel, core and slice the apples, place in a saucepan and bring to the boil.  When the apples are nice and soft, stir in the baked beans and then use a hand whisk to mix and liquidise the mixture until you have a reasonably runny soupy looking result.  And then serve.

Operator: Okay, but what about a drink on the side?  What do you drink with this strange concoction?

Customer: Cider usually.  The cider enhances and complements the appley side of the soup.  But if you prefer something more in the wine line, I find a robust red such as a cabernet sauvignon or a spicy shiraz goes well with the beany side of the soup.  If not, just have a cup of tea with milk but no sugar.

Operator: Well, all that doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, if you get my meaning, but can I ask you another question?

Customer: Sure.  Go ahead.

Operator: This is a very unusual combination of ingredients to make a soup, if I may say so without causing offence.  Why are you doing it?

Customer: To become famous and make a lot of money.

Operator: Eh?  I don’t get it.  How will this soup make you famous?

Customer: Easy.  First, I ask a friend round to video me making the soup so that I can post it on YouTube afterwards.  Then I make the soup.  Then I invite a load of people around to try it. Then I persuade them to write about the soup on their social media sites – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on.  Then I contact my local newspaper and television organisations, tell them about the soup and suggest they come and interview me.  And the rest just follows on naturally – local fame, open an Apple and Baked Beans Soup Kitchen, national fame as a celebrity soup stylist, start a franchise, launch an Apple and Baked Beans fragrance, write a book with Mary Berry as co-author, add some sex and violence and convert the book into a film – oh, it’ll just explode with regular interviews on early-morning television, a request to participate on next year’s Strictly Come Dancing, my own weekly 15-minute New Soup of the Week show, and so on.  It can’t fail.

Operator: I see.  Sounds intriguing.  I might give it a shot when I knock off this evening.  It’ll make a change from my more-usual omelette smothered in custard.  Thanks for the tip. Here’s your receipt.  I wish you luck.  It’s been nice talking to you.

Customer: And you.

The customer pays, places the apples and baked beans in a bag, and departs.

Operator, to next customer: Hello, and how are you today?

Next customer, avoiding eye contact and placing objects on the belt: Fine.

Operator: And what do we have today?  Oh, just a jar of Marmite, a small tin of anchovies, and a tub of blue bubblegum ice cream.  Don’t tell me – you’re making a chilled creamy Marmite and bubblegum ice cream soup flavoured with anchovies, right?

Next customer: No.  Don’t be stupid! The Marmite is for toast; the anchovies for a Caesar salad; and the ice cream for the kids.

Operator, muttering: How boring.