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.