1 can Mega Sardines in tomato sauce (costs about a dollar)
1 handful leftover cooked stir-fried vegetables
1 cup leftover cooked rice (optional)
1 pat butter
Pepper and perhaps a tiny dash of salt
3 or 4 cups of water
Directions (short form): Mix. Heat. Serve. Enjoy
Out on the prowl, panning for Albert County gold above Rat Tail Falls, you find yourself low in utensils, in need of better than usual nutrition for under a buck a serving. Fortunately, in the bottom of your pack, you find a new sardine brand from the foreign foods aisle, ‘Mega Sardines in Tomato Sauce,’ that you haven’t been desperate enough to face yet. Your starved and wavering vegetarian partner has a handful of leftover stir-fried vegetables, a bit of cooked rice, a match, and is hiding a pat of butter in another pocket. (Old prospector tip: vegetarians run lean and always have secret stores.)
After negotiations to share resources, scour the gold pan in wet, clean gravel (because in the past, somebody has likely used mercury in it to make gold amalgam).
Pop the pull tab off the sardine can and invert the contents onto the bottom of the gold pan. The Mega can is narrow and tall (like a tomato paste can). Use the can to slice up the fish, bones, skin and unmentionable bits into the accompanying tomato sauce to get a chunky red fish paste.
Tip about three cups of water into the pan, add the vegetables and the butter. Using the sharp edge of the can, chop and stir everything into a thin soup. Add pepper if your vegetarian has some hidden, but be careful of the salt, add that last to taste.
Bring the pan just to simmer over a gentle twig fire, looking to see a lovely, light rose-coloured froth collect on the surface.
Serve into your King Cole tea cups.
From the kitchen of Jim Kitts