Poor-rich

This is to do with stretching available resources, in this case food, to meet demand.

As I believe it’s a waste to stock for contingencies (an unexpected guest or worse, guests), I always look for ways to increase what I have.

Chopped onions and some potato to fill out the meat for rissoles? Add some barley or beans to bulk out a thin soup?

Here is a comic story I heard as a child about one woman’s attempt to extend inadequate ingredients to meet a group of guests who turned up uninvited.

One day, the woman found after she had put the rice into the pot to cook, a friend from across the Causeway dropped in without notice. The friend said her husband and child would also be coming by soon, once they finished their shopping. Perhaps some of her other kids too.

As was the custom, the hostess felt obliged to ask her guest and the rest of her family should they turn up, to stay for dinner.

The invitation was promptly accepted and the harrassed woman rushed to her kitchen to see what she could rustle up. She struck on a plan. She told Ah Fook, her mentally slow helper, to remain in the kitchen and everytime she called her name after she had greeted an extra guest, it was a signal for her to add a scoop of water to her pot of cooking rice. That way, she hoped to have at least enough porride to go round.

Alas, she tripped and fell on her way to rejoin her guest. Ah Fook, Ah Fook, she cried, trying to get her to come from the kitcen to help her up, as her alarmed friend was all fingers and toes and too flustered!

But no sign of Ah Fook. Her friend joined in calling the slow-witted helper. Ah Fook remained stubbornly in the kitchen.

Her enraged employer finally and painfully managed to get to her feet and limped into the kitchen to find out why Ah Fook didn’t acknowledge her calls.

She found her looking confused but obediently adding yet another scoop of water to an already overflowing rice pot!

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