D E Stevenson in Strange Times

We're certainly living through very strange times and this sense of unreality is compounded by the empty shelves in the supermarkets.

Last weekend I popped into our local supermarket for some macaroni to make macaroni cheese. There wasn't a bag of pasta in the entire shop! I was stunned!

I started thinking about wartime measures and substitutes for unavailable foods and this caused me to remember a wonderful episode in D E Stevenson's The Two Mrs Abbots. Jane, Wilhemnia and Archie decide to follow a recipe for macaroni. They use potato and flour. I suspect that they are really making gnocchi, but nobody knew about such exotic foods in the 1940s! The pasta has been made and they are preparing to cook the raw dough:

They cut it into pieces - not neat pieces for that was impossible - and dropped them into the pan of water which was boiling on the stove. 

"It will taste the same," said Wilhemina without conviction.

"Oh, of course," agreed Archie with enthusiasm.

Jane said nothing. She was looking at the pan, watching the queer bloated lumps which had begun to rise to the surface. After that the cooking operation went quite smoothly and according to plan, and when the dish was ready and nicely browned on top it looked exactly like macaroni cheese.

Fortunately, I found some macaroni in the cupboard and our dish was perfectly normal. But, it does make me wonder how long it will be before we are improvising in the same way!