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Charles Perry's Rumtum Tiddy

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You might ask yourself what could possess a smart girl like me to melt together condensed tomato soup, chopped Cheddar cheese, a splash of Worcestershire sauce, and black pepper in a pan before pouring it onto a slice of good miche and broiling (broiling!) it until it bubbles.

Commitment to this blog and all those crazy newspaper recipes is what.

Most days I'm grateful that my palate is privy to different tastes and flavors and experiences. On days like today, however, I seriously question my judgment. Because, as you might well have imagined, condensed tomato soup and chopped Cheddar cheese and Worcestershire sauce and black pepper melted together and broiled on top of miche doesn't taste very good at all.

It seemed like a good idea, romanticized by my notion that apple-cheeked, golden-locked children in Victorian England ate this in their nurseries, overseen by a stern but loving governess. Where else could a name like Rumtum Tiddy be applied to anything other than a card game?

But I warn you. It is not a good idea at all. What you will find on your plate is a lurid orange puddle that tastes of salt and preservatives, and even though I ate the entire slice because I was in an uncomfortable state of hunger, I would seriously advise against doing so.

You know what's such a better idea? Slicing off a piece of that nice miche, cutting a wedge from your block of good Cheddar and eating the two out of hand as you decompress on your couch. Leave the Rumtum Tiddy to long-dead Victorians. Take it from me, your martyr in the kitchen.

Rumtum Tiddy
Serves 2

8 ounces good-quality cheddar cheese, chopped
1 (10 3/4 -ounce) can condensed tomato soup
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons minced onion
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 thick slices whole-grain bread
1 tablespoon snipped chives

1. Put the cheese, tomato soup, Worcestershire sauce, onion and pepper in a skillet. Stir over medium heat until the cheese is thoroughly melted.

2. Remove the skillet from the heat for 1 to 2 minutes for the cheese mixture to firm up slightly. Ladle the mixture onto the slices of toast and broil until the tops start to bubble — but don't let them brown. Garnish with the chives. Serve hot.

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