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"Say Cheese" London, Ont (moved from Ontario board)

Dear Chow Hounds,

Hilary Alderson here! Thank you all for your interest and for remembering ‘Say Cheese’!

It is such a joy to read peoples’ fond memories of the restaurant and food that served London and community for over 30 years. Our family also holds sweet memories of dedicated customers and staff close to our hearts.

The Cheese Soup recipe has not been shared publicly. Maybe someday . . . . . and if I don’t publish it , it will be left in the family Will !!

I think that one of the secrete ingredients of  the  ‘Cheese  Soup’  and  many  of  our other favourite  dishes like Shropshire Stew and Fisherman’s Pie,  was the special dining  atmosphere. From the carefully-chosen music, to wine tastings, food festivals, the in-house bakery and cheese store, and many  little creative touches as we wanted the restaurant to be like no other. We worked over many years to create a warm, relaxed, unpretentious place where regulars were recognized and families could entertain. Where famous and infamous people found a haven from their brightly lit lives, and ordinary folk like us were our VIPs. We were also lucky to have a team of dedicated,  inimitable  staff (yes, like the late Terry  Preston – a waiter who was  was loved  by hundreds of customers who called him friend)

As for the Cheese Soup: The  ‘secret  ingredient’  in this recipe is a principle I cook by: Only the very best ingredients - no  compromises, and freshly  made  from  ‘scratch‘  every  day. No secrets  there! The difference between “real” versus “processed cheese, real whole vegetable stock versus pre-made soup bases, slowly cooked for hours versus zap heated, hand stirred versus machine whipped…at every step, I believe it makes a difference to the final taste.

I’ve often been asked to re-create the Cheese soup, but the  price  of cheeses  today,  together  with  the  quantity  of  cheese  our recipe calls  for, makes it prohibitive to make, especially in smaller quantities.

When  I  am  too  old  to  enjoy  going  out  to  parties  any longer, I may sit  down  and  write  a  book  about our years growing up with 'Say Cheese'  -  the  wonderful moments,  the  people,  and  of  course,  the  recipes.

A  little  note  for  ‘Justcallmemartha’ (someone in the know: Nov 2008 )  -  the  beef bone stock you  refer  to  was  actually the base for our  classic  French Onion Soup.  The Cheese Soup was 100 %  vegetarian (not Vegan) - developed especially for the  big  swing  to Vegetarianism  in  the  70’s.

For  franca50  -  like  you, I smile about  the  myths, the legends  and  drama  this  soup, and 'Say Cheese' itself,  has  generated.   Still, at parties, and when we are out-and-about almost anywhere, people often share all sorts of stories they have about the restaurant, cheese shop, wine events, catering, staff, and parties. I  continue  to  relish  the positive impact  and happy memories  that  that  funky Cheese Place still  holds. I smiled hugely when reading that I was recently spotted at a local party and am apparently now in my 80’s (a ways to go until that!)… if  that’s how  I  appeared,  it’s  obvious it  was well  past  the  time  that  I should  have gone home to bed!  
Good Luck with your soup recipes   -  Hilary Alderson