A memorable scene in Saps at Sea (1940) features Laurel and Hardy cooking up an impromptu meal for a snarling gangster who insists on being fed. Lacking actual food, the boys make a spaghetti and meatball dish using a sponge for the meatballs, string for the spaghetti and grated soap for the cheese. A precedent for this routine can be found in a 1927 Pizor comedy called Lunches and Punches. Sid Smith, a lunch counter cook, is at odds with a rough, ill-tempered customer who insists that Smith serve him shredded wheat. Smith finds that he is out of shredded wheat and, to avoid the customer getting violent, he fixes up broom bristles to look like the fibrous cereal.
Saps at Sea provided a clever twist to the routine. The gangster learns of Stan and Ollie's deception and forces them to eat their synthetic (or, as Stan says, "sympathetic") meal.