I didn’t grow up on Campbell’s soup but my childhood home was never without a variety of cans either. It was a quick fix if I came home for dinner (noon meal in Iowa speak) instead of eating hot lunch at school (we lived a block away). School lunch hours were not an hour (they lied) and it took too long to bake a chicken pot pie or Swanson’s Turkey TV dinner, my favorite, which was reserved for Sunday’s-after-church-dinner when mom worked weekends.
No microwave, had to use a saucepan on our gas stove. I was partial to 3 varieties, Chicken Noodle, Vegetable Beef and my favorite, Bean with Bacon. (The chicken noodle and vegetable beef were both guaranteed to contain 3 ‘red hot’ sized morsels of meat per can. This has been verified numerous times by my quality control department-me. However no bacon was ever documented but the smokey pork aroma wafted upward as the can opener did its job).
I don’t remember if there were other brands of canned, condensed soups at the Koster’s Market but if there were, mom was loyal to Campbell’s. She loved casseroles (dad, not so much) and used condensed soups as the agent that held/brought everything together. The cook book she used most often was from Western Christian High School. I swear every other recipe (other than cookies and cakes were made with some kind of canned cream soup). But mom was funny about what flavor soups she used too.
She never used Cream of Mushroom soup, not even in Thanksgiving green bean casserole. She thought the mushroom taste was overpowering and substituted Cream of Celery or Cream of Chicken in everything. Ok, guess who has 2 cans of Cream of Mushroom in the house while storing 6-8 cans each of-Cream of Celery & Cream of Chicken? (I am my mother’s daughter after all).
Canned soups weren’t eaten very often because mom excelled at homemade soups, using dried navy beans or whole peas after soaking those little rocks overnight in (melted pristine white snow collected from our backyard) with a ham bone or pork hocks. Chicken soup and Vegetable beef rounded out her rotation of winter soups on our menu. We never had chili (although my dad loved it) and tomato soup from scratch or a can has never crossed my lips (and I love, love tomatoes) which is kinda weird.
I’ve been pretty lucky (blessed) with decent health my whole life. It’s rare when I don’t feel pretty darn good physically, but I’ve been under the weather for a few days. Something I caught from the Hubs who brought it into this house last weekend from Detroit. Not Covid, not upper respiratory, just achy limbs, muscles, nauseous tummy and hurting head. I slept Thursday and Friday away, another oddity for the gal who generally gets 5 hours a night. To let you know how lousy I felt, I fell asleep during the Iowa Hawkeye game Thursday. Well we were getting shellacked by Purdue, but still. I did manage to stay awake through my grandson’s Landon’s Friday night basketball game (on TV) which ended up being a nail biter (we won and he had a good game).
My normally over-zealous appetite has been missing in action. I drank a half a cup of tea on Thursday during the time frame I managed to stay awake. While John was eating I went into another room and covered my face with a cloth napkin to avoid the smell of food. Nothing sounded good, even after my stomach started complaining about being ignored and empty too long. There seemed to be a metallic taste in my mouth-blech. But Friday I had tea with a slice of toast and a small bowl of soup (pea-my only homemade left) and didn’t feel as bad. Saturday morning coffee smelled good again. By lunch I felt hungry but the homemade soups in the freezer consisted of chili-egg drop-or clam chowder, umm that would be a sure-fire no on all three (those are Hubs favorites, not mine and how did I get so low on my soups? I usually keep a supply on hand).
So what could I eat? Grilled cheese sounded kinda good. I haven’t made one in a long time, and I keep Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup on hand for Hubs. Again something I’ve not eaten in years. With that plan I headed to the kitchen.
Threw the soup in a cup into the microwave and fried a grilled cheese. After 15 minutes of diligent searching I managed to find the 2-3 microscopic pieces of chicken (one might have split in half) in my can of soup so I didn’t get cheated there. Made sure I ate them both although it was hard to tell, they slid down easily with the salty broth. The grilled cheese tasted good with a couple sips of my first Diet Pepsi in 3 days. Kinda disappointed in the soup. Hubs was equally disappointed when he saw I left over half of it.
By Saturday my appetite was back and I was feeling well enough to spend time in the kitchen. It seemed criminal to use a 12 dollar roast for a pot of soup but the days of a boneless chuck roast for $2.49 a pound are long gone and I was craving Vegetable Beef Barley. M’m M’m good…
8 thoughts on “M’m good, M’m good…”
Glad you’re feeling better.
Campbell’s Chicken Noodle and Vegetable Beef: Sí. Bean with Bacon: No!
Chicken Pot Pies and Swanson Dinners: Life Savers!
Good to find out where Landon is playing.
Take care. Paul
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No bean w/bacon? Does that mean you don’t care for scratch bean soup either? I haven’t had a store bought TV dinner or pot pie in the house for years but loved them when I was younger. Yup Landon is happy and having a good season at CSU which is about 3 hours from us. We’ve only been to 5 of his games but subscribe to ESPN+ which carry all of them. He’s playing about 30 minutes a game. Hope you guys have a Happy Valentine’s Day…
My three go-to canned soups are also chicken noodle, bean with bacon and vegetable. I prefer the vegetarian vegetable variety. Never did care much for beef in soup, except for chili. Winter is soup season; I live on the stuff. Glad you got over the epizootic or whatever had you down for a few days.
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Unfortunately I’m still addicted to all things beefy! But soups have been a mainstay in my kitchen since I learned to cook. I eat them winter and summer. Thanks so much for reading and commenting-from another soup lover…
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That cookbook is amazing — one of my favorites as well — and is stained and written in – but loved!!!!
Thanks for another great story!!
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You’re welcome Dee. I still use it often too.
I’ve always loved the Campbell’s tomato soup – with buttered bread.
Recently, there were displays of Campbell’s soups at Walmart at the end of one of the aisles. A sign, perched atop stacked cases of the soup, stated “Special” $4.89. Well, not bad, I thought. Almost like the old days of 10 cents per can. Silly me. The price was for 4 cans! Yowza. We’re firing up the old, dangerous to humanity, gas stove and making our own soup this week!
Glad you are feeling better, Neese. We didn’t see a lot of canned soup in mom’s kitchen but what was there was always Campbell’s.