My first memory of soup was that it came from a can. That red and white label with a touch of gold that is still the hallmark of Campbell’s Soups filled our pantry. Those favored by me and my brother were Chicken Alphabet, Tomato, Vegetable, Noodle O’s and Franco American Spaghetti-O’s.
One particular Saturday lunchtime my dad encountered something solid in a mouthful of his soup. He spit out a piece of opaque, hard plastic. A chunk a bit bigger than a pencil eraser. My mother was relieved that it was my dad and not one of her young children who chanced up on the foreign object that was surely a choking hazard!
She wrote a letter of complaint to the Campbell’s Soup Company. And a few weeks later I remember two tall men in suits visiting our house unannounced. It was during spring break and my brother and I had chosen to spend the morning at home (surprisingly) playing school. These two men seemed grown up to my six-year-old self but may realistically have been fresh out of college. Perhaps it was their first adult job in sales.
From the living room, I could hear them in the kitchen explaining to my mother how the soups are made, trying to reassure her that the hunk of plastic was quite an anomaly. And they had a conciliatory gift – a small suitcase with six different varieties of Campbell’s Soup nestled in foam. They must have been convincing because our pantry continued to store Campbell’s soup throughout my growing up years.
It wasn’t until I was an adult living in Alaska that I ventured into soup making for myself. I wasn’t a particularly good or adventurous cook when I started out but I soon came to realize that it’s pretty hard to screw up a broth-based soup. And a hearty bowl of hot soup suited the long, dark winter days and nights of Alaska.
Now living in the more temperate climate of Central Oregon, I still find myself hankering for the aroma, heat and flavor of soup when fall arrives each year. Here are my Top 10 Reasons To Love Soup and one of my favorite recipes. Get a pot on the stove and resurrect your own culinary memories!
10 Reasons to Love Soup
1. One pot – Makes for quick clean-up.
2. Leftovers – Unless you’re serving an army, there’s usually soup leftover. This makes for easy lunches or dinners later in the week.
3. Budget friendly
4. Economical – In terms of prep time
5. Cooking 101 – Most broth-based soups are basic. It’s pretty hard to ruin a broth-based soup.
6. Nutritious – Soups are an awesome way to good way to get your fill of veggies. And it’s an easy way to sneak in veggies you may not want to encounter directly on your plate. (Think spinach, kale or mushrooms.)
7. Flexible – Soup makes a good starter, main attraction or shared entree (As in soup/salad or soup/sandwich)
8. Aromatic – Sautéing veggies and herbs make the house smell good
9. Creative – Most soups work with whatever veggies you have on hand. Add broth, protein of your choice and some herbs.
10. Freezable – During the winter I make a different soup almost every week and freeze a couple of servings of each batch to enjoy later.
Italian Wedding Soup is the first soup I make each fall. My favorite recipe: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/250620/italian-wedding-soup/.While a Google search will turn up an endless variations, I like this one because the turkey meatballs skim off some of the saturated fat while delivering all of the flavor that a meatball should. I like a creamier soup and mash a second can of the beans with some of the hot liquid then return it to the soup.
And, like #6 references, this soup pack in half your daily veggie requirements. Enjoy!