Saturday, November 04, 2006

Got soup?

I learnt how to cook when I was about 9 years old. And I used to make my breakfast every Saturday morning. Mom would be at work and I wouldn't have to go to school so it was a big thrill and the highlight of my week. I didn't make the regular jam and bread breakfasts on Saturday. That was boring. I discovered in that year a couple of things. One, the kitchen cabinet with can food in it. Can food was always a treat because it wasn't good for you. But oh, it was yummy so good! Two, I discovered the can opener. Three, I learnt how to light the stove. Four, I discovered Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup.

And that started a life long love affair with the soup. Its strange artificial yellow colour, noodles that were all about 5 cm long and flat, chicken bits that tasted like ham and its very very salty nature. Without fail, every Saturday morning, I'd wake up, open up a tin of soup, cook it in a pot and eat it straight out of the pot in front of Saturday morning cartoons.

It has since become a comfort food for me. When I'm sick or depressed or had just broken up with some guy, that was what I turned to for sustenance and comfort. It saw me through many long years. Then new versions came into the market. There were the chunky soups, that were infinitely more filling, with real pieces of vegetables and meat in it plus those funky pop tops so you didn't have to use a can opener anymore.

But they just weren't the same.

Then there were the Asian soups, the thick soups that you find so badly done in Asian restaurants in Caucasian countries like hot and sour soup and Pacific clam and mushroom soup (read fake sharks' fin soup which I heartily approve of), which were a life saver when I was homesick and desperate for Asian tasting soup.

So there were all these dalliances. But I always went back to the faithful chicken noodle soup.

Until the last time I fell ill. That was the beginning of the end. My throat hurt and I had some strange sinus infection and felt utterly miserable. Packrat offered to go get me some soup for dinner and I croaked out that I wanted chicken noodle soup. It was the only thing that kept me from banging my head against the wall in some attempt to feel better. He came back, as promised, with soup. But rummaging through the bag, I found some Chunky soup for him because it was Clam Chowder (and I don't eat that stuff) and a disgusting tin of lentil and something soup for me!

Where was my chicken noodle? I croaked. He said they'd ran out so he bought me the lentil soup. I felt a surprising amount of rage well up in me and felt ready to hurl the tin at something. Thankfully, I valued my marriage enough to just burst into tears! He consoled me by telling me that he would find some the following day. That was 3 months ago!

Every supermarket we've been to, either together or separately would have half an aisle dedicated to Campbell's products. And we would go through them with a fine tooth comb. I'd even look at the price labels and it's taken me all this time to realise that they've taken it off the shelves. They have Cream of Broccoli (Who would drink that???) but they have no Chicken Noodle. I've had to concede that consumer taste must have grown too sophisticated for such a simple soup and so bring in the more chi chi varieties and leave out the staid, boring ones.

So, I'm sad. I have no soup. I mourn the loss of my soup. It came about in 1934. It survived World War Two, Kennedy's assassination, Vietnam, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism and even the two Bush presidents but it couldn't survive the Chicken Gumbo or the Grilled Italian Sausage with Peppers variety.

So, I'm sad. I have no soup. I mourn the loss of my soup. There will be no chicken soup for my soul from now on.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 19:59

3 thoughts...

3 thoughts...

At 12:23 pm Blogger piper said...

I was just looking for it last week. I loved the chicken noodle soup too. So I guess they are no more. :(

At 2:32 pm Blogger vacuumpig said...

Delurking just to say: I was in Coles today and was walking by the canned soup and remembered your post. Western Australia still has salty Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup. I guess that just proves the criticism that WA is backward, but it appears this isn't always a bad thing. ;)

At 2:21 am Blogger Redmungbean said...

I am in US and they do have campbell chicken noodle soup.


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