The Hungover Gourmet


Soup is Good Food, It Makes a Good Meal

Mmm, mmm good, mmm, mmm know the rest.

Well, the weather has started to change, autumn is officially upon us, and there's a definite nip in the air...what we freelancers call "good sleeping weather."

And what goes better with cool weather, wearing turtlenecks, and going to the ubiquitous Fall festivals? Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. Alright, and maybe a beer.

Campbell's Tomato SoupNow I know that most recipe-based sites would take this time to detail how to make Tomato Soup from scratch, and if you're interested in that you can check out this recipe. But, The Hungover Gourmet is all about comfort food, the kind of food that's easy to make and sticks to the good ol' fashioned Campbell's Condensed Tomato Soup.

Standing at the supermarket and gazing longingly at the wall of Campbell's Soups, I realized that we take condensed soup for granted. And that's especially unfortunate considering my proximity to Camden, NJ -- the birthplace of Campbell's.

Campbell's Soup FlagThe Joseph A. Campbell Preserve Company was started in Camden in the late 1800s, producing a line of canned tomatoes, vegetables, jellies, and the soups that would soon become the cornerstone of their business. History changed when Dr. John T. Dorrance joined the company in 1897, paying for lab equipment from his own pocket and taking a measly salary of $7.50 per week. (Most unfortunate is that this represents a princely salary in comparison to what Last Call Productions pays yours truly.)

Dr. Dorrance blazed new trails by eliminating water from the soup, reducing the packaging from a typical 32 ounce can to a "condensed" 10 ounce can. By 1922 the concept gained such popularity that the company became known as the Campbell's Soup Company.

(One last historical note: the company's striking red and white can design was inspired by a football game between Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania. Use that one for a bar bet next time you're out.)

Growing up, Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese was a staple in the Nitrate household. Especially on Friday afternoons after school...certainly couldn't have any meat now could we?! But Momma Nitrate always made her TS with water and topped the bowful with a nice slab of butter which we let melt and then swirled it into the ruby goodness.

While on vacation in the late 1980s, a housemate made a bowl with milk and my eyes were opened to an entirely new culinary concept! To this day, Cream of Tomato Soup is a year-round staple for lunch, dinner, or a warming snack.

And check out this great Toasted Sandwich site.

Campbell's Cream of Tomato Soup

1 can Condensed Tomato Soup
1 can milk
Pepper to taste

Directions from the back of the can...Slowly stir together soup and one can of milk. STOVE: Simmer, stirring often. MICROWAVE: Use a microwave-safe bowl (duh!). Cover: microwave on HIGH 3 minutes or until hot. Stir.

Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich

2 slices white bread
2 slices Pasteurized Processed Cheese Food Product
softened butter or margarine

Heat a griddle or small frying pan. Butter both sides of bread. Unwrap cheese slices and place between slices. Toast on both sides to desired consistency (I like mine golden brown on one side, almost burnt on the other) and serve immediately.

Optional fillings: sliced ham; chopped chicken and marjoram; sliced purple onion; tomato slices.

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