“Campbell’s Soup is M’m, M’m Good.” We knew that commercial was true because we had eaten a pantry full of their chicken noodle and tomato soup. Chicken noodle soup magically cured colds and tomato soup with grilled cheese was a gourmet delight.
The Campbell’s kids, a red-headed boy and a blonde girl, were cute with their brown eyes and dimples. Sometimes the boy had blonde hair and the girl had red hair. Strange!
We even saved the bright red labels to send in for free stuff. We wanted the soup bowls but our mother insisted that we send for the soup spoons with a U.S. President’s face on the handle. They weren’t breakable. Raising four children had given my mother a phobia about broken dishes. I didn’t know why at the time.
Those spoons are now sold at antique shops. How time flies. Campbell Soup merchandise is still being made and sold, too.
Homemade soup when I was young was usually a way to serve leftovers. It was either that or a casserole of leftovers mixed with a cream soup from Campbell’s. Turkey noodle soup appeared after Thanksgiving and ham with split pea soup would appear after Easter.
Thrifty cooks never threw anything away. A turkey carcass or a ham bone made a delicious broth.
I always “made” soup for lunch when I babysat my two cousins. They loved chicken noodle soup. One loved the broth. One loved the noodles. Woe to the babysitter who put even one noodle in that broth. The broth lover then considered her soup contaminated and threw a hissy fit. I learned that lesson the hard way.
When I married and began cooking from scratch, I learned that there were even soups that were served cold. These were never my favorite. I also discovered that soup could entice my family to eat more vegetables. Delicious and healthy – a wonderful combination.
Collecting soup recipes became a hobby. Some soups required much chopping, which I find relaxing. Others required hours of simmering, creating a wonderful aroma in the kitchen. Still others had great garnishes like popcorn, sour cream, or taco chips.
Eventually I purchased a chef-like soup pot and vintage rimmed soup plates and vintage soup spoons. Making soup made me feel like a pioneer woman cooking something in a black cast iron pot over a huge open fireplace.
My favorite homemade soup is cheap, easy, and elegant. How often do those three adjectives go together? I clipped this French Onion Soup recipe out of a magazine, tried it and loved it. When I served it to my mother-in-law, a fantastic cook, she loved it so much that she put it in the Bremseth Family Cookbook. What a compliment. I felt honored.
She traditionally serves it on Christmas Eve.
Kathy’s French Onion soup
4 Tbsp. butter melted
l lb onions, peeled and chopped
Brown onions in butter until soft
Stir in 2 Tbsp. of flour and a pinch of salt, stir to mix
Add 5 beef bouillon cubes and 4 cups of water
Stir above and bring to boil, simmer for 1/2 hour
Butter French bread slices on both sides and top with Swiss cheese…toast until crispy in oven (and cheese is melted)
Put l bread slice in bottom of soup bowl and ladle soup over the top of it.