It has come to my attention that I am a giant, bullying soup snob. A sort of reverse Soup Nazi who, when offered anything of a brothy sort, circles it suspiciously and, after a few tentative sniffs, wrinkles her nose and announces with defiance, “NO SOUP FOR ME!”
One of my biggest successes as a parent, in my mind, has been getting the kids to eat soup. Not just any soup, but homemade soup. Clam chowder. Hungarian bean soup. Portuguese kale soup. Mussel and chorizo soup. Chicken noodle soup. Stone soup. It wasn’t easy but they finally like it now, I think to myself with more than a little self-satisfaction. Mom is on the scoreboard, at last.
But then I found out, to my horror, that Husband had recently indoctrinated the children into the school of Campbell’s Chicken & Stars. WHAT? I make soup practically every week! What’s with the Campbell’s? How am I supposed to compete with stars?
I think I might be breaking some kind of law by trash-talking Campbell’s, with its substantial history and iconic pop art imagery. And, to be fair, I don’t think I’ve tasted their soup in 20 years, so maybe I’m dead wrong. But my fierce recollection is that their soup is gross. I do believe that soup is good food, just not Campbell’s. Homemade soup is way better. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: I’m not even a very good cook at all.
I am going somewhere with this. The other day, I popped into Whole Foods for a few things and there was a Soup Lady giving out samples. As soon as she opened her mouth, I swerved widely around her, but the kids, who were trailing behind, made a beeline straight for the steaming pots.
Me: Kids, get away from there!
Them: We want soup.
Me: I don’t think so.
Them: But, Mommy, I thought soup was good for us. I thought you said it makes us grow?
God, I hate when they use my own words against me. I eyed the soup display distrustfully.
Soup Lady: It’s locally made…
Me: What? Well, why didn’t you say so?
I gave the Soup Lady the go-ahead, and she ladled out two small cups of chicken noodle soup. Which the kids devoured, steam and all. Then they asked for seconds. I didn’t think anything of it. I mean, clearly my kids have no taste if they like Campbell’s. But then curiosity got the better of me and I stole a spoonful. It was ridiculously good.
Her: We make our own stocks.
Me: Damned right you do.
Her: We used to make soup for restaurants.
Me: I believe you. What else?
Her: They’re gluten-free.
Me: The noodles, too?
Her: They're rice noodles.
Me: Well, hot damn. My mom will be very glad to hear this.
You know I only endorse the finest of local products on this blog, so here’s the buying info. The brand is Kettle Cuisine and they’re out of Chelsea. They have a bunch of different kinds of soup, which are located in the freezer section. Whole Foods, Shaw’s, and Hannaford carry them, maybe some other places, too. A single serving will run you just under $4. Obviously, making a big pot of soup yourself is way cheaper. So is Campbell’s (dry heaves). But if you’re not going to make your own soup, instead you’re going to buy something on your lunch hour somewhere in the $6-$10 range, then this is way cheaper. And when I say it’s just as good as homemade, I very begrudgingly mean it.