Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's pronounced "tor-TEE-uh."

Campbells’ Select Harvest Chicken Tortilla soup is made for whitebread cracker folk who live North of Dallas, or East of the Mighty Miss.

While I may need to adjust my expectations regarding the ethnic authenticity of canned soup, the fact that two of my New England co-workers (we’ll call them “Meghan Haley” and “Rebecca Popp”) have raved about this very item has forced me to set the record straight. This soup should be greasy, spicy, and come in a giant bowl with some fresh avocado, cilantro, and perhaps a dollop of sour cream on top. Crispy corn tortilla strips are also a mandate. (Not those weird blue ones.) And here’s the true litmus test: if there’s not a beak, claw, feather, chunk of fatty face waddle, and/or some weird, yardbird innard within the bowl, it’s not legit. And therefore, may be forced to quit.

In all fairness, I would expect the same criticism of a clam chowder in Albuquerque, or a matza ball soup in Oklahoma. Some things are just better left to the regions in which they are mastered.

Because of their misguided soup preferences, both “Meghan” and “Rebecca” are still single. Once again, I implore YOU, my only reader, to make your case for their affection in the 'comments' section. I'm sure either of them is willing to patiently await your parole.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The most awesomest piece of awesomely awesome awesomeness.

This shit is funny. It’s also weird because it so accurately describes my weekend.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cool beans.

Fucking Freezing with a 100% chance of Shrinking Beans.

This pic was taken of my dashboard on the way to work this morning. I know what you’re thinking: “7:54? What the F are you doing up so early, let alone operating heavy machinery whilst hopped up on goofballs?” Well that’s just how I roll. You may also notice the big goose egg on the left side denoting the temperature outside. The reading is accurate, but that doesn’t make it right.

Back in the Motherland, when the mercury dips below 50ยบ F, state law requires you to make a vat of chili. That same law also prohibits the use of beans in said chili. In fact, if you are a Chilympic Athlete and your chili tests positive for beans – not only would you be immediately disqualified, you’d be stripped naked, rolled in hot tar, have longhorn excrement hurled at you, and forced to drink non-alcoholic beer as you’re exiled to Oklahoma.

I’ve sampled chili from just about every region in these great United States, and most people have got it all wrong. And what they do in Cincinnati is a crime against humanity.

I’m only going to say this once: Chili is chunks of red meat in a thick sauce made from chili peppers. Repeat: Chili is chunks of red meat in a thick sauce made from chili peppers.

The fact that I’m writing about chili in a soup log has put me in great danger. I must stop before retribution is sought.

Also... I remind YOU, my only reader, to Rock the Vote in the distasteful poll at right. It’s change we can believe in.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Universe made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse.

According to Wikipedia:

The term "wedding soup" is a mistranslation of the Italian language, minestra maritata ("married soup"), which is a reference to the fact that green vegetables and meats go well together.

Since the internets never lie, the above must be true. I know for a fact that the part about green vegetables and meat going well together is true, because I tried it once back in the summer of ‘87. I remember it as if it were decades ago...

There I was, staring at the daunting diversity of the buffet spread at Golden Corral. My acid wash jeans were not nearly as tight as they should have been, and my visit to this eatery was going to change that posthaste. My typical plate strategy in a self-serve food situation is this: All things brown, NO exceptions. With the exception of mac ‘n’ cheese.

Following this rule, I proceeded to stack my plate with various slabs of beef and a few deep fried bits of fowl and crustacean for good measure. Just when I thought my plate had reached it’s maximum capacity of beige foodstuffs, my attention was captured by a tub of green beans that was being replenished before me by a staffer. It was as if the Universe was trying to tell me something. And that something was: “Hey man, I bet those beans are cooked with bacon. Want some?”

My answer was "Yes. Yes, I do."

The beans were ok. They would have sucked without all that meat surrounding them. Which proves the fact that green vegetables and meats go well together.

For those of you keeping score, I had a can of Campbell’s Italian-Style Wedding for lunch.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It was just too soon.

Soup consumption is akin to comedy – timing is everything.

I simply did not let enough time pass to let the healing take place. And only time can heal the deep, dietary wounds that are left by the tsumani of turkey consumption that we call Thanksgiving.

I made a gross error in judgment. I exhibited a complete absence of common sense. Pure stubbornness. The Japanese call it Ganko, and it’s no coincidence that the second Kanji symbol looks like some blockhead about to boot up a soupy mess.

My crime came in the form of Campbell’s Chunky Fully Loaded Turkey Pot Pie (with dumplings). Yes, I realize that I’ve been consuming dumplings at an alarming, if not dangerous rate. The fact that my friends and family have not facilitated a dumpling intervention leaves me wondering if anyone even cares about my well-being. Perhaps that’s the real problem behind my reckless, irresponsible mid-day decisions.

But I digress.

I think on any other day, in any other season, this product would have exceeded my expectations and left me blissfully bloated. In fact, I look forward to a time when I can enjoy a bowl of this glorious gut bomb with a clear mind and an objective palette. But today it made me question my basic sense of judgment. At least as it relates to poultry and the consumption thereof.

It was too soon.

It was just too soon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Another soldier in the Crusade.

I’m pleased to announce that a co-worker has joined me in declaring jihad on over-priced lunches. Although, I’m not convinced that she is as dedicated as Yours Truly. In time we shall see.

For the sake of science, it’s crucial that this person remain anonymous. We’ll call her Meghan Haley. Meghan may or may not look like the person pictured above.

Meghan may or may not be a single, non-smoking, Aquarius in her early 30’s. She may or may not like the indoors, and/or the outdoors. Meghan certainly loves her mother, and isn’t cruel to animals, although she will occasionally show indifference towards them. Meghan is not one of those weirdo hippie vegans, and she has a decent job. (Even though the guy in the office next to her is a world-class a-hole.) If given the choice, Meghan usually grabs a can of reduced-sodium soup from the soup shelf. Campbell's Select Harvest is also a fav.

Although she’s never been to prison or passed out in a pool of her own vomit, Meghan is not a square. She’s always up for pint of local brew and a game of foosball.

If you would like go on a date with this “person” that we’re calling “Meghan,” post your reasons in the comment section.

Or, if you happen to think that chicken tastes good with apricots and olives, I think I know your soul mate. We'll call her "Rebecca P."

I’ll take “The Economy” for a thousand, Alex.

The Unemployment Rate. Gross Domestic Product. Retail Sales. Soup at a Thai Restaurant in North Carolina.

What are accurate economic indicators?

Correct. Let’s pause for a commercial break. When we come back we’ll meet our contestants.

I used to frequent this place in Charlotte called Thai Taste. It was damn good. No matter what you ordered, you would get a bowl of soup as an appetizer. You didn’t go there for the soup, but you didn’t turn it away either. It was like chips ‘n’ salsa at a Mexican joint.

In 2000/2001, that soup was a tepid bowl of diluted chicken stock. If you happened to get a small chunk of tofu in your soup, you’d go buy some lotto tickets because it was obviously your lucky day. As the economy started to gain strength, so did the soup. First it was cabbage that appeared. Woo boy! Then more exotic items started to surface, like mushrooms. And bamboo shoots. You know, the typical stuff that can really put a dent in a restaurant's overhead during tough times.

My co-worker and I always took notice of this edible, economic phenomenon that was playing out before us. It was usually the first topic of our lunch conversation – before we got too far into molecular quantum mechanics.

One day, our soups were placed before us and each bowl contained identifiable pieces of meat. Chicken, as I recall. White meat, at that.

We enjoyed our lunch, went back to work, asked for and got raises.

The soup never lies.

Monday, December 14, 2009

This does not make me un-American.

I’ve been eating a lot of soups with dumplings lately. Today it was some sort of beef concoction with hearty dumplings. While the meals have been adequate in providing mid-day sustenance, they’ve also affirmed something: The Chinese dumpling is superior to the American trailer park dumpling. On one hand, you have a fried pork pouch, accompanied by a salty, gingered juice for dipping. On the other hand, you have a mushy wad of biscuit dough floating in gravy. I’ll take the petite pouch of hog meat please and thank you.

I’m pretty sure this is the reason China has surpassed the USA as an economic super-power.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Written by Mad Men.

“Wouldn’t I be silly to make it myself?”

“Go to all that bother.. when Campbell’s is so homey and nourishing? Not me!”

“When I was a little girl I remember we always made our own vegetable soup. Mother used to devote just hours to to it. But one day when she was rushed, she tried Campbell’s Vegetable Soup. My dad’s not so easy to please, but he ate a bowlful, and then another. Since the Mother has served Campbell’s… and Dad’s been as pleased as a kid!

“I’m married now myself and — well, we young-marrieds all feel that same way. I mean why bother to make vegetable soup when Campbell’s Vegetable Soup is so wonderful — a grand-tasting beef stock and all those fifteen garden vegetables.  Why, every time I serve it my husband says: ‘Gosh, darling, this is really swell!’ And what better music can a wife hear than that? Now I ask you!”

The caption by the freaky little fat kid reads:

“I am sorry for my dolly, she’s hungry as can be. Inside of her is sawdust – but good soup’s inside of me!


Correction: Written by whiskey shit-faced Mad Men. Possibly tripping on acid.


I did shovel a can of soup down my gullet as per usual. Today, it was Progresso Chicken & Herb Dumpling. I just saw the "Herb" on the label and reached for it. It's just been one of those weeks. Well, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I was tricked.

There was no pot in it, let alone any pie.

For shame, Progresso. For shame.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of soup.

Remember those commercials for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups where one person eating chocolate would collide with another person eating peanut butter, and the result was a magical combination of flavor?

“You got chocolate on my peanut butter! You got peanut butter on my chocolate! Damn you to Hell! Wait a minute, this is delicious...” And then they would go have Martinis and hook up in a cheap hotel. I’m guessing.

If you’re unfamiliar with the advertisements, you’ve probably seen it happen in real life because it’s a very common occurrence. Well, I had that exact scenario play out for lunch today – except there was no collision, there was no chocolate or peanut butter involved, I was by myself, and it was no accident. But I did stumble upon a magical combination of flavor: Campbell’s Fully Loaded Chunky Beef Stew with a giant school of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers swimming on top. Campbell’s Soup Co. actually owns Pepperidge Farm, so why they don't market these two as compliments is beyond me. The public deserves to know.

Hey Campbell’s, call me. I have some ideas.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The schoolyard of soup.

Campbell's Chunky Fully Loaded Beef Stew is the bloated jock that picks on Campbell's Chunky Sirloin Burger because of his weight problem. All of the Chunky Soups get snickered at by the Traditional Progressos, but only behind their backs because any Chunky can beat the crap out of any Progresso. But, Progresso can beat up regular Campbell's Condensed Chicken Noodle, who is quite popular, but doughy in nature. All soups pick on Cream of Mushroom for being more of an ingredient in white trash casseroles, and not so much a real soup. Campbell’s Bean and Bacon is the rural, redneck kid who only has two shirts and smells like mildew and feet. He’s laughed at by all, but usually left alone. Chunky Fajita Chicken is the token Hispanic kid who teaches all the other kids how to cuss in Spanish. ¡Hueles a mierda! Campbell's Tomato is the goth, artsy kid that no one pays much attention to. (Thanks a lot, Andy Warhol.) If there's ever any vandalism or defacing of school property, it's probably done by Campbell's Tomato. He’s full of angst. And sodium.

PS – I’m not implying that all soups are dudes. Take Italian Wedding, for instance. Total chick soup. But for the sake of my playground analogy, all soups are dudes.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Damn I love a good pun.

I’m feeling a bit under the weather today. By that, I mean that a cold has punched me in the spleen, stolen my lunch money, called me names, and given me an atomic wedgie that could end all wedgies.

One would think that chicken soup would be a gimme, but I only eat that when my soul is hungry. Today, no part of me is hungry and I can't taste anything. My strategy: grab the can that looks the least delicious and most nutritious. The winner: Progresso Split Pea and Ham.

The soup itself was a green gelatinous mush with swine bits suspended in its delicious viscosity. I say delicious because that's what I want it to be. I truly have no idea, so my review of its flavor must remain neutral. From a visual standpoint, it looked like an infant's hind side exploded in anger. And rage. But that's always the price of admission when choosing split pea.

To my chagrin, I found several whole peas in the soup. Not split in any way, shape or form. Should I consider that a sign? An indication of great things to come? Will I be showered with riches because of this extraordinary, possibly symbolic find? Or should I fear for my life? Take legal action? Illegal action? I suppose only time will tell if this is a blessing or a curse.

Stay tuned.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tiny patties, made from tiny cows, cooked by tiny cooks, on tiny grills, flipped with tiny utensils, while listening to Elton John's "Tiny Dancer."

That's how I envision it, and I'm usually not wrong about these sorts of things.

Anyone who has ever enjoyed a bowl of Campbell's Chunky Sirloin Burger has probably wondered why, if not how, those little grill marks get put on those little patties. I'm pretty sure it's done by a small army of Puny Patty Grill Gurus, or PPGGs.

This is how I think the job application for that position at Campbell's Soup would read:

PPGG Wanted
We need a little help. We're a little short in our grilling department. This is a lower-level position within the company. Here's a little info about the job requirements:

Candidate must have a degree from a Junior College, at minimum.

Candidate must be able to make tiny sirloin patties and grill them with a little care and a lot of love.

Skills & Qualifications:
Candidate must be a team player, and be willing to take on any task, no matter how small. A little working knowledge of fire is also good.

Additional Considerations:
You must be willing to relocate. This job is located in a small town.

Also, feel free to include a wee list of activities and/or hobbies. For instance, do you coach a Little League team? Are you good at miniature golf? Do you drive a Mini Cooper? It's the little things that will get you considered for this position.

Campbell's is usually an Equal Opportunity Employer, but for this position, we totally need a midget.


If my PPGG Theory is not accurate, perhaps the patties are robotically stamped out at a rate of 1000 pps (patties per second) from a giant vat of meat dough, then have edible food paint applied to simulate grilling.

Either way... Yum!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What in God's name is Chickarina?

Delicious, that's what.

Today, I feasted on a can of Progresso Chickarina soup that was plucked from my soup shelf.

I had never heard of this kind of soup before, so when I saw it on the supermarket shelf last week, my curiosity was piqued. It's obviously made from hens trained in the fine art of ballet, which makes them taste a bit better than standard, non-dancing chickens. And way better than chickens that are against dancing altogether, much the way the asshole father of the bony chick in Footloose was against Kevin Bacon.

The product did not disappoint. Each bite was a pirouette of flavor on my taste buds. With some Reduced Fat Keebler Town House crackers smashed up and sprinkled atop, I'm pretty sure I hit on most of the food groups: chicken, meatball, cracker, sodium stearoyl lactylate.

On a side note, I do think the Reduced Fat Townhouse crackers absorb broth and become mushy much too fast. I'll search for the "Increased Fat" crackers next time, assuming that a higher content of non-water-soluble, saturated fat will result in a slower absorption.

Tomorrow, I shall try an offering from Campbell's. Today, I felt I needed to give Progresso a chance at redemption after yesterday's disaster.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's my own damn fault.

Today, I had a can of Progresso brand Potato, Broccoli & Cheese Chowder for lunch. It was fucking disgusting. I don't know what about the name of this goop would have led me to believe otherwise.

I should point out that it was the "Traditional" Potato, Broccoli & Cheese Chowder. Not to be confused with the non-traditional, or deconstructed varieties.

Also, the can boasts that NO MSG ADDED*

*Except that which occurs naturally in yeast and hydrolyzed vegetable proteins.

Glad they cleared that up.