Monday, November 1, 2010

Let's start at the very beginning...

I am certain that for many people a quest through the land of soup would begin at Chicken Noodle. That is the traditional soup of childhood sick days. But not for my family. Soup in my family begins at Tomato.

So I decided that EaMoSuMo would begin with Tomato-- and not just any Tomato-- Campbell's Tomato Heat & Enjoy Microwaveable Soup.

I am the eldest of four. My father was a grad student most of my childhood and so we ate a lot of cheap food. We ate a lot of soup. We ate a lot of Hamburger Helper and also TV Dinners-- but not Lean Cuisine foo-foo TV dinners-- metal tray TV dinners with four segments full of lava. This was in the 60's and the 70's. We were tough back then.

My mother always served tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches and dill pickles and so for a real comfort fest it has to be with the sandwiches and the pickles. But for lunch I like tomato soup with lots of pepper.

When I got to grad school myself, I was on my own for the very first time and my food budget was $25 a month. This was in the early '80s and $25 went farther than it would today, but still-- it didn't go far.

I do think Ramen was around then, but it wasn't all the rage. I lived on Campbell's soup, Kraft Mac & Cheese, Rice-a-roni and beer. But that was okay-- I was young and determined and moved around a lot :).

And now-- tomato soup still tastes like youth and determination to me.

But now that I'm an old woman, it's hard to look past the fact that soup can pack a lot of sodium, particularly canned soup. So I'm going to log the data here so as to compare. This 15.4 oz Campbell's Tomato soup is two servings with 480 mg each. If I were to eat the entire thing (which I didn't) I would have had 40% of my recommended daily value of salt.

And yet-- a quick peek online at some other products (yes, I know, that's cheating) reveals that that's not actually high for canned soup. And yet if I were to eat this entire thing (200 calories) and stick to 2000 calories a day, I'd have had 40% of my salt in 10% of my calories. And only 3 grams of protein.

So for nostalgia and dependability, I'd give Campbell's Tomato Soup 4 out of 4 spoons.

For nutrition and balance, I'm afraid I have to give it only 1 spoon out of 4. I'd give it zero but for the fact that it is low calorie and filling, and because of the antioxidant properties of tomato products.

Final score: 5 spoons out of 8.

P.S. Don't go for a manicure and forget to vote.


  1. We don't get that particular type of soup in Canada. THe ready-to-eat Campbell's soup here is branded "Soup At Hand".
    I've heard over the years that the Canadian sodium content is up to twice as high as similar products sold in the US. Looking at the per serving information for the Campbell's Soup @ Hand Creamy Tomato ....


    FAT (G) 3 G


    TRANS FAT (G) 0 G


    SODIUM (MG) 780 MG


    FIBRE (G) 5 G

    SUGARS (G) 14 G

    PROTEIN (G) 4 G


    FAT 3 %

    SODIUM 33 %


  2. I do wonder why they label my version as being two servings. The soup I ate today (and will write about later) is listed on the restaurant's website as one serving and is almost the same size as yesterday's can. And your Soup In Hand (1 serving) is only 30 calories less than my entire can (2 servings).

    Maybe it's to make it a "100 calorie food."

    I am finding that that particular tomato soup-- even if you eat the entire can-- is near the bottom of the sodium spectrum. Maybe I shouldn't be looking at that too closely. At least not this month :)

  3. It's always good to check labels... my daughter got me in the habit of doing so. The sodium is the one that worries/bothers me most because it can appear in large quantities in things you'd never expect it to be so high in....
    Processed meats are terrible. I've seen pre-packaged submarine sandwiches that contain in excess of 100% of recommended sodium. In. One. Sandwich!

    mmmm Now I'm craving soup, grilled cheese & pickles. Mom is visiting and wanted an easy dinner. VOILA