As I write this, it is a blustery kind of fall day. The kind of fall day that makes you want to eat something warm and comforting but without all of the work. You go to your pantry and find a can of soup. All you have to do is open the tin vessel, warm and eat. Sounds pretty easy and straight forward, but at what cost?
Today we are going to look at one of my childhood favourites, Campbell’s Tomato Soup. As a kid, there was nothing better than coming home to a hot bowl of this stuff paired with a grilled cheese sandwich.
Would you like to know what exactly is in that bowl of soup? Alrighty, let’s get started shall we?
Here is the ingredient list straight from Campbell’s website:
INGREDIENTS: TOMATO PUREE (WATER, TOMATO PASTE), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, WHEAT FLOUR, WATER, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF: SALT, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, FLAVORING, CITRIC ACID, LOWER SODIUM NATURALSEA SALT, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), MONOPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE,CELERY EXTRACT.
Here we go:
Tomato Puree – sounds pretty reasonable
High Fructose Corn Syrup – a sweetener that is made from corn syrup by using chemicals to convert some of its glucose molecules into fructose; it has replaced regular sugar in many processed foods because it is so cheaply produced, it has been linked to elevated cholesterol, increase in diabetes and obesity; in addition corn is a GMO crop and is also heavily sprayed with chemicals during the growing process
Wheat Flour – for those who are gluten intolerant, this is an important piece of information to be aware of ; gluten is found also in many unsuspecting foods such as sauces and seasonings
Salt – probably not Sea salt, my guess it is the highly refined table salt that is commonly found in processed foods; the trouble with salt in processed foods is that too much is used in comparison to what our body actually requires or we would ever dream of using when cooking from scratch
Potassium Chloride – a salt substitute
Flavouring – the trouble with the term flavouring is that this is often where icky things that we wouldn’t normally find in our kitchens resides; this is where things like MSG and other flavour enhancers get hidden on a label; the official reason for allowing a term like, ‘flavouring,’ on a label is for proprietary reasons, but as you can see there are additional benefits for food manufacturers as well
Citric Acid – a preservative & depending on the source, it can be okay; often in processed foods it is sourced from corn, not citrus fruits as you might believe
Lower Sodium Sea Salt – third source of salt
Ascorbic Acid – a preservative, colour stabilizer and source of vitamin C; usually derived from corn
Monopotassium Phosphate – used as a thickener and stabilizer, can be a problem for those with kidney issues
Celery Extract – another preservative and not the same as eating a piece of celery
So, what is a hungry soup lover like myself to do now that canned soup is off the table? Let me introduce you to one of my favourite soup recipes of all time. I don’t make it nearly enough but every time I do, I wonder why I don’t make it more often. Think of this soup as a bit of a grown up version of tomato soup. Have children who you think just won’t dig this sophisticated version? I ask you to still make it and ask them to take, ‘One bite to be polite.’ I’ve found that if I throw noodles into just about anything, the likability factor instantly increases with my kids. Click here for my tasty Italian Minestrone recipe.