Sunday, August 29, 2010



By our Dear Husband, Joe Lagodney

1. Prepare according to the directions, adding one can of water to one can of soup concentrate.

The result is a little watery. I cheat by adding only about half a can of water and stirring gently but thoroughly.

2. Scorch it. You ask: how is it possible to scorch a clear broth? I saw a rookie institution cook do it one time by forgetting to add the extra can of water, then cranking up the heat under the pan. Pretty soon the kitchen filled with the aroma of stuck-on burnt noodles.

3. Doctor it up. Years ago, I worked with an old cook who sometimes referred to himself as The Doctor, based on his ability to get us out of jams with his decorative magic. He always insisted on having a stock of institution size cans of various soups, including Campbell’s chicken noodle. If we were in danger of running out of soup during a rush, Campbell’s chicken noodle soup would appear, containing peas and carrots and lots of chopped fresh parsley. Not only did we get away with this – at a country club, no less, but we received calls for the special chicken noodle soup on regular basis.

4. Make some very addictive Southeast Asian soup, by heating up some Campbell’s chicken noodle soup to the concentration which you like. Then add a few drops of an Asian hot sauce like a Sriracha sauce. Now add a few drops of Asian fish sauce. Enjoy. Crushed red chilies work as well. Louisiana style hot sauces add vinegar to the taste of the final product. I tend to avoid them.

5. Learn from how the soup is made. Here, the ingredient panel is helpful. By law, food products must list their ingredients in descending order by weight. For Campbell’s chicken noodle the first ingredient on the list is chicken stock. This is good because it is not an extract of an artificial flavor or something like dextrose. The second ingredient wheat flour for the noodles; no eggs for egg noodles; no durum wheat for a more golden, resilient noodle. At the bottom of the ingredient list are some extractions like chicken fat and chicken powder. Cooked chicken is also on the list. I suspect that this meat is cut into chunks when raw or partially cooked, and then the cooking and canning process is completed. The result is extremely tender, but not stringy meat.

Thanks Joe! This is very interesting stuff!

Well, talk to you soon,


Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.

Alice May Brock

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