So, of course I can’t go on a trip to visit the Campbell’s soup headquarters without giving you the lowdown on well, soup. Now while I love a good bowl of soup, my family are not as big of fans. In fact, the absolute only soup that my husband will eat is the basic red-and-white can of Campbell’s® chicken noodle. But he will sit down and eat a full can of soup on many an occasion. My kids are the ones who have generally turned their noses up at soup all together, so I was anxious to get some tips and ideas for how to convince them that soup is something worth being interested in.
As we went around the room doing introductions last week at Campbell’s, everyone listed what their favorite Campbell’s products were. One of the ones that stood out was tomato soup – and apparently about half of the tomato soup-eating population makes it with water, while the other half swears by tomato soup and milk. I actually don’t like tomato soup at all, so have no opinion in this one. But what about you? Do you like tomato soup? If so, are you a water or milk fan when making it? Just curious!
Now while I do like a bowl of chicken noodle every now and then, my absolute favorite right now is the Chunky™ Hearty Beef Barley soup. I’m also a fan of Vegetable Beef as well – there’s just something about having a good, hot bowl of soup on a cold day.
One of the most interesting parts of our Campbell’s tour was the opportunity to watch a demonstration by one of their chefs, Tom Helsel. What he did was to simulate exactly how the original chicken noodle soup would be made if you wanted to cook it at home, exactly as the company makes it. Two things came out of this for me – one, that it takes a long time to make a pot of soup! I think he estimated about 4 hours for that particular one. And also that Campbell’s really makes a huge effort to ensure that their soups are healthy and nutritious as well as delicious.
Here’s a quick snippet of video that I took with my digital camera during the demonstration:
One way that Campbell’s is making their soups healthier is by lowering the sodium content in many of their products. Now this is difficult to do with soup, since there’s not a good salt substitute that won’t affect the taste, and I’m sure most people would agree that bland soup just isn’t the same. Our group of mom bloggers had the opportunity to do a blind taste test with two different kids’ soups (Disney Princess soup and Chicken and Stars soup) – to taste both the ‘normal’ and the ‘low sodium’ versions and see if we could guess which was which.
First, we got an education in soup tasting etiquette from Bev – which includes never ‘double dipping’ your spoon in the testing bowl, and using a sip of water and an unsalted cracker in between tastes to basically ‘cleanse your palate’ so you don’t confuse the different tastes. Then each of us got a chance to try the different soups and see what we thought.
For one thing – it was a lot more difficult to tell the difference between the ‘normal’ and low-sodium versions than I ever thought it would be. And although I guessed correctly both times, many in the group did not. According to Campbell’s, they use techniques like adding sea salt instead of table salt, and trying new blending and flavor techniques in order to create their low-sodium products.
So how did it go with introducing my kids to the world of soup eating? Well, the can of Disney Princess soup that Campbell’s sent home with me definitely made the difference for my 6-year-old. The other day when our big box of awesome goodies from the trip arrived, we broke out many of them at lunchtime. She was thrilled to try the soup and excitedly pointed out the different princess shapes.
After some reflection, she seemed to like it pretty well.
But after two helpings (and in typical fashion for my drama queen daughter), she announced “I don’t like princess soup, Mommy!”.
At least until the next time I serve it, I’m guessing.