Unexpectedly Intriguing!
27 November 2020

It's the day after Thanksgiving 2020, and like many Americans, we're now pondering what can we have to eat along with our turkey leftovers.

Longtime readers know we have a strong affinity for Campbell's Tomato Soup, since we've tracked the price of an iconic can of the condensed product since 1897.

That's why we were excited to discover the following 21 minute time capsule video from 1952. While it starts with an awful magic act that becomes an awfully long commercial for Campbell's Soups, it really says quite a lot about how Americans lived and ate nearly seven decades ago. Not to mention showing how Campbell's supply chain worked to get the finest ingredients to make its soups and get them to American consumers, as the company's home economist, Ann Marshall, was working to "create new ways in which soup can serve you even better".

We have to admit we were surprised by the very existence of the Chicken-Cranberry Salad featured in the film, which somehow hasn't survived into the 21st century. It seems whatever partnership existed between Campbell's and the Knox gelatin corporation at the time wasn't strong enough for this chilled concoction to endure.

But since we came for tomato soup, here's a quick overview of the suggestions Campbell's had for how to use its tomato soup in your recipes in 1953:

  • As a base for beef stew.
  • Use it just as it comes from the can as tomato sauce.
  • Pour half a can into your meat loaf as an ingredient, then heat and steam the rest of it to cover your meat loaf as a pour-on sauce.
  • Make a full-flavored spaghetti sauce from it. Or tomato cheese macaroni.
  • A "spicy, mellow-favored" cake!
  • A French salad dressing when shaken with oil, vinegar, and seasoning.
  • Combined with equal parts clam chowder and milk or water for a really hearty soup.
  • Combined with equal parts split pea soup and milk or water to create "Purée Mongole", which apparently "wins rave notices every time".

We didn't know what Purée Mongole was either, but it turns out "it was popular in the 1930s, being served in Manhattan restaurants in New York City. Mongole soup has since declined in popularity and is rarely (if ever) seen today." The New York City hotel chef who created it, Louis Diat, is better known for also creating the cold leek and potato soup known as vichyssoisse in 1917.

Speaking of which, there is a tomato-based version of vichyssoisse that looks pretty appealing. Is anyone else hungry for soup all of a sudden?

Previously on Political Calculations

Our coverage of America's most iconic soup, presented in reverse chronological order!

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