And it shall be called The Cream Soup Project.
If I had to guess, I would reckon that most of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s remember vividly the ubiquitous red-and-white labels of Campbell's soups. Personally, I recall seeing Chicken Noodle and Cream of Mushroom frequently...in the cupboards and in our casseroles. Only years later did I see Cream of Celery, Cream of Chicken, and Cream of Potato (plus many more) on the shelves at the grocery store...and I wondered why I never saw these crazy flavors in my own home. I guess they might have been too out there for my mom's standard green bean casserole.
And years later, when I understood the English language much better, I wondered how exactly did Campbell's get cream out of a mushroom or a stalk of celery or a chicken, for that matter? It's a misleading name, you see...cream of something indicates (to me) that cream has been extracted from the object of the preposition. In my grammar world, of is used in a similar way to from. You see where I'm coming from (not of, though), right? But Cream from Mushroom Soup sounds lame, so "of" it is.
Annnnnyway. More than we really need to know at this point in time. Despite Campbell's efforts to reduce sodium, fat, sugar, MSG, and whatnot from their cream soups, the bottom line is...it's still a processed product.
Okay, I must insert a totally off-topic tangent here. I just Googled 'cream of mushroom soup ingredients', and I was directed to a website called www.campbellfoodservice.com, which appears to be different from www.campbellsoup.com or www.campbellsoupcompany.com or www.campbellkitchen.com. Although they all endorse and advertise the same products. Y so many websites, Campbell's?
Anyway, again. That's neither here nor there (for now). The point is, here's what in a can of Cream of Mushroom soup you might purchase at an American supermarket: WATER, MUSHROOMS, VEGETABLE OIL (CORN, COTTONSEED, CANOLA, AND/OR SOYBEAN), MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, WHEAT FLOUR, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF: SALT, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE, SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, DEHYDRATED CREAM (CREAM [MILK], SOY LECITHIN), YEAST EXTRACT, FLAVORING, DEHYDRATED
Uh. Yikes. And here's my recent epiphany (hopefully it will be yours by the end of this week) - cream soups are delicious, comforting, and filling. A little goes a long ways...and you can make them easily, without a lot of time over a hot stove and without SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, for Cripes' sake. And, it's a good way to use tired vegetables you might have sitting at the back of the crisper or freezer.
No, this is not pottage...no matter what my 14-year-old son says. This is a gluten-free Cream of Asparagus soup. It contains asparagus, onions, butter, broth, cream, salt and pepper. And that's it. Really. I skipped the roux typical in traditional cream soups, so this dish is a little thinner than might be expected...imagine a whole milk consistency, if you will. It'll even hold a couple of days in your refrigerator...and you'll use it in place the canned, condensed stuff in whatever recipe you're using. Good stuff all around!
So...project for the week...make cream soups with whatever veg I've got to get rid of. This asparagus is a gluten-free soup, but I think I'll try the traditional method tomorrow, which calls for thickening with a roux.
Here's what I've got planned for the week: a Cream of Brussels Sprout, Cream of Carrot, and Cream of Daikon (those big-ass long white radish things). No vegetable at my house is safe.
Everything I do...I do it for you.