Bad soup ideas, courtesy of Campbell’s

I acquired a bound collection of American Home magazines from 1955. What a treasure trove of home decorating ideas! I’ll be posting some of those pictures in days to come. For now, however, I want to talk about food.

Ever notice that some of the food ideas presented in old magazines just seem plain disgusting? The pictures sometimes look like the aftermath of a messy operation, and the pairings sometimes make your stomach turn. No one will ever convince me that filling pear halves with mayonnaise is a good idea. No one!

I noticed a Campbell’s ad in one of the American Home editions, and a couple of their “creative” soup ideas caught my eye.  Please forgive my rather poor quality “pictures of pictures.”  The bound collection of magazines is so bulky that it’d take a special kind of amazon woman to scan the dang thing.  I like to think that I just don’t fit the bill.


Seriously? Who in the world would want soggy popcorn in their cream of chicken soup? I can imagine a husband’s expression when his wife set a bowl of soup and popcorn in front of him. Time to load ol’ Betty into the car and get her to that head doctor.

Honestly, I don’t know which is worse: soup and popcorn, or this idea:


Thanks, mom. You gave me soup for my birthday. Soup from a CAN, no less. What did that take you — five minutes? Oh, sure, you think you can plop some candles on top and it will make it all festive. Betcha didn’t think about what would happen when the melba toast got soggy and the candles fell into the hot soup.

I can only imagine that poor child who received Birthday Soup. He recovered from the vast disappointment, eventually. He watched glumly while his friends’ moms baked birthday cakes at their parties and celebrated the traditional way. He tried to ignore the teasing that came from having a mother who served beef noodle freakin’ soup at his birthday party. Just as the gibes began to die down, however, his mother served this the next time he had a friend at the supper table:


Oh, sure, she tried to dress up what would normally be a drab and rather tasteless meal: asparagus soup. The cheese cut-outs were cute — at first. As Billy watched the cheese slowly melt on the surface of the soup, he began to wonder if there weren’t a voodoo quality to it all. That person looked strangely like . . . dad. And there was his dog, and his cat, and a heart. Wait — whose heart? His? Dad’s? Was it a gentle way of reminding him that Mom loved him, or was it a voodoo wish that Dad would drop dead of a heart attack?

As Billy looked up in confused panic at his mother’s face, he couldn’t help but notice the weird, dreamy smile on her face as she slowly stirred her cocktail and watched the cheese melt into the soup.

As we continue, I can’t help but wonder if these soup ideas weren’t all meant for the same sort of psycho mom. There had to be someone out there who thought these ideas just sounded scrumptious, and so inexpensive to make, too! Won’t the hubby and the kids be so surprised when I set this down in front of them?


They’ll be surprised all right, but not for the reasons you may think, lady. Soup, and raw eggs . . . in a glass! Mmmmm, yummy!  Just think about how much fun that would be to clean up from the carpet after the entire family vomits it up from salmonella poisoning.

When the soup nog idea runs thin, there’s still another way to horrify the family. Soup on the rocks!


Husband have a drinking problem? Getting tired of watching him swill scotch while sitting in front of the TV all night? Just replace it with boullion. Serve over ice! He’ll never know the difference. Note their encouragement to “have it often.” After serving this more than once, your family will hate you for good. If that’s your goal, then you will have succeeded.

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33 Replies to “Bad soup ideas, courtesy of Campbell’s”

  1. Oh, no!
    That birthday soup is terrible (well they all are). Imagine the poor kids when that is given to them instead of birthday cake. Terrible.
    Great post.

  2. I grew up eating “Hot dog soup” courtesy of Campbell’s. It sounds sick but actually was pretty good.

  3. Has anyone heard of the “bloody bull?” It’s all the rage at the best burger joint here in NYC (J.G. Melon’s) — it’s a Bloody Mary but with Campbell’s beef broth. Fantastic. – cg

  4. There is nothing worse than food snobbery. On my last birthday we mixed all of the above and had chicken noodle soup-nog on the rocks with processed cheese, popcorn and melba toast (with candles) all floating in it; it was a great birthday feast, and I do not see anything strange or funny about it.

  5. Brilliant! Love how some guys got together in a boardroom at some point in the ’50s and not only discussed the virtues of “soup on the rocks” but went out there and shared their vision with the public.

    We’d be in a worse world but for them…

  6. What. That’s insane! The things that they suggested people do in the past to make meals fun… eurgh.
    Also ‘extra nourishing’… hmn. What are they saying about their soup?
    Maybe the popcorn works like croutons.

  7. I agree, popcorn in soup sounds disgusting, but might not be as bad as it sounds, depending on the soup you use. I personally grew up eating popcorn in milk like cereal. It was great.

  8. Unfortunately I have friends whose parents would have jumped on this stuff and ran with it, especially the birthday soup, in lieu of “evil sugary cake”. Poor b*stards!

  9. Hilarious post, everything old is new again – see Campbell’s relatively contemporary advertising campaign known only as – “possibilities”. The commercials probably ran 5 years ago, but to this day it is a household joke with my wife – “turn your soup into a taco – possibilities!” This was a sing-song sort of jingle as the mother in question sprinkled cheese, crackers, sour cream and other assorted foodstuffs onto a bowl of tomato soup at some sort of picnic event. Astounding.

  10. That’s what I thought too. Add vodka and it would be fine. A lot of this stuff sounds horrible, especially that Nog. It would be a celery milkshake. Yurrggh.

    Here’s a topper, though. Ever heard of a Bacontini? Vodka, muddled crisp bacon (just a bit), dash of Worchestershire and liquid smoke. Rim glass with coarse seasoning salt.

  11. Are these serious soup suggestions, or are they meant to be funny? I feel like whomever came up with “soup nog” had to have a sense of humor.

    1. Katie, I found them in a 1950’s magazine in an ad for Campbell’s. Apparently they were trying reeeaaallly hard to be “creative” in regard to their current line of soups. The thought of popcorn soup still makes my stomach turn. Who likes soggy popcorn?!

  12. My mom actually did do pears with miracle whip on them when I was growing up. I always liked it, but wouldn’t do it now. I don’t think I could stand the thought, plus it would give my husband a heart attack if he ever saw me eat that!

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