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Back of the Can Cuisine


nakji
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In our "favourite ethnic cuisine (not your own)" topic, v.gautam said he loved recipes that require, "a can of cream soup".

In fact, I think I read somewhere that most of the cans of cream soup made actually ended up in casseroles, as opposed to being consumed as cans of soup. Jeffrey Steingarten did an article on this topic once for Vogue, and was much entranced by the Ritz box's Mock Apple Pie.

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Tuna casserole with canned mushroom soup is one of the world's great comfort food.

I know many people who swear by the Betty Crocker green bean casserole and apparently the BC people regularly get it submitted to recipe contests as someone's grandmother's creation. I've never made it but it is great fun when served by a friend.

My mother's clam chowder involved a can of clams, a can of vegetable soup and a can of tomato soup.

I'm sure I'll think of more later.

ETA: Are we talking food "outside the can" or specifically recipes printed on the can/box?

Edited by haresfur (log)

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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Sometimes, I believe we exist in "The Other America" of NYT, WaPO, eG and the like. Then there is the real America, for which go to Roadfood & please(!!)read the comments in the International Sections, particularly the Thai,Indian etc. They are not necessarily amusing, depending where you come from, just as Jewish jokes might well have had an edge of fear and insecurity for earlier generations, underlying the forced bonhomie of assimilation.

Then peruse the Recipes Section of Roadfood, and see what I meant by soup in casseroles. In places similar to Recipezaar there are endless variations,competitions and even prizes awarded for a dish which basically consists of canned croissants from the chiller rolled around various bits of poultry, arranged with processed veggies, smothered in SOUP & CHEESE, then baked. This formula has been treasured as a dinner treat in huge swaths of our society!!

There is a deeply rooted culture of this type of cuisine, and it can be called the national cuisine. Church suppers, neighborhood get-togethers, wherever you have to serve many folk of unknown predilection, is where you may serve these dishes without qualms and find beaming faces. Not so Thai curry, any "unusual" things or strong flavors.

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To My Most Gracious Princess Dejah, whose adventures on Mars thrilled my young heart way back when ,

You asked for ideas. I think a writer observed that the essence of these "back of the can" dishes was their liberating effect on the mother. While she might still be chained to the home, her obligatory chains to the stove were unloosed, and she now had some time to call her own. Coming from India, I can deeply appreciate the lessening of physical labor on women, and offering them more control over their own lives. Also, the lowering of the FEAR factor: can I put something delicious on the table? FEAR is & was a MOST potent & DEADLY element ruling the lives of women & children in the generations past & they still do in other places, and I am a witness. We forget the power of these things when poke our gentle fun at Campbell Soup.

Between 1950 & 1953 Dr. Lawrence Blood, working at Utah State College, now Utah State University, with Dr. Orson Cannon, were searching for a solution to a dread fungus disease affecting tomato fields, especially processing& soup tomatoes. They would plant more than 25K plants each season in the disease nursery, and watch carefully. Finally, Dr.Cannon found, after Dr.Blood's death, ONE plant surviving the fungus. That provided the first resistance genes for Verticillium Wilt Disease. He named the variety LAWRENCE BLOOD. It became part of the parental lines of every modern tomato that you or I today consume. That includes every soup tomato Campbell's processes. W

e cannot conceive today how astonishingly difficult it was to successfully crops at large enough scales to make food costs low; the prevalence of disease, physiological & genetic factors like skin that cracked as the tomato expanded, burst as it ripened, or rotted inthe rain. We take for granted today a commercial tomato & other vegetable crop, but the battles were so very hard won.

Dr.Cannon later became the chief of the Campbell tomato breeding program. The TOMATO SOUP led the way for Campbell's conquest of the American kitchen!

The red & white can is borrowed from Cornell's colors, with Cornell then & now being a center of tomato research.

We sometimes forget the extraordinary history of the USA, which is why I tend to digress to reconnect us with our heritage. No nation or society in history ever has contributed so much wealth or human welfare to humanity as THIS COUNTRY has in ONE SINGLE CENTURY, 1900-2000. We cannot ever forget this, and advances in FOOD TECHNOLOGY like canned soup had something to do with how rapidly the USA developed. People will tease me, and I shall happily accept.

So, My Gracious Princess, would you not agree with the thesis that the utility of the Canned Soup Cuisine lies precisely in using what is at hand, and what is frugal, without having to worry about buying any special ingredients.

The CANNED SOUP, like the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, is the Spirit of a New Nation. With a patient sigh, it fulfills all the lacunae in our pitiful endeavors. It is spicing, sauce, salt, umami, refrigeration, pest-proof storage and convenience.

This is not food for the wealthy or for the fussy, but for those who are deeply grateful for life and the blessings each day brings with it. This is for families who know that food is what you set on the table and there shall be nothing but clean plates and happy faces, basking in the safety of a family and a country.

If we have some frozen pollock or any fish, perhaps some flour, even Wondra, and maybe a tiny bit of wine or spirits to neutralize any odor, the fish can be rubbed with a little alcohol, seasoned with (very little) salt,pepper, Wondra, set on bakeware, and covered with a can of Shrimp Bisque. Bake or carefully microwave. Garnish with parsley or herbs. Bake potatoes at the same time or cook rice or egg noodles. Serve with your choice of vegetables. This is bland food. You may add some lemon, Tabasco, whatever you fancy. If you get 1 can of bisque on sale for $1, buy several, & you can zap 2lbs of fish with 1 can.

Fish is expensive $ 2.39/lb at Easter sales for pollock in 10lb bags to $4-5/lb for tilapia. I got 4 oz. IQF mahi-mahi at $4/lb, 20 pieces/box.

Chicken breast is $1.49/lb per 40lb. box, $1.79/25lb, salad shrimp $88/25lb.

White mushroom is $2.66/lb and can be used with the bisque + shirataki noodles, as above as a good diet-friendly dish, along with a separate quick choisum saute, salad, black chickpea salad/casserole or red lentil w/lemon soup. Whole lentils are even better.

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Poppyseed cake on the Solo poppyseed can.

Cafe Expresso cake from the back of the Domino 10x box.

Apparently, there's a good chocolate cake on the Hershey's cocoa can. I've never made it.

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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Famous things from packages: Toll House cookies. Lipton's French onion dip.

Plus one on these as well. I have gotten off the onion dip train in the last few years but it is good and people adore it. The Toll House Cookies- I use that recipe from an empty bag in my recipe file even when I use other types of chips or chocolates.

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v. gautam:

" "So, My Gracious Princess, would you not agree with the thesis that the utility of the Canned Soup Cuisine lies precisely in using what is at hand, and what is frugal, without having to worry about buying any special ingredients. " So true!

Thanks for this!

Campbell's soup takes up a fair amount of space in my pantry. I haven't tried the Shrimp Bisque. Must pick some up tomorrow. Two of hubby's family's recipes were creamed salmon made with either Campbell's cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup, or creamed salmon with peas or corn in a well surrounded by mac'n'cheese. These were easily prepared comfort food for hubby and his family, and now, for our children and grandchildren.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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My mother made two things with Campbell's Tomato Soup: Swiss Steak and Meatloaf. To this day I do, too.

The Swiss Steak--or rather, its gravy--is heavenly. Using a thick cut of round steak, about 1 1/2 inches, pound the daylights out of it, season and flour and pound some more. Brown in hot oil (Mom used lard) on both sides. Top with a great quantity of chopped onion. Spread the undiluted soup over the onion. Add some water to the pan, being careful not to wash off the onion and soup, cover and place in a 325 degree oven for about two hours. Exact timing depends on meat thickness. Meat should be fork tender, and the gravy should be a rich red color, NO LONGER ORANGE. Mom and I both used iron skillets, perhaps that accounts for the change in color. Must have mashed potatoes.

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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I do use some of the Campbell's condensed soups.

I have a chocolate cake recipe that uses the tomato soup.

I prepare a curried chicken casserole with rice that requires a can of Cream of Celery soup.

And I always prepare my macaroni and cheese bakes with Campbell's Cheddar Cheese, Nacho Cheese, etc., depending on if I want plain or spicy.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Mom used to make the shrimp bisque fish. TollHouse cookies are a staple. I havent found a better chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Liptons dip is a regular staple. Velveeta dip is known as "comfort food" aka "queso" at our house.

Always wanted to try that ritz cracker pie.

v. gautam, the paean to the US brought tears to my eyes. Well written, and quite the food for thought.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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funny, reading this thread I get a craving for something - anything - canned and ready to use :laugh:

I haven't opened a soup can in a long time, but you know, why not?

Wait, yesterday I actually opened a glass of Trader Joe's giant white beans, used them as 'dressing' on arugula with halved mini tomatoes, makes for an excellent quick salad and the beans are quite good!

And once in a while, late at night, a spy might find me sitting on the couch eating canned corn or peas straight from the can, maybe with some garlic salt added :smile:

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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There is a really good recipe for tomato soup on the back of the can for Muir Glenn's petite diced tomatoes with garlic.

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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Poppyseed cake on the Solo poppyseed can.

Cafe Expresso cake from the back of the Domino 10x box.

Apparently, there's a good chocolate cake on the Hershey's cocoa can. I've never made it.

That Hershey's cocoa cake was the first thing I ever baked! I love it, but it's not my fave chocolate cake any more, really. My mom's tuna casserole never used canned soup, we only eat GBC at holidays, and I can't really remember any really canned dinners except for Dinty Moor Beef Stew and Pillsbury Biscuits, but we sure did go for dessert recipes on the backs of pudding boxes or Cool Whip containers.

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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One of my most popular dishes is a mixed bean salad that uses 3 different types of canned beans, a can of diced tomatoes, a chopped large red onion and a chopper celery heart (from a two pack), along with a specific brand of Italian dressing, and seasonings. :blush: It's a "cook from the hip" invention which succeeded madly! (Plus, dear G-d, is it easy!)

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've never had a failure, or less than raves, for the chocolate chip cookie recipe on the Hershey's chip bag (or the identical one on the Nestle's bag). I do cut the amount of white sugar in half, though.

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Poppyseed cake on the Solo poppyseed can.

Plus one on that- it is comfort food for our family

I missed this post.

There used to be a recipe on the Solo Prune Plum Lekvar Filling can for a coffee cake that was just like real Danish pastry. I lost it years ago and would love to find it again.

I have some good Danish pastry recipes but none as flaky and tender as that one but still held together well.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Apparently this is what makes me forever unAmerican despite a grandmother born in California - I really dislike tuna noodle casserole, chicken a la king, and the like. Fish in cream soup sauce features in my nightmares.

ObTopic: Yes to back-of-the-bag chocolate chip cookies. And I think my mother's beloved sour cream top cheese cake originally came from a box of Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese. (I have become less and less enamored of packaged foods as I get older, but I have found to my dismay that nothing else will do for that particular cheesecake.)

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Apparently this is what makes me forever unAmerican despite a grandmother born in California - I really dislike tuna noodle casserole, chicken a la king, and the like. Fish in cream soup sauce features in my nightmares.

ObTopic: Yes to back-of-the-bag chocolate chip cookies. And I think my mother's beloved sour cream top cheese cake originally came from a box of Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese. (I have become less and less enamored of packaged foods as I get older, but I have found to my dismay that nothing else will do for that particular cheesecake.)

Kat, you make all your own cheese, except for the philly creamcheese? Wow!

o.O ?! Kouign, where did you get "Kat makes all her own cheese" from what I wrote? What I mean is that I can use any sour cream for the top, but the cream cheese for that cheesecake *must* be Philly Cream Cheese by Kraft, or it just doesn't come out right. This is bizarre to me, but empirically true.

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After seeing so many mention Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies, I wonder if they are like Heinz ketchup. Maybe they are just what we expect CCCs to taste like. I've tried over 30 different CCC recipes but none of them are any better to me than the Toll House one.

Much like the poster with the meatloaf, I always assumed my Mom used her own cookie recipe for CCCs because she is a great cook and baker. Then I found out that not only has she always used the Toll House recipe but she now just buys the tub of dough and keeps it in the freezer. Homemade my %$@!

Edited by BadRabbit (log)
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Quaker Oats' meatloaf recipe is great! (But now that I eat thick rolled oats in the morning, I have to stock thinner oats for meatloaf.)

How about the fudge made with Marshmallow Kreme? A woman in my neighborhood growing up used to give fudge to neighbors every Christmas but refused to share her secret recipe. My mom was at a potluck in north Africa about 15 years ago and somebody brought the very same fudge. My mom couldn't believe it was from the Marshmallow Kreme label, and the woman who brought it was amazed my mom didn't know what it was. I seldom make it, but when I do I can hardly get enough.

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