How (not) to make chicken stock
Two soup-related items came at me from different directions on the same day last week. I don't think it's a coincidence.
First, I discovered that the small market in my village now sells Better than Bouillon (for a whopping $4.99). It's a soup base made from chicken meat with natural chicken juices; the "better" comes from salt, sugar, corn syrup solids, chicken fat, hydrolyzed soy protein, dried whey, flavoring (unspecified), disodium inosinate and guanylate, and turmeric. In that order. Is this better, really, or just sweeter, fattier and saltier than homemade soup stock?
Second, in an article in the Wall Street Journal titled "Soup's Suffering Sales", the chief executive officers of Campbell's and Heinz speculate about why sales of canned soups are down.
"It would be nice," the article reads, "to think declining soup sales are a sign the economy is finally improving and people don't have to eat so much from a can. But declining soup sales may be a sign that consumers are now so strapped, they're re-learning how to make their own soup from scratch."
Do they really think this is why we make soup -- because we are too impoverished to buy it in a can? And that, when we do make soup, we start with "better" soup base scooped from a jar?
Soup Chick readers know better. Anyone can make soup; it's easy, economical, gratifying and creative. You don't need fancy equipment, just a pot, a spoon, a ladle, and the courage to toss a bunch of ingredients together to see what happens. The best soups are a magical alchemy of humble ingredients, often leftovers, transformed into something new, wonderful, nourishing and nutritious.
And, as Campbell's should know all too well, if they believe their own slogan, soup is good food.
Real soup, that is, made from real ingredients.