Saturday, January 16, 2016

The '60s meaning of "hot sauce" and a fundamental misunderstanding of tortillas

I often take the bus to and/or from work. It's not usually so bad if I can avoid getting a seat next to someone who wants to tell me how the lizard-people are running a false-flag operation to distract us from the real problem of our time: electromagnetic pollution.

The thing I hate is freezing my pinkie toes off while I wait for the bus... and that makes me imagine myself as the star of an old Campbell's soup commercial. I'm not big on eating canned condensed chicken soup, so instead of warming up by eating soup, I will try writing about it instead. From Campbell's Easy Ways to Delicious Meals (1968 revised edition), we have a whole soup-centric spread:

You can tell it's festive because the drinks each have two mismatched straws in them. Two!

Hiding off on the far right is some kind of a jellied thing. Apparently it is so hideous that it insisted it remain mostly off-camera.

On the left, we have the ever-popular sandwiches with olives on the top so they kind of look like they're staring at you.

Plus bottom center, we have taco shells filled with what the bare minimum of shaved lettuce you can put in a taco shell to convince mom that you really are eating vegetables, plus a bit of cheese, with their butts sinking into some baked beans.

So how did Campbell's make all this stuff? And what does it have to do with a guitar?

Apparently the guitar is to show us this supper is "something to sing about." (I'm not sure what the song would have been. I'd have guessed "Eat It" if that song hadn't been a couple of decades too late.)

Note the discrepancy between the drinks in the picture and the ones listed in the actual menu. Campbell's doesn't seem to be fully convinced that hot V-8 juice spiked with A-1 sauce and topped with a pat of butter is an acceptable beverage. They can't even commit to photographing it.

The next item on the menu is "Hot Sauced Chicken Towers." I perk up a bit on reading this, wondering if this is a case where some actual hot sauce might make an appearance. Is it possible that dinner could have a bit of spice?

The answer, of course, is no. These are just chicken, bacon, and tomato sandwiches. The "hot sauce" is not Tabasco, but heated chicken gravy with some onion and canned mushroom added. Woo!

What is the deal with all the taco shells?

They are thrown into/onto "Mexicali Beans": a combination of canned barbecue beans, celery, and corn. Tortillas are fried and folded, (barely) filled with cheese (and maybe green pepper), then unceremoniously plunked into the beans and baked.

I get frying, folding and filling tortillas. Everyone knows that's the way to make hard tacos. I get filling, folding, and cooking the whole thing in a sauce. That's the secret to enchiladas and other treats. But frying, folding, (sort of) filling, and then baking with their butts in a sauce? These will neither be a shatteringly crisp vehicle for seasoned meat, cheese, and/or veggies nor a soft parcel stuffed with spicy surprises and bathed in delicious sauce. They're too big to give the top an addictively crunchy layer in every bite, as crushed corn chips could. The middles will be soggy and the tops unwieldy and bland. Throwing on a handful of shredded lettuce will not be enough to save this show. That seems like a complete misunderstanding of tortillas to me.

Lastly, what is that mold trying to hide in the corner? Does it really have soup in it?

That is Gingery Fruit Mold, and it is indeed made with a can of condensed consomme. (At least it's not cream of asparagus!) Using condensed consomme in the mold solves the problem with lemon gelatin if you've always thought it wasn't nearly salty enough. Otherwise, I'm not sure of the advantage of this addition unless one owns stock in Campbell's.

Have a happy weekend! Don't freeze, or if you do, warm up with a few Campbell's ads that may have been familiar to this book's original audience.


  1. "Gingery Fruit Mold" sounds really good until you get past the title.

    1. That's true! I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to think of a *good* gingery fruit mold.

  2. Hi Poppy!
    I'm sorry to hear that your toesies have to be exposed to the cold while you wait for the bus in the morning. Have you thought about getting those package hand warmers and stuffing them in your boots???

    It's funny that your post today is about Campbell's. I just dug out a Campbell's Tomato Soup die-cut that I'll be sharing on Wednesday. Let me tell you, the recipes aren't much better. However, I didn't se any soggy taco recipes in it,; yet, lol...It does have the Campbell's Soup kids in it though and you have to admit, they are darling:)

    That last recipe with the consomme is just so wrong. I wouldn't waste my walnuts in it!!!

    Thanks for sharing, Poppy...Stay warm and safe:)

    1. I do try the hand warmers sometimes if it's really bad out. It's always a trade-off since they make my boots feel too small!

      Great minds! The Campbell's kids are a lot of fun. My grandma on my dad's side collected them and had some Campbell kids mugs she used to serve me soup when I was little. I look forward to seeing a bit of your Campbell's collection!

  3. Anybody else think that they ubiquitous 1960s olive garnish is actually an alien spy camera? They look like Martian eyeballs! OK, just me then :D

    1. An alien spy camera? I like it! Now if John Carpenter would just decide to turn that idea into a movie....