Friday, May 15, 2009

My Comfort, My Lipton

Psychologists often speak of something they like to call “comfort foods.” Comfort foods are those foods they say, that make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. These foods supposedly have the ability to make a stressful day at work seem not so bad, or they can make you feel loved after your best friend has just told everyone how fat you look in your new dress. Mashed potatoes and gravy, Jello, and chocolate are typically listed as the most popular of the comfort foods. I’d like to add my own favorite to the list: Lipton’s Chicken Noodle Soup.

What is Lipton Soup? As Jeremiah’s dad likes to describe it, it is simply “Cardboard and Water.” To me it is much more than that. It is chicken bouillon, cardboard and water. He actually forbade me to eat it when I was pregnant with Jeremiah, saying that no son of his was going to be born addicted to paper products.

I first remember eating Lipton Soup in my mother’s kitchen when I was about 3 years old. Although my memory may fail me, it seems as if this kitchen had yellow walls, and for some odd reason, I recall watching “Felix the Cat” while sipping my soup one afternoon. The scent of Lipton soup cooking can even today take me back to that time.

In high school, I was an early riser since I had to walk to my bus stop 7-8 blocks away, and be there by 7:10 am. My mother and I had a conversation once about breakfast food, and why some foods were deemed acceptable foods for breakfast, while others were not. My teen-age reasoning told me that if I wanted to eat Lipton Soup for breakfast I should be able to, after all, what makes it any different from cereal? My mother agreed and soon I began waking up at 5:30 a.m. to the smell of Lipton Soup simmering on the stove. (My mother was an insanely early riser at 4:30 a.m.)

Lipton Soup was also popular among us Campbell children as a Saturday afternoon lunch. We’d eat Lipton Soup while watching American Bandstand. An exciting feature about Lipton Soup was the fact that after you emptied the contents of the package into the boiling water, some of the bouillon remained stuck to the inside of the foil package. We would argue over which child got to lick the inside of the Lipton Soup package. What a delicacy! What a treat!

Sometimes we would try to sneak a piece of the dehydrated chicken before it reached the boiling water. It was fun to eat chicken that crunched. If we got bored with the standard soup, we at times would throw a loose handful of Minute Rice into the pot. Mom tried on occasion to break my Lipton Soup obsession by sprinkling diced onion into the mixture. Bad mommy, bad mommy. I guess that was her way of ensuring that she could eat the whole pot of soup by herself.

Now I have children of my own. Megan has no real interest in Lipton Soup. She prefers cooked vegetables and what she calls “healthy food.” Kylie has asked me to send boxes of the soup to her in the mail. It seems as if it has become a comfort food to her as well. Jeremiah as a toddler loved for me to make him Lipton Soup, but he erroneously said, “Mom, make me some Ramen.” Apparently he had Lipton Soup confused with some soup that is nothing more than cardboard and water: Ramen Noodles.

Even today, when I am sick in bed, and my husband asks if he can get me anything, I force my eyes slightly open to croak " I...need...Lipton."

I have witnessed my own mother partaking of comfort foods. But how anyone could choose a baked bean, tomato and cucumber sandwich over a bowl of Lipton Soup is beyond my comprehension.

It's contest time! To win five, yes FIVE boxes of Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup, simply write "I love Lipton" in the comments box. The winner will be chosen in a totally random drawing by Jeremiah blindly drawing from all entries thrown into a used Walmart bag (hey, I'm green. ) The drawing will be held on Monday, May 25, at 10:00 a.m. MDT. All entries must be dated before that time. The winner will get to pick whether they want Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup, Lipton Noodle Soup (Chicken broth but no chicken,) Noodle Soup with Extra Noodle, or Ring-o-Noodle.

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  1. Dear Jeremiah,
    I have no shame. Please pick me! By the end of this article, your mum - an ace writer - had me craving not only Lipton soup, which I've never tried, but the Kraft Macaroni Cheese dinner of my childhood Saturdays which we made before we all sat down to watch TV. It was macaroni which you had to cook then add butter and the sachet of dried orange powder to; it's been described by everyone in my family since as uuuurghh!!! When it was my turn, I deliberately didn't mix it well so that little globules of intense orange goo would clump between bits of pasta.)

    If I win, can I have some when I come to visit you, please? I'd rather have the lovely memory factor attached to it.

  2. Wow Janice, unless someone else enters, you're a shoe-in! Are you getting nervous? :)


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