Sunday, August 15, 2010

the great tomato soup taste-off - part 1

Recently, I wrote a facebook note about my favourite comfort food, which happens to be Campbell's Tomato Soup, with chopped spinach added, and feta cheese on top to garnish. My friend Jiyoon replied that I need to try Amy's Organic Tomato Soup. This started me on a quest to find out which commercial tomato soup tastes really good.

I looked through the local grocery stores and found Amy's easily. I also picked up a selection of soups, from generic (yellow label, black letters) to fancy tetra pak varieties. I assembled five soups (including Campbell's) and called my friends to help me with an official tasting.

Kirsi, Allan, Cathy, Terry, Shannon, Cal, Chris, Dave and Doris all agreed to taste. Andy and Wayne agreed to show up, but, disliking tomato soup in general, were simply spectators to our spectacle of slurping and pronouncing judgement over bowls of crimson liquid. I asked everyone to bring their favourite cocktail, and also "some food that goes well with tomato soup."

I set out to heat the soup on the stove. I realised I have only 3 pots with lids, suitable for keeping soup warm as tasters arrived, so I heated two of the soups in the microwave. I read the instructions on each soup container, and followed the most simple (not adding milk or cream, if the basic instructions called for water). I prepared a rating sheet for my tasters, including some rules for tasting. I also prepared dixie cups for small taste-size portions. Each dixie cup had a number, to facilitate a blind tasting. No fair knowing which soup is which before you score your soups.

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