The Campbell’s Soup Cook
The year I met my husband was the year I realized that I really didn’t know what good food was. I grew up in a middle-class neighbourhood, where canned corn was normal and KD graced our table at least once a week. My mom, who is kind and wonderful, wasn’t always the most adventurous cook. She taught us kids the basics, like how not to burn the grilled cheese or boil over the tomato soup. But, we really were a typical meat and potatoes sort of family, where the only spices or seasonings used were salt and ketchup.
My husband’s family is from Central America – the land of flavour and amazing food. One taste of my mother-in-law’s cooking made me realize how much better food could be! This, however, didn’t make me learn how to cook… At least not right away.
Once my husband and I were married, we moved to this little two-bed apartment on the edge of town, where the median age of its residents was (I kid you not) sixty-five years old. It was a quiet place that allowed us the space to set up house and get used to life together. One day while getting the mail, I received a Campbell’s Soup cookbook in the mail. Well, it was more like a flyer, but it had all these recipe cards you could punch out to make various meals. I thought I had hit the dinner cooking jackpot. I mean, here was this flyer in my hands, showing me just how easy it was to create flavourful meals in 20 minutes a day!
Well, the novelty of these recipes lasted about two weeks. One day after another saucy soupy overbaked pork chop dinner, my husband very gently inquired about these recipes. He said the words no wife ever wants to hear: Why can’t you cook more like my mom?
Yeah. I didn’t take it well either.
I’ll spare you the details of our argument, but I’ll tell you that I dismissed his comment and went about my merry way in the kitchen… For years.
Fast forward about 8 years and three kids later. I discover something called “real food”. As in, no longer relying on my crutch of frozen chicken nuggets, meatballs, KD, and yes, Campbell’s soup to get us through our week. I have no idea where I heard of this concept, but the general consensus is that you eat only food from scratch, or any packaged or canned food that has less than 4 ingredients (and you can pronounce them all).
I wish I could say it was instantly easy. The reality is, it was a learning curve for me to go from my boxed food utopia to something that required a lot more work on my part. But, I was up for the challenge and soon learned that my time in the kitchen was well spent. I was learning how to cook, and our family was realizing some byproduct health benefits that came from eating so much better.
Recently, after my husband returned home from a business trip, I served him a bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup. The gentle comments I got this time? A smile and a sincere thank you for taking the time to prepare something so simple, yet so delicious.
You could say we’ve both learned a thing or two since we’ve been married.
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