Soup's Off

Sep. 9 - I woke up at five this morning to listen to the second half of the Monday Night Football game between the Bucs and the Eagles. The score was 3-0 when I tuned in, so I'm glad I didn't wake up at 3:30 to listen to the first half. The Bucs are up 10-0 now, and the Eagles don't seem able to do anything.

For the last couple of years in New York I ate the same lunch almost every single week day: a can of Progresso soup, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and and ounce of pretzels. I was especially fond of Progresso's New England Clam Chowder and Split Pea with Ham soups. They had a lot of other varieties I enjoyed. They also had a lot of soups I couldn't stand.

(Earlier this year Progresso changed their chowder recipe. They were very excited about the change and called it "New and Improved with More Clams." It was new and there were more clams, but I thought it was kind of a stretch to call it improved. I thought the new recipe tasted like a warm clam milkshake. I was so upset I actually a wrote the people at Progresso asking them if they'd bothered to taste their "improved" new chowder. They never replied, so I assume they hadn't.)

I'd guess that the Stop & Shop on Northern Boulevard usually stocked about 15 or 20 flavors of Progresso soups to choose from. They carried even more varieties of Campbell soups, as well as a lot of soups from little competitors.

The first time we went grocery shopping here in Denmark I was saddened to discover that Progresso soups aren't available here. That disappointment was dwarfed, though, by the devastation I felt when I discovered that it wasn't simply a failure of Progresso to penetrate the Scandinavian market: it was a failure of the Scandinavian market to understand soup.

You can't get canned soup here. It's the damnedest thing. You can get three or four kinds of frozen soup—they come in a plastic, family-size pouch—and you can get Cup-a-Noodles and Ramen Noodles type stuff, but the very notion of soup in a can is alien to the Danish grocer.

Soup itself just isn't that popular. There's a little lunch place in Frederiksberg Centret (the mall) called "Saft & Suppe," meaning "Juice and Soup." That's the name of the joint. Trine and I went in there a week or two ago to see what kind of soups they offered. Their menu offered dozens of kinds of pizzas and sandwiches but only a single mention of soup. "Ask about our soup of the day," it said. We didn't.

I mention all this only in the hope that some enterprising individual will see the opportunity to capture this clueless market and begin pumping soup into this country.

Hurry, please.

The Colonel

113 years ago today a little boy named Harland was born in Kentucky.

When Harland was six, his father died and his mother was forced to go to work. Little Harland did most of the cooking for his younger siblings. By the age of seven he was a master of the local cuisine.

There was no stopping the ambitious Harland, who had his own highway service station in Corbin, Kentucky, by the time he was forty.

He began cooking for hungry travelers who stopped at his service station. He didn't own a restaurant, so he served them at his own dining table. Word of his excellent cooking spread, and soon he moved across the street to a restaurant that seated 142 people.

His cooking soon became so well known that his state's governor, Ruby Laffoon, made him a colonel.

In an independent 1976 survey, Colonel Harland Sanders was ranked as the world's second most recognizable figure.

* * *

Today is the birthday of Adam Sandler (1966), Hugh Grant (1960), Michael Keaton (1951), Billy Preston (1946), Otis Redding (1941), Cliff Robertson (1925), Harland Sanders (1890), and Leo Tolstoy (1828).

It's Socialist Revolution Anniversary in Bulgaria, National Sports Day in Indonesia, Republic Day in North Korea, and Independence Day in Tajikistan,

Happy Tuesday!

2003, The Moron's Almanac™

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