Eat Pip-Life

Thanks for the cosy memories, Two-Can Soup

May 9, 2020

When I was a kid one of the most comforting things we’d have for a rainy day lunch or after school snack was soup.

By soup, I mean canned soup. We’d cleverly combine a tin of tomato soup with a tin of another soup – perhaps beef and vegetable or ‘Stockpot’ or similar  but ALWAYS Heinz brand. It’d slide out of the can all thick and gluggy and then I’d add the requisite tins of water and stir with a wooden spoon. 

“So chef-y!” I thought.

It’d simmer on the stove in a bright enamel pot for 5 minutes and then voila! Comfort in a bowl.

I loved this soup. I remember living in Canberra and trekking home from school in the rain, cheered by the promise of this soup. I didn’t really know much about soups made from scratch. Nor did I want to know because I loved the two-can soup combo and it was a favourite family ‘recipe’.  Everyone in our house knew how to make it.

This soup tasted just as I wanted it to right out of the tin, thanks to various flavourings, thickeners and gosh knows how much salt. I’d twist cracked black pepper across its steaming surface, pile a plate with four slices of fluffy bread and head into the living room where I’d make sure the heater was on full bore or the fire was lit, flickering those first yellow-y flames before it settled down in earnest.

I settled down in earnest too, putting on an old episode of Countdown that I’d recorded on the VCR, finishing first one bowl full, then another, perhaps with an extra slice of bread or two. 

* insert chef’s kiss here! *

Once I’d eaten way too much soup and bread, I’d head for my bedroom, shutting the door on the world and plucking a record from my collection – probably The Cure – to listen to, and drowsily start my homework (or flip through Dolly magazines).

It’s rainy and cool today and not only did the weather spark an urge for comfort food, it also excavated this long-buried soupy memory. I’m not going to make this two-can soup. Sometimes old favourites are best left in the past where they can maintain their sentimental integrity. Chances are it wouldn’t taste the same these days, but thanks for the memories, soupy glug!

What was your go-to rainy-day after school snack or family fave easy recipe?

x pip

Top images by THIS Etsy shop.


  • Reply Rebecca May 12, 2020 at 6:18 PM

    Tinned spaghetti jaffles. Had to be Heinz. Had to be white bread. I have been craving this SO much lately. I wonder if we’re all reverting to our childhood comfort foods?

  • Reply Tanya Herriot May 9, 2020 at 8:53 PM

    I loved wet cold days and in NZ we had a lot of them. I loved the Kent wood fireplace and would light it as early and often as I could, my dad would always jokingly ask if I wanted to get inside it as the cat and I curled as close as possible (no central heating!). Comfort food after school was two biscuits and a hot milk Milo. Soup was for Sunday lunch or dinner, sometimes mum’s homemade vegetable laden soup with a ham hock and pearl barley, sometimes Heinz canned soup with buttered toast both were warm and comforting.

  • Reply Jules May 9, 2020 at 8:21 PM

    Mine isn’t soup, it’s Deb mashed potato. It HAD to be the one with the added onion, and if I was feeling super fancy I’d add a tin of tuna. I’ve felt like making it so many times in the last few weeks, but as you say, sometimes these things are better left in the past 🙂

  • Reply Kylie May 9, 2020 at 8:00 PM

    Arnott’s Milk Arrowroot biscuits (we called them ‘baby biscuits”) sugar sprinkled on top covered in warm milk. Stirred into a delicious, sweet, creamy mush! Yumm-OH!
    And ditto on the kero heater. Reannon’s comment has evoked so many memories. Especially the smell.

  • Reply Lalalian May 9, 2020 at 4:05 PM

    One of my best tinned soup memories was from the first time I went to Melbourne a bazillion years ago.

    My friend took me to see a fabulous theatre performance on the other side of town. It was freezing freezing in the middle of winter with a razor sharp wind that cut through all the clothing layers. On the way home we missed the tram and had to wait in the open air for what seemed like an eternity and this Queenslander nearly turned into a block of ice.

    When we finally got near her place we picked up a tin of Campbell’s cream of chicken soup, a loaf of white bread, a Sarah Lee apple strudel and vanilla ice cream from the servo.

    The fire was lit, about half the loaf was toasted and slathered in butter. When it was all ready we made a picnic on the lounge room floor and watched late night movies as we dipped our toast into the bowls of soup.

    This was more than 20 years ago and is still one of my favourite food memories.

  • Reply Janelle May 9, 2020 at 2:46 PM

    So good. My Mum’s Sunday soup consisted of 1 can Cream of Chicken soup, 1 can of creamed corn, 1 can of milk & a splash of Tabasco sauce!!

  • Reply Reannon May 9, 2020 at 2:35 PM

    Pip, this is the best kind of writing because I could picture every single think you described, especially the soup coming out of the can.
    For is it would have always been toast or a bowl of hot weet bix. We would have had the kero heater going ( I can still smell it & see it’s blue flame) & mum would urge us to change out of our school uniforms so they could be dried to wear again tomorrow.

    • Reply Kate May 9, 2020 at 3:29 PM

      I was right there every step of the way. I don’t know what I would have had, probably something from the takeaway shop. I’d run home from the bus stop, quickly prepare whatever we were having for tea, and then rush up the street to hang with my friends before running home to turn to tea on and look like I’d been home all the time. Of course I always forgot to get the washing in or some other job I was supposed to do and so yet again I’d be caught out by my mum.
      And Reannon has just reminded me of the winter when we had a Kero heater, I was terrified of that thing.
      Cheers Kate

  • Reply Carolyn May 9, 2020 at 2:30 PM

    Campbell’s condensed cream of chicken soup in our aqua mugs on a cold and rainy Saturday night was delicious!! And we were allowed to watch it in front of the tv! But in terms of an after school snack on a wintry day, coming home to the jam donut being warmed in the oven ‘mwah’!

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