Pedestal Soup

My job often entails non-standard hours and non-standard hours often entail food emergencies. While I bring regular food to eat every day, I also like to keep some non-perishables close by for those times when the choice is between death and vending machine meat sticks.

Once upon a time I brought in some Campbell’s “Soup at Hand,” as shown here. The flavor was “Velvety Potato,” also as shown here. I’m a big fan of potato soup (I make a pretty mean one myself) and so I actually started looking forward to the day where some horrible emergency would come up at work and I’d be stuck there late. That would finally give me an excuse to eat the Velvety Potato Soup at Hand.

Days, weeks, months passed. The can of soup sat there, taunting me. But I wasn’t going to give in. This soup was Important. This soup was for a Special Occasion. This soup had been placed High on a Pedestal.

More time passed. The soup continued to taunt. I finally gave in. I marched down to the kitchen, heated up the soup, and returned triumphantly to my desk.

Guess what?

Pedestal Soup sucks. The taste, texture, and consistency. I don’t know if it was just one or maybe even all of those things, but something wasn’t right. Then it hit me. It wasn’t the soup itself. It was the unattainable status I’d assigned to the soup that ruined it. I learned an important lesson that day. And you can be sure that since then I’ve always tried to either: 1) eat the Pedestal Soup very soon after purchasing it; or 2) always have several options, so that none of them are treated like the last food on earth.

My advice to you is therefore twofold: 1) avoid making your own Pedestal Soup and 2) try the Velvety Potato Soup at Hand some day. I’m sure it’s pretty darn good if you don’t wait a year to eat it.

9 Responses to “Pedestal Soup”

johngl said
December 23, 2008 at 6:10 am

What a great metaphor Charlie. As someone who gets asked to cook at larger gatherings and sometimes even gets rewarded for it (in wine currency), the expectations of the guests sometimes outweighs my cooking ability. I’m just a guy who loves to cook, not David Bull, so don’t expect to be amazed every time I put something on the plate.

With the soup, it would help if it was just Potato and not Velvety Potato. The expectation is set.

Jill said
December 23, 2008 at 7:01 am

I don’t want my potatoes covered in velvet. I want them covered in bacon.

Megan said
December 23, 2008 at 7:19 am

Love that you called it Pedastal soup..I have so many foods that I have done the exact same thing with in the past.

Quix said
December 23, 2008 at 8:41 am

Ok, the ridiculous thing is I had the SAME experience with the SAME soup. I kept it for about 6 months in my emergency food drawer at work (ya know, the one that now has 2 cans of progresso, a campbell’s double noodle, a 100 calorie thing of sun chips, 90 calorie chocolate mint rice cakes, popcorn, margarita mix, and hot sauce). I was so looking forward to it and it just did not deliver. I was so disappointed I never got it again. I think the “Velvety” modifier makes it very prone to pedestal-ing. 🙂

Tom Rooney said
December 23, 2008 at 8:50 am

Putting soup on a pedestal never really works. It just drips all over the sides! You need to put grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in its’ place.

Helen said
December 23, 2008 at 8:51 am

Maybe it was just expired Charlie. You should add it to your new mix of foods and try it again. Maybe black out the word “velvety.”

Kyddryn said
December 23, 2008 at 1:43 pm

I make my own soup, so I have only myself to blame if it’s off. Of course it helps that I am not employed (except for the writing that I don’t publish, the quilts that I don’t sell, the photographs that no one’s buying, the baking of a million loaves of bread because I need my house to smell that good, and the raising and educating of the Evil Genius, but those don’t count)(or so I’ve been told).

Shade and Sweetwater,
K (who is baking pumpkin spice cake as well as key lime bars today – and she wonders how she got a fifty-acre ass)(but it’s forty-eight acres, now) (hurrah)

Jennifer said
December 23, 2008 at 3:13 pm

I’ve had that soup and had high hopes too, but it is pretty disgusting and I ate it right away too!

KT said
December 29, 2008 at 2:43 pm

The soup on hand is actually pretty good- I have never tried the potato, but the chicken with noodles one is pretty good (and is low in calories).