517: Boxed Soups
I'm Molly. And I'm Matthew and I did the intro last time.
Matthew Amster-Burton 0:07
Oh, and this is a, this is a show where we go into the kitchen. We craft delicious foods, and then we consume them all without sharing.
Today we are discussing boxed soup. So soup that's not in a can.
Matthew Amster-Burton 0:22
Yeah. So I think, Well, how did this go? Because like, I think I said, Should we can we do a canned soups? And you said, What about box soups? And I like what
I was thinking of it in particular, well, can I just go down memory lane? So I think that my first introduction to the idea of, like, ready to eat are ready to use stuff in a box with a broth.
Matthew Amster-Burton 0:48
I mean, I get ready to use stuff in a box all the time, but like paper towel.
Okay. Anyway, so I remember buying broth in a box. Oh, yeah, I
Matthew Amster-Burton 0:59
buy I buy the box broth all the time. Yeah.
But I first encountered boxed soups within the past couple years, because June once I made some homemade tomato soup, and June was like, you know, who makes the best tomato soup? Oh, no. Yeah. And I was like, Who and she was like Natalie and she met Natalie Reha, our friend Natalie reshare. And I quickly Of course, texted Natalie Rehan told her I was gonna kill her. Actually, I texted Natalie Rehana and I said, Oh my god, please share your soup recipe. My child says it's the best tomato
Matthew Amster-Burton 1:37
ever phone. What is the text for you that says I'm going to kill you.
Anyway, and it turned out that Natalie's tomato soup that Jun loved so much and said was the best tomato soup was in fact Pacific foods creamy tomato soup.
Matthew Amster-Burton 1:51
I'm gonna taste some for the first time right now. See what you think? Pretty good. Yeah.
The truth is we should probably be doing a tomato soup show. I think we do a tomato soup sharing this too. Like Campbell's tomato bisque.
Matthew Amster-Burton 2:04
Oh, I don't know if I've ever had Campbell's tomato bill. Actually, I
think we've eaten it on the show together. And I think when we did eat it, I think we decided it was saltier than we
Matthew Amster-Burton 2:14
want on it because I usually when I usually make Campbell's tomato soup, I do like half a can of water and half a can of milk. I find like a whole can of milk is a little to milky to a little too creamy for me to just shake this really well.
I thought I did. But I didn't. I think you didn't see this is my main problem, but, but I like it. This is my main problem with this soup. If you don't shake it hard enough, and you got to shake it really hard. Why didn't you warn me before I because I this is the thing I never remember until it's too late. And then I'm like, Oh, right.
Matthew Amster-Burton 2:48
Is this like the thick end that we got? No, I think this is the thin end. Oh, but there was like, there was like a plug of tomato solid that like slumped out into the pot in a very upsetting way.
Maybe this is how it is. I mean, I like the texture is is good. Yeah. Okay. Anyway, so this is the soup that my child loves more than me.
Matthew Amster-Burton 3:08
That makes sense. Yeah, it's a good soup and like unlike a canned soup, I can now put this back in the fridge and have more later Right exactly. We're
going to get to that. Okay, okay, Matthew, tell me about your box to suit memory lane.
Matthew Amster-Burton 3:19
I buy the like the Swanson natural goodness chicken broth in a box and I don't think I've ever bought a box soup until I never thought about box soup until you mentioned it. And I even cheated because I got like two box soups and one jarred soup because I interpreted it your directive to me not a canned non canned soup. You know,
I think we should call this episode, resealable soup, resealable soups.
Matthew Amster-Burton 3:41
I like that right? Yes, this? Yes. Whoops.
I just dripped soup on my agenda. That's fine. That's why we have it. You know, the more sips I take of this the more thickness I'm getting and I'm appreciate I think it's
Matthew Amster-Burton 3:53
I think it's thick with a two C's. Yeah. With two C's like th FCC. I think this is better than Campbell's. I think it's really good. I noticed but didn't buy and now wish I had bought when I bought this Pacific foods organic creamy tomato soup. They also have an oat milk version now. Oh, and I feel like I every time I've tried something oat milk. I've liked it. Okay, I might get that. Shall I talk about what I learned? Yeah, I want to talk about what you what you learned. But I also want to try these other soups before they get too cold. But they're so hot right? Okay, great. Everything. No, no, but you can eat soup and I'll talk Okay, great. This is it sounds like a really good yeah, I could do this just like every time Yeah.
No, no, don't care for this one. Matthew. What the heck is going on now? That is like watered down dirt.
Matthew Amster-Burton 4:41
Do we even want to say what it is? It's it's a Trader Joe's item.
That was no that's not good. How's this one?
Matthew Amster-Burton 4:48
This one's all right. i The noodles are really soft, of course. But I guess it's chicken noodle so they're supposed to be huh. I can't find it tastes like it. This is rayos made for home. Slow simmered chicken noodle soup in a jar. First of all, chicken noodle soup in a jar looks appalling.
It does. It truly looks like gefilte fish. Yes,
Matthew Amster-Burton 5:06
I brought it home and wait for the show. Laurie said did you buy gefilte fish? Yes, um, I think this is fine as far as like a canned chicken noodle soup goes. Like if you went into rayos the restaurant they serve as
like zero stars. Yeah, if you were a Zagat
Matthew Amster-Burton 5:22
reviewer, Bob zaggy would have to be like zero to 21 to 20.
Okay. All right. So most of the research for today's show comes from a website called packaging. insights.com. So excited about this, I spent a good chunk of my morning on packaging insights.com And I learned that you know, of course, the first package soups were sold in cans as you can imagine. I don't
Matthew Amster-Burton 5:46
know if I if I would have been totally confident in saying that, like me before that they were sold. Just in a cardboard box
are like in a sheep's bladder. Bladder. Yeah. Anyway, I believe Campbell's brought them to the market in 1895. Okay, I know what their first products were. It was yes, it was a beefsteak tomato soup. Okay, wow, that's weirdly specific, right. But of course, these days, there are so many different ways of packaging soups and other like liquids that are ready to consume. And this is in part because there are like, a lot of problems with cans. Yeah, I mean, let's let's, shall we count the problems with cans? Okay. What do you think is the problem with cans while they're round? So they don't pack as efficiently? Okay, right. Yeah, that's correct. That's correct. Also, they require a can opener or some sort of a mechanism for being open.
Matthew Amster-Burton 6:43
Yeah, I feel like a lot more and more cans these days have like a pull tab. Mm hm. But that scares me. Like, even more, so I feel like I'm gonna like pull it and somehow like lacerate myself while pulling it, which I never have. I
feel that way. Every time I open a tuna can. Yeah, yeah. But I keep opening tuna cans.
Matthew Amster-Burton 7:00
And how many times have you lacerated yourself? Zero? Okay, far so good.
So anyway, so yeah, they require a can opener or some sort of like, you know, mechanism to open them. They're heavy. Which of course, like costs more or costs a lot to ship. Yeah, yeah. Then of course, they don't stack easily. You know, some of them stack nicely on top of each other, but not all of them.
Matthew Amster-Burton 7:24
No, and that's a good point that like if you like if you're hiring for like a shelf shelf for at the supermarket. Like you need someone who can make a pyramid of cans. Yes, that that skill may not be as easy to come by as at once. Yeah, so the Canon needs to Kabul itself you can use to Kabul itself. Yes. But I feel like they did they have started making like started like probably 50 years ago. Cans cans that are kind of like smaller at one end. So they stack better. You know what I mean? Every
now and then you encounter one that like doesn't fit properly into your other can? Mm hmm. They didn't cans down they didn't and then it's difficult to get them open. And the other thing is you can't easily reseal them.
Matthew Amster-Burton 8:10
Yeah, I know. I never thought about all the problems with cans until now and now now I've got to be thinking about this when I'm up tonight trying to sleep
I mean this did create the marketing opportunity that was like special little plastic lids for your tin can we have those but only for pet food? Yeah, but anyway so so despite you know all these problems with cans what actually kind of prompted innovations in packaging of ready to eat foods was the military okay, this innovation was like spurred on by the needs of the military because they needed lighter packaging that was still shelf stable and cost efficient.
Matthew Amster-Burton 8:45
But I mean that's not that's not like a new problem right?
No, no this I mean the state's way back I mean, I think that you can imagine you know, transporting food for your troops. It cans are gonna get real problematic.
Matthew Amster-Burton 8:59
Absolutely no, like, I don't know a lot about like military combat, but I imagine like if I had to carry a can opener, I would rather just have like another small gun.
Okay, so the first solution as you might imagine, was pouches. Right? Sure. You think about like all those military movies with like, you know your your MRE roaches? Yeah.
Matthew Amster-Burton 9:22
Okay, wait, what are your top three favorite military movies without its full metal powder? Got to be number one
battle the Battle of the Bulge. Joey
Matthew Amster-Burton 9:39
I am Joey balls.
No, it's your pouches bulging? Because you got to Joey
Matthew Amster-Burton 9:44
in there. Okay. That makes sense. And Hamburger Hill, which is about a hamburger that match. That was a movie right?
Okay, hang on. So, let us take a moment. We've just imagined all the problems with cans, which we have to imagine. Now let's imagine the challenges presented by liquid and
Matthew Amster-Burton 10:10
what if the movie was put in a pouch?
That's funny. Yeah. We started watching Band of Brothers on HBO less, like a decade behind.
Matthew Amster-Burton 10:26
Isn't that like something like a grandpa? Right?
We've been like working our way through Ken Burns documentary. So this was the logical next step. So, yeah, let's picture soup in a pouch. Okay, so like, unless it has a like, stand up, bottom, it tips over. You can't reseal it. Like, I mean, I've eaten out of pouches while backpacking. Oh, yeah. We ended up buying food out of a pouch. And it is still actually I believe the fastest growing packaging format even today.
Matthew Amster-Burton 10:58
Okay, because I've noticed like tuna in a pouch. Like what what else can you get? Like, oh, actually, you know what, we have some like cowboy beans in a pouch in the root cellar right now.
Yes, my mother has some beans in a pouch in your pantry.
Matthew Amster-Burton 11:14
It sounds like a lot
doesn't it? No. But also, I mean, even just think about all the other things that are like other household products that are coming in pouches these days, like refills up for your soap or your shampoo,
Matthew Amster-Burton 11:28
or like like, laundry pods, you can get those in a pouch.
Oh, yeah, I don't have a pouch of dishwasher pods. Yeah, we got we got pouches. So anyway, pouches are the fastest growing packaging format, everybody.
Matthew Amster-Burton 11:42
Okay, so let's go back to like the theater of war. Because I feel like a pouch would would rupture too easily.
So this was a big problem with pouches. And in fact, you know, part of packaging innovations is in making pouches more like puncture resistant. All right, that makes sense. Yeah. And also pouch must
Matthew Amster-Burton 12:04
be really fun research to do, right? Cuz you're just like,
so excited right now. about it. I mean, you just get to stab stuff.
Matthew Amster-Burton 12:13
We're gonna need to find real jobs at some point. And if we could just like stab pouches of soup to get paid for it.
Okay, however, paper cartons started to get big, at least in a, you know, a global sense, because people have become wary of single use packaging and they now want their soup packages to be like eco friendly, like made from recyclable materials or recyclable themselves.
Matthew Amster-Burton 12:42
I think I first encountered this type of paper carton resalable Paper Paper carton in the form of soy milk.
I think I first encountered it actually, on a trip to Europe when I was a teenager. That was the first time I ever saw like a Tetra pack.
Matthew Amster-Burton 12:58
Okay, I think you're a milk head of the US in terms of like UHT milk.
And I wonder how much of that is because the company tetrapack which is a Swedish Swiss company, founded in the 40s. They brought like their you know, packaging the bit, which is basically like layers of plastic and polymer over paper. They brought that to market in the 60s. Okay, which makes sense way before we started seeing boxes. Oh, yeah. I mean, we were still doing cans and glass milk jugs. Yeah. Anyway, so yeah, these days people want their packaging to have more than one lifespan. Yeah,
Matthew Amster-Burton 13:41
I mean, is this actually recyclable? Are we gonna get to that?
So I think what we're gonna, we'll so hold on, we're gonna get there. Alright, so people have a lot of demands, as you may have noticed, yeah. I've noticed that people want things to no longer be single use, but they still want them to be convenient, resealable, lightweight and easy to
Matthew Amster-Burton 14:01
like pack and I demand a job punching and stabbing pouches of soup. Yes.
So now companies like put all kinds of jargon and stuff on their packages about them being certified eco friendly, etc. Because this is a selling point now. So absolutely. But one thing that you will notice is so looking at this Trader Joe's thing this is made by Tetra pack.
Matthew Amster-Burton 14:23
Yep. This one is also the Pacific foods it says please recycle. But here's
the thing. What I understand about about at least the vast majority of these tetrapack packaging is that they cannot be recycled in ordinary, like municipal recycling. Yeah, it was like a race. So I mean, I wonder if for instance in Tokyo, there's like a separate category of recycling that is tetrapack I wouldn't be surprised because yeah, I have never recycled one of these. However, I do sometimes see that they are made of recycled materials. Okay. Yeah, I don't really understand why people think this is more eco friendly
Matthew Amster-Burton 15:03
then like then an aluminum can Yeah, I I don't know this has plastic right? Well yes because aluminum aluminum cans can actually be recycled and most plastic cannot This is correct. But that I mean but that that's not the whole story of course because then you have to ask like you know how much energy and carbon goes into making the product and recycling the product and let's get deeply into that on our show. Yes. Anyway, so yeah, in terms of convenience, like I am kind of sold I do
think there's much less food waste at least in my household absolutely using boxes as opposed to cans
Matthew Amster-Burton 15:41
Yes. You know if I open a can of broth and use half of it I'm not saving half a can of I actually do. Yeah, but I'm not you. Okay, I'm a bad man.
You are a bad bad man
Tetra pack actually took a long time to catch on in the US because Americans found it too inconvenient to open this was before they came up with these like reseal the used to be that you would have to like kind of pull up the corners, pinch it and use scissors to cut it open. Yeah. Tell me tomatoes.
Matthew Amster-Burton 16:21
Yes. Oh, yeah. Yes, I've definitely opened those Pomi tomatoes. Yeah, that was super inconvenient. And then it would like drip. Yep. But then then they had like this one where you would like flip up a plastic thing and pull off a towel? Like those were not great. Those were not great. And they were not resealable, right. I mean, they sort of were like you could put the plastic back down and it would sort of click shot but only sort of and then they came up with this twist off top that actually works yeah,
the twist off top is a great innovation but yeah, I don't feel that I'm doing anything good for the earth when I buy this nonsense no
Matthew Amster-Burton 16:56
anyway but but the the creamy tomato soup is good. Yes.
Anyway, Matthew, we could talk for hours about aseptic processing like packaging Tetra pack this this is apparently our tetrapack episode, tetra pack was a like a really good solution to aseptic processing. So what is aseptic processing? Well, it basically means that you're able to put something sterile sterilized into a container and have the whole thing be sterile. Okay, is that is a technical definition is is what's in the package different from a canned soup? I don't think so. But my understanding is that the way that the whole thing is made a septic varies according to the vessel like some things like like the soup is sterilized and the container is sterilized, then you unite them in wholly sterilization. Okay, that sounds very romantic, there are things you actually warm the the contents of the vessel inside the vessel, okay. And then there are other things, you know, we can link to the Wikipedia entry for aseptic processing, because there are many different ways of making sterile shelf stable food.
Matthew Amster-Burton 18:07
Okay, a couple things. I've noticed when I went shopping for box soups, that they tend to come in a larger format than canned soups. And I assume that because like it's more efficient that way, and people are still willing to buy it because they know that they can, they can just close the package and put it back in the fridge. Does that seem right? That seems right. And why hasn't Campbell's gotten into this game? Do you think or have they and I just didn't notice maybe
I'm almost certain they have Yeah, but I do think that there's also there is one thing that I found on packaging insights.com is that there's a lot of nostalgia for the the soup can you know
Matthew Amster-Burton 18:46
change like the Campbell's to make canned tomato soup label people lose their shit?
Well, and apparently the advent of the pull tab has has definitely caused like kind of a resurgence in the market for canned
Matthew Amster-Burton 19:01
ready to eat because so many people have their can opener and too many
people have lost their can opener or traded it for tiny guns. That would be sorry, this sounds like a uniquely American. Yeah.
Matthew Amster-Burton 19:17
That's funny and also probably true
and very sad. Okay, Matthew, that's all I've got on box soups. Okay. No, I you know, I learned some stuff.
Matthew Amster-Burton 19:27
I'd never thought about all of this. No, no, it's it. Where do you think soup packaging is going next. You know, as a noted, futurist,
you know, the same way that so whenever I get invited on a panel where I'm supposed to talk about food trends, yeah, I'm always like, you have come to the wrong place. So I'm gonna pass on that question.
Matthew Amster-Burton 19:48
Okay. I'm gonna I'm gonna take a stab at it. Oh, you're gonna stop the PAL. I'm gonna save the pounds. Yeah, I think we're gonna go back to stackable pouch. Okay,
okay. I do think pouches are working We're gonna see more and more pouches, you know, as people like pouches because you can flatten them and and when you picture a landfill, you can picture maybe the pouches taking up less space
Matthew Amster-Burton 20:11
or a landfill. Yeah. I mean, I picture myself on a boat on a river rafting through a landfill.
There's nothing that will make you produce less trash than going to a dump or a transfer
Matthew Amster-Burton 20:24
station. Yeah. You said you were going to take me to the transfer
episode at the transfer station. It'll be like, it'll be galvanizing for you, man.
Matthew Amster-Burton 20:34
I think so. Yeah. Okay, um, here's my prediction, and I'm sort of serious. You know, how people love seeing what's inside the container. Like, like, you know, now when you buy a box of pasta, there's like, there's always a window. Yeah, I think there's gonna they're gonna be like the same aseptic tetrapack but they're gonna put a window in it so you can see the soup.
I think we're gonna see more and more packaging that you can see inside. Peeping,
Matthew Amster-Burton 20:57
however touching peeping tom packaging, however, is looking at this radio's chicken noodle soup in a jar like people think they want that but they actually don't know. No. All right, okay, segments. All right.
So Matthew, I gotta tell ya, I read the What's New in the underworld stuff that you wrote here, but I thought that it was our spilled male.
Matthew Amster-Burton 21:21
Confused Okay, so this is our segment what's new in the underworld?
This is not me talking. But I asked teenager the show December who's playing a lot of the game Hades, which Hey, do you want to sponsor us the game Hades get in touch okay, contacted Spielberg podcast calm and I asked him what is new in the underworld? And they replied I bought a rod of fishing and can now catch fish. Wait a minute a rod of fishing. Yeah, that's what they that's what they call a fishing rod in ancient Greece. No. Okay, go on. But that is what they call it in the game and can now catch fish and give them to the house chef who is a ghost.
This sounds a lot like Animal Crossing. It does. Chef is like a turkey.
Matthew Amster-Burton 22:03
And some of the fish you can catch are crustacean and clam, which is spelled ch l am slash lamb Ka also Slav Ogg and GUP. Which is Gu PP. Okay, so Wow. All right, more reports.
Okay, today we've got a spilled mail and Matthew, I'm gonna let you read it
Matthew Amster-Burton 22:31
this is from listener Karen, who writes Hi host host and Abby. I love that. What is biscuits and gravy and why does it exist? I live in Sweden and sometimes I hear about weird names for meals weird ingredients or combinations of foods from American influencers, et cetera. Do you think that's awesome American influence? Oh,
Matthew Amster-Burton 22:51
I usually just Google it and realize there's a Swedish similar dish or something that at least sounds good but biscuits and gravy why?
And how does it taste? And My thoughts exactly listener Karen, why is my response
Matthew Amster-Burton 23:04
Oh boy. We are not so much trouble
we are not biscuits and gravy ambassadors here at spilled milk. We're not influencers of biscuits and gravy. I think it's I when I've had it I thought it was a gravy is the most condiment tea of condiments yo gravy.
Matthew Amster-Burton 23:21
No it is in gravy first what no gravy just seems like like like something that's part of a thing.
No, absolutely not. I I have never managed to get a bite of biscuits and gravy into my mouth. Wow. No, yeah, no, I know this.
Matthew Amster-Burton 23:38
Wait. Oh, no. added a few times. It's not like a big common thing in the Northwest the way it is in the south. But whatever I've had, I'm like, This is tasty. Like, I'm not I'm not I'm not someone who makes gravy.
But the whole thing with biscuits is is the texture. A big part of the biscuit eating experience is texture and the gravy. Like really quickly smothers that texture under glue.
Matthew Amster-Burton 24:01
But we didn't even answer the question what is biscuits? Okay, so it's like fluffy fluffy biscuits and like, I don't know for sure if it's clear if you're in Sweden that we are talking about biscuits as like I sort of a scone like fluffy or flaky like 1111 baked good. Yeah,
not a cookie. That's correct. And then the gravy and biscuits and gravy is usually a white gravy.
Matthew Amster-Burton 24:24
Yeah. Sometimes called a sawmill gravy usually made with sausage.
So yeah, it usually has chunks of brown stuff in it in the white stuff. It looks a little bit like like clam chowder looks a little bit like clam chowder thicker and you pour that Oh, biscuit and it is an abomination.
Matthew Amster-Burton 24:43
Wow. I think I think with this, I think we just lost many less.
Matthew Amster-Burton 24:49
I think biscuits and gravy is fine and I'm starting my own show. It's called spilled gravy. And you can find it or over here. So I trust that fully answered your question. Karen, thank you for writing it if you want to send us a question that we will answer in a very satisfying way contact at spilled milk podcast.com Now it's time for now but wow
All right, so I may have mentioned the company diaspora CO on now but while before I think they're probably best known for their turmeric, so diaspora CO is is headed up by a queer Indian woman who lives in the US named sunnah Jhaveri Qadri. She is sourcing spices directly from growers in her home country. That's great, as well as in other parts of Asia. And in particular, what I want to talk about today is her newly released cinnamon, okay, which comes from Sri Lanka. You know, I actually haven't gotten my hands on it yet, because as of the time of taping this episode, it's still quite new to the market. But you can order it from the diaspora co website it is, it's called Penny miris. Cinnamon, okay. And it's yeah, it's the only cinnamon they carry. And I'm sure just like all the other spices they carry, it is going to be exceptional.
Matthew Amster-Burton 26:23
I love the idea because like I you know, I typically order spices for spices, spices from from penzeys. And even though I like penzeys a lot like most places that you order spices from they carry like 130 different spices and there's no way they're like putting care into the sourcing and tasting of all of them.
Yeah, no son. I mean, son, his family still lives in India, and she is back there all the time. I think she's even thought about moving back there. Anyway, and so she is out on sourcing trips at these farms. I think that she is somewhat of a force of nature. She's like in her mid 20s doing all of this.
Matthew Amster-Burton 27:02
That's amazing. And what are we doing with our lives? So Diaz proko.com
Yeah, go order some cinnamon order some turmeric. They've also got some delicious dried chilies,
Matthew Amster-Burton 27:14
right? I mean, yeah, get it. Our producer is Abby, sir. Catella. And you can rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts. If you want to hang out with other people who listen to spilled milk. Just go to reddit.com/are/everything spilled milk. It's a message board where you can talk to people about the show. Yeah, and you can also pick out your cute little avatar. I know what people are gonna be talking about after this episode. It's have Molly and Matthew are the worst because of what they said about biscuits and gravy. It's fine. We deserve it.
Okay, well, thank you for listening to spilled milk. The show that the just got gravy. I'm Matthew Amster-Burton. You're gonna accept that. Good gravy. This show was terrible.
Matthew Amster-Burton 27:57
I'm Matthew Amster-Burton. And I'm Molly Weiss. I'm very upset right
now you are struggling with that mic and the soup. Hang on. I'm eating soup down to who's gonna talk to bed Mrs. Cavour, sin isn't here.