I feel like Michael Flatley is riverdancing on my head. When 30,000 college kids move back onto campus after winter break, the inevitable respiratory illnesses spread across campus faster than your everyday STD.
(Please keep that movie running while reading this--it is the perfect soundtrack.) A nice, throbbing head cold gave me limited entertainment options this past weekend, and I've been so hopped up on Nyquil and Dayquil and Afternoonquil that I think I've been lucid dreaming for the last 72 hours.
Now, everyone knows there are just two ways to cure common colds: 1) your mother's hug and 2) homemade chicken noodle soup (preferably made by mother). Since my mother was nowhere near and I didn't have the willpower or resources to make my own soup, I went to the grocery store and bought a cornucopia of classics to speed the healing process.
Over the last few days, I had nine kinds of chicken noodle soup, which I -- even in my clouded, noodled judgment -- realized wasn't a smart idea: Each soup has between 40 and 80 percent of the sodium I should have in a day. So I've consumed about 250 percent of my recommended daily value of salt; needless to say, I'm drinking water like I'm on X right now.
And I'm writing like it, too. Here's my disoriented assessment of the soups I tried:
Campbell's 25% Reduced Sodium Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup
Noodle Factor: Very spongy.
Vegetable Factor: Three tiny carrot pieces!
Broth Factor: It's water with oily drops.
Chicken Factor: Little bacon-bit-like things.
Progresso Traditional Chicken Noodle Soup
Noodle Factor: Just your generic egg noodle.
Vegetable Factor: Carrots and celery that just DISSOLVED in my mouth.
Broth Factor: Herbaceous and slightly thicker than the others.
Chicken Factor: It made my teeth squeak!
Eating Right Chicken Noodle Soup
Noodle Factor: Some rubbery egg noodles.
Vegetable Factor: Carrots and gray celery.
Broth Factor: Salty, which is ironic, considering it has the least sodium of any I tried.
Chicken Factor: So tough I'm pretty sure it wasn't chicken.
Organics Chicken Noodle Soup
Noodle Factor: A decent bite to the noodle!
Vegetable Factor: So, so soggy.
Broth Factor: Kind of sweet, but pretty nourishing.
Chicken Factor: This...actually...tastes...like...chicken!
Campbell's Chunky Healthy Request Chicken Noodle Soup
Noodle Factor: Oddly plasticky.
Vegetable Factor: BIG, CHUNKY, MANLY PIECES OF CARROTS AND CELERY.
Broth Factor: Surprisingly close to homemade.
Chicken Factor: How could something so dry be sitting in soup?!?
Campbell's Select Harvest Chicken With Egg Noodles
Noodle Factor: Hmm, a decent noodle.
Vegetable Factor: The least worst.
Broth Factor: So very, very watery.
Chicken Factor: MMMMaybe the closest to resembling chicken.
Campbell's Homestyle Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup
Noodle Factor: These actually resemble a real noodle.
Vegetable Factor: Six used-to-be-green pieces of herbs and a few carrots.
Broth Factor: It's pretty flavorful.
Chicken Factor: Larger bacon-bit-like things.
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Safeway 25% Reduced Sodium Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup
Noodle Factor: Tastes like soggy air.
Vegetable Factor: Vegetables?
Broth Factor: Like a chemical of some sort.
Chicken Factor: WHAT ARE YOU?!?
Campbell's Chunky Classic Chicken Noodle Soup
Noodle Factor: Like a rubber egg noodle.
Vegetable Factor: Just like the Healthy Request, yet mushier.
Broth Factor: Salty and bland.
Chicken Factor: Salty and bland.
So there you have it, a souper review of supermarket soup. I would go with the Campbell's Chunky Healthy Request Chicken Noodle Soup if I had to eat any of them again, but they were all subpar.
I will now rub Vick's Vap-o-Rub up into my sinuses in an attempt to breathe once again. I wonder if it tastes better than canned chicken soup?