What's in it for me? Comfort soup

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— A look at a winter staple - chicken noodle soup.

Soup: Campbell's homestyle chicken noodle condensed soup

Number of servings: 1.25

Calories (For 1 cup of soup): 140

Calories from fat: 40

Total fat: 4 g

Saturated fat: 2 g

Cholesterol (milligrams): 20 mg

Sodium: (% of daily value): 1,880 mg (74%)

Carbohydrates (grams): 16 g

Protein (grams): 8 g

Where to get it: City Market or Safeway

Top five ingredients (in order of appearance): Chicken stock, enriched egg noodles, cooked chicken meat, water, carrots

Also contains: Salt, chicken fat, modified food starch, celery, monosodium glutamate and yeast extract

The dish: You can't pretend that this soup is good by any culinary standard. But it's classic - even with those thin noodles that dissolve when you touch them, those little rubbery, purple bits of chicken, and the thin, greasy broth. It's flawed, but comfortably so.


Soup: Campbell's Chunky classic chicken noodle

Number of servings: 2

Calories (For 1 cup of soup): 110

Calories from fat: 25

Total fat: 2.5 g

Saturated fat: 1 g

Cholesterol (milligrams): 20 mg

Sodium: (% of daily value): 890 mg (37%)

Carbohydrates (grams): 15 grams

Protein (grams): 8 g

Where to get it: City Market or Safeway

Top five ingredients (in order of appearance): Chicken stock, cooked chicken meat, carrots, enriched egg noodles, celery

Also contains: Water, modified food starch, salt, chicken fat, monosodium glutamate and sugar

The dish: This one lives up to its "chunky" name, with big globs of noodles, carrots, celery and chicken. It's all covered in a thin layer of salty oil. Yum.


Soup: Progresso traditional chicken noodle

Number of servings: 2

Calories (For 1 cup of soup): 100

Calories from fat: 20

Total fat: 2.5 g

Saturated fat: 0.5 g

Cholesterol (milligrams): 25 mg

Sodium: (% of daily value): 950 mg (40%)

Carbohydrates (grams): 12 g

Protein (grams): 7 g

Where to get it: City Market or Safeway

Top five ingredients (in order of appearance): Chicken broth, cooked white chicken meat, carrots, enriched egg noodles, celery

Also contains: Modified food starch, water, salt, chicken fat, monosodium glutamate and hydrolyzed vegetable protein

The dish: The first thing you see when you pour a can of this into a bowl is the big pieces of carrot, followed by a mass of egg noodles and a couple of cubes of chicken. The noodles are the best part, chewy and salty. Everything else is decent.


Soup: Campbell's Select Harvest Healthy Request chicken with egg noodles

Number of servings: 2

Calories (For 1 cup of soup): 90

Calories from fat: 20

Total fat: 2 g

Saturated fat: 0.5 g

Cholesterol (milligrams): 20 mg

Sodium: (% of daily value): 480 mg (20%)

Carbohydrates (grams): 12 g

Protein (grams): 7 g

Where to get it: City Market or Safeway

Top five ingredients (in order of appearance): Chicken stock, roasted natural white meat chicken, carrots, egg noodles, celery

Also contains: Lower sodium natural sea salt, onions, garlic, modified potato starch and chicken fat

The dish: Select Harvest advertises "Real ingredients. For real taste." It'd be hard to argue that the ingredients aren't real, but sacrificing the artificial, MSG-filled broth of most canned soups leaves this one bland. The pieces of chicken are big and chewy, but don't taste like anything.


Soup: Streit's chunky chicken noodle

Number of servings: 2

Calories (For 1 cup of soup): 120

Calories from fat: 30

Total fat: 3 g

Saturated fat: 1 g

Cholesterol (milligrams): 30 mg

Sodium: (% of daily value): 900 mg (37%)

Carbohydrates (grams): 17 g

Protein (grams): 7 g

Where to get it: Safeway

Top five ingredients (in order of appearance): Chicken stock, carrots, celery, egg noodles, chicken meat

Also contains: Onion, potato starch, chicken fat, salt and sugar

The dish: Streit's holds the shape of its can when you pour it into a bowl, which is unnerving. That shape stays the same after two minutes in the microwave, which is unappetizing. It might have something to do with the consistency of the broth - which, once you mix it up for about 30 seconds, isn't bad - but the visual takes away any appeal Streit's might have had.


Soup: Wolfgang Puck organic chicken with egg noodles

Number of servings: 2

Calories (For 1 cup of soup): 110

Calories from fat: 45

Total fat: 5 g

Saturated fat: 1.5 g

Cholesterol (milligrams): 20 mg

Sodium: (% of daily value): 760 mg (32%)

Carbohydrates (grams): 11 g

Protein (grams): 6 g

Where to get it: City Market, Safeway or Bamboo Market

Top five ingredients (in order of appearance): Organic chicken stock, organic cooked chicken meat, organic onions, organic carrots, organic egg noodles

Also contains: Organic celery, organic tapioca starch, organic chicken fat, sea salt and organic spice

The dish: Metal. I don't have a ready explanation for this, but the chicken in Wolfgang Puck's canned chicken soup tastes like metal. The rest of it is fine - not great - but it's hard to get over the initial flavor of an organic soup not originating from an organic material.


Soup: Signature Cafe chunky chicken noodle soup

Number of servings: 2

Calories (For 1 cup of soup): 160

Calories from fat: 45

Total fat: 5 g

Saturated fat: 1.5 g

Cholesterol (milligrams): 25 mg

Sodium: (% of daily value): 750 mg (31%)

Carbohydrates (grams): 14 g

Protein (grams): 13 g

Where to get it: Safeway

Top five ingredients (in order of appearance): Chicken stock, cooked white chicken meat, cooked enriched egg noodles, celery, carrots

Also contains: Onions, corn and rice starch, chicken fat, salt, water and sugar

The dish: The difference between a canned soup and one made that day (or possibly a few days before) is obvious. The vegetables don't mush immediately when you eat them, the broth has flavor that goes beyond salt, and the ingredients retain their original flavors.


Soup: Private Selection homestyle chicken vegetable noodle soup

Number of servings: 3

Calories (For 1 cup of soup): 170

Calories from fat: 35

Total fat: 4 g

Saturated fat: 2 g

Cholesterol (milligrams): 25 mg

Sodium: (% of daily value): 1190 mg (50%)

Carbohydrates (grams): 24 g

Protein (grams): 11 g

Where to get it: City Market

Top five ingredients (in order of appearance): Chicken stock, cooked enriched egg noodles, cooked white chicken meat, onions, carrots

Also contains: Celery, milk, cream, corn starch, salt and sugar

The dish: I can't imagine what possible motivation you would have to make chicken noodle a cream soup. This one tastes more like warm chicken pasta in cream sauce - it's way too thick, and it would make you feel worse if you ate it while bed-ridden.

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