Throwback of the House: Triple Play Warmer Is Not So Hot


So sue me. I'm not a baseball fan, so the irony of making a dish called Triple Play Warmer after the Cardinals lost their second game to the Dodgers was lost on me. All I knew was it was a cold and rainy night and I could use some warming.

The master of all advertising cookbooks, A Campbell's Cookbook: Cooking with Soup, spawned this recipe. I have the 1976 edition, the thirteenth printing. That's a hell of a lot of recipes with canned soup, and they can't all be winners like tuna casserole. The Triple Play Warmer, like 98% of the recipes in the book, wasn't created because it tasted good. It was created to sell as many cans of soup as possible.

  • Robin Wheeler
Stir together a can of split-pea soup and a can of tomato soup. Add a can of beef broth. All Campbell's, of course. Stir in two soup cans filled with milk and a splash of sherry. Then heat it up.

There are better ways to warm oneself. Self-immolation, for example. Or wearing a leopard-print Snuggie.

I knew I was in trouble as soon as I opened the can of pea soup and the smell of canned ham hit me.

  • Robin Wheeler
Mixing dull green pea soup with bright red tomato soup isn't attractive. Red and green make brown. For one promising moment, before the colors blended and turned the color of a sewage lagoon, it looked a bit like mattar curry. How can anything that looks like something so wonderful be bad?

  • Robin Wheeler
Oh, it can be that bad, all right. It can be so bad that my husband, eater of Vienna Sausages, Spam and split-pea soup, took a whiff and said, "I don't think I can take a bite."

It probably didn't help that I'd just gone all Linda Blair in the sink beside him, spitting my sample with splattering fury.

He did choke down a bite, deeming the soup so bad that throwing it in the trash or pouring it down the sink simply wouldn't do. The only way to erase the memory of this abomination, as stomach-churning as a missed ninth inning catch, was to flush it down the toilet.

We call it number three.

Robin Wheeler writes the blog Poppy Mom. After years of making and eating fancy food, Robin is sick of it all. She's returning to the basics: recipes that haven't surfaced in three decades. She reports on the results for Gut Check every Monday.

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