Sunday night had run away from me and I hadn’t eaten because I was still feeling full from a big breakfast. Midnight was less than an hour away and I think I read somewhere that you shouldn’t eat late at night, but the chances are I would be up for hours yet so I didn’t think having a light supper would hurt.

Killer soup

‘Soup,’ I thought. ‘That would be perfect.’ I still had a bit of a baguette left and, accompanied with a glass of wine, the meal would indeed hit the spot. My favorite soup is home made broccoli and stilton, but as I’ve never cooked it myself the ready made variety will do just fine as long you add a little more stilton cheese.

I didn’t have any of that soup in my refrigerator but I was sure there was a tin of something at the back of my cupboard behind the baked beans, peeled plum tomatoes, and jars of Lloyd Grossman’s pasta sauce (which had recently been on a 2-for-1 offer at the store).

Sure enough, in the corner and under a tin of beans was a can of Campbell’s ‘double the value’ vegetable soup. ‘That should do the trick,’ I thought to myself as I reached into the cupboard. My wrist negotiated its way around the jars and tins like a snake through long grass.

As I lifted the can of Campbell’s I noticed the label seemed a little faded and somewhat grimy. I didn’t remember buying this can of soup especially since vegetable isn’t a variety I’m particularly fond of anyway. But, with the baguette and remaining wine from the bottle my brother and I drank yesterday, this soup would be perfect.

I rummaged through the kitchen drawers for a can opener. Locating one, I placed the can on the counter-top then stopped just as I was about to open it. ‘This isn’t dirty,’ I thought to myself as I went in for a closer look. ‘This can is rusty!’

I figured that if the can had been sitting in the back of my cupboard long enough to accumulate a fair degree of rust then there was a high probability that the product may well have passed its ‘use by’ date. On the base of the can, stamped in generic dotted typface, was ‘04 1999.’ It wasn’t merely out of date, it was from another century!

I picked it up and inspected the label that was discolored by the grime and rust. ‘Does soup get better with age? Does it mature like whisky or wine?’ The picture of the soup on the label sure looked tasty, and I had heard from somewhere that canned food never really goes off, so it had to be fine, right?

I opened the antique and examined the contents like a hazmat officer. I sniffed it, trusting that my nose would detect all traces of imperfections that my eyes might fail to notice. It smelled exactly like soup from a can. ‘It’s fine!’ I told myself as I poured it into a saucepan already filled with the stated amount of water.

Minutes later my soup from a bygone era was steaming and ready to be enjoyed. It looked just like the picture on the label, and while the taste hadn’t particularly improved in its maturity, the soup that was ten years out of date was every bit as good as it would have been back in the 90’s.

Killer soup

There’s more… Read what I had for desert!
Best before
Restaurant review
Food for thought
Do Food Expiration Dates Really Matter?
The Truth About Food Expiration Dates
If it smells okay, can I still eat it?