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Monday, January 30, 2012


Back on call and scavenging for dinner!

When I was a kid, we were a "military family." What that means is that you moved every 6-18 months and lived on fairly stringent budget. Places that financial constraints showed up daily were the lunchbox and the dinner table. Of course, not all the results of a limited food budget were bad: Chicken and dumplings ( with lots of cheap floury dough) instead of fried chicken was never a problem for me.

Until I went to high school where lunch was served in the cafeteria and I never once took nor saw a brown bag, I thought there were actually only a few choices for lunch prepared by mom or yourself at home: PB&J, bologna (not the presliced kind either) sandwich, or soup, nearly always vegetable or tomato. Those two were the cheapest. I don't remember being bothered by any of this at all. And I certainly wasn't a skinny kid.

So the thought of eating tomato soup two or three times for dinner in a week is not that off-putting. Even though I had great homemade tomato bisque last night, V8 tomato basil soup was available and easy for the hospital.

Until I wrote my first TOMATO SOUP blog, I didn't realize V-8 was a subsidiary of Campbell's. Their description: "A simple classic like this is all about the ingredients. Field-grown tomatoes. Tender basil. A rumor of garlic. No artificial flavors. No preservatives. Just the delicious, vibrant taste of a full serving of vegetables with the nutritional goodness that goes along with it."

I have to say in comparison to the tomato bisque made last night, this is a very nice mass produced soup. It was definitely a bit sweeter than the "real thing," but tasty and very filling. For those to whom such things matter, it is only 90 calories per cup and it is GLUTEN FREE, too.
And it contains no animal products for veg-heads out there. I give this one a very solid B+. I am not sure you can do it better in box.

Okay, faithful blog readers, I cannot give another Campbell's Quiz nor a tomato quiz (although there is plenty more tomato trivia!). But I can give a quiz about an ingredient in this soup of which I am very fond:

I once rented a house in Shreveport, Louisiana and it had HUGE concrete planters built into the porch. I planted basil there and it grew really well in that hot and somewhat rain-lacking climate. I misted it daily and that seemed to be enough. Everytime I would walk into my house, I would pass those planters and the aroma of basil would wrap itself around my nostrils. What a treat. I made plenty of pesto during my tenure there, as well.

True or False. Another name for basil is St. Joseph's wort.

Which of the following flavors is not a component of basil varieties?
A. anise
B. lemon
C. hay
D. camphor
E. lavender

Which of the following statements about basil is INCORRECT?
A. Basil can be used as an antifungal agent.
B. Basil is toxic to rats.
C. Basil deters mosquitos.
D. Basil seeds in large quantities can be harmful to humans.
E. Basil can be used in herbal medicine to treat acne.

True or False. The word basil is a derivative of a Greek word meaning king.

Which of the following statements is FALSE regarding basil?
A. In Asia, there is a soda made from the seeds.
B. Basil is a perennial plant.
C. Dried basil does not retain flavor very well.
D. The flower buds of basil are edible.
E. Basil has some of the same chemical as pine oil.

Okay TRIVIA fans, hold onto your pesto cause here are the basil basics.


Many of you know that St. Joseph probably had a hammer and saw-horse, but did you know he had wort? And maybe even a radio station?


Answer: E
Basil is very chemically complex and has all the scents listed except lavender. It also has the same chemicals as cloves. Still, lavender and basil make a nice mix for soap--but you'll have to use both to get that smell.

Although it contains some compounds that given in large quantity are known rat carcinogens, basil is NOT toxic to rats.

QUESTION 4: TRUE. Basil wears the crown :)


This was a bit tricky, because some varieties ARE perennial but some are annuals.
Just a hint for future quizzes---If I ask if anything, even some unimaginable food combination exists in Asia, it probably does. When I was in China twice in the past, I have even eaten ice cream made from tomatoes or corn or red kidney beans. They are very inventive folks.

OKAY, tah tah for now. I am sure there will be more poop on soup in the future.


  1. please no poop on soup, no matter where you eat :). I tried to grow Basil but as occurs with most of my plants, it did not make it.

  2. You're right. No poop on food.

    I Have problems growing things too!

  3. And another oh-fer for me. Crap.