The 4 True Soups
A special post from the Fella’s father

Since it’s January and since he’s been acting crotchety lately, I thought now would be a good time to hit up the fella’s father for his list of true soups.   I recognized he was particularly crotchety on Christmas Eve when Santa entered through the front door, all the kids gathered around stunned and gasping, and the fella’s father grunted that Santa’s beard was fake and he smelled of rye and ginger.

A crotchety fella’s father makes for a much more entertaining list.  As luck would have it, he’s still crotchety.  Last week I asked him to email me a list of the true soups.  Here’s the list.

True Soups Title

“There are four true soups and one honourary true soup. All other soups are unworthy pretenders.”

The Fella’s Father, January 6th, 2012


1.  Habitant* Pea, but can also be home made.
2.  Habitant Vegetable but can also be Campbell’s
3.  Lipton’s Chicken Noodle. MUST BE IN THE FOIL PACKAGE.
4.  Campbell’s tomato.

Honourary true soup: French Onion

“Soup served cold and dolled up with a fancy name like gazpacho is not soup.  It is a mess in a bowl.  The boy will agree with me on this, I know.

Mushroom soup is not soup. It is a misuse of mushrooms. Their place is not in soup but on a plate, fried beside the steak.

No soup should contain broccoli, ever.

If everyone followed these simple guidelines the world would be a better place.

Thank you.”

That is the fella’s father’s list of true soups.  (Click here for previous lists of True Cookies and True Pies)

And …….. discuss.


*Habitant is a brand of Canadian soup.   Their canned yellow pea soup is iconic.



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  1. jonquil says:

    I love me some fancy-named cold soup. My man’s Spanish, and when the summer is scorching, nothing beats an ice cold bowl of gazpacho.

    Having said that, if it is not hot outside, it is a true mess-in-a-bowl.

    Thanks, fella’s dad, for the definition.

  2. Danielle M. says:

    It cracks me up that all the “trues” seem to be in quantities of four. What is so magical about the number four???

  3. Sarah P says:

    Ha, the fella’s father is clearly not Irish* in descent; I can’t imagine a list of soups without at least one cabbage-containing contender. (Check out that alliteration! I impressed myself.)

    *-Or eastern European? They seem to like cabbages.

  4. Erin says:

    When I first moved to Canada, my husband introduced me to Habitant pea soup. I thought it was great. We were pretty po’ so we ate it a lot. Lots and lots. Sadly, I cannot look at it now. It has gone onto the list of “banned student survival foods” with instant ramen noodles and kraft dinner (ok, we do need to eat that occasionally – with Heinz ketchup.) Great post.

  5. Thera says:

    @ Melody nope, I too am Canadian and have never tried Habitant Pea Soup, it looks disgusting, like baby food, but my hubby loves it.
    I did, however, grow up on Campbell’s Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese sandwiches and it is still a comfort food.
    So I basically agree with the Old Man.
    As for condiments…Heinz Ketchup is the only ketchup, French’s Mustard, Bick’s Relish and pickles!!!! (Can’t wait to see the Old Man’s condiment list lmao)

  6. Joann Hanmer says:

    Oh no !
    A true chicken soup does difinitely NOT have noodles in it. A true chicken soup have meat balls and dumplings in it. Everybody knows that. Or at least the Danes do.

  7. Amy says:

    As much I don’t want too like the “true” series from the fella’s father with the limitations it could impose if strictly followed, I find myself loving it. It makes me laugh out loud to the point that my eyes water as I text my sister to see if she’s read the post and laughed to the point that her teenage daughters ask with “teen attitude “What’s so funny Mom?” The fella’s father, that’s who! :)

  8. Anemone says:

    I follow your blog and your youtube…always looking forward to your posts…

  9. Elen says:

    Where mushrooms are concerned, the fella’s father and I are of one accord.

  10. Gayla T says:

    By the way, why are old men called crotchety? And does it have anything to do with their interest in crotches?

  11. Gayla T says:

    Honey, don’t pay much attention to chrotchety old men. As my mama used to say, “there’s no fool like an old fool”. That may have been reference to my granfather who got a very much younger woman pregnant while still married to the mother of his six children. However, I grew up eating only home made soup and when I got old enough to babysit I discovered Campbell’s and thought it was the necter of the gods. In our small town, word soon got around that I would babysit for soup and I was very much in demand. I remember attacking my poor mother head on about why she had only ever fed us that nasty kind when the good stuff hds always been available. I often wondered why she didn’t knock my teeth out of my smart mouth. I still think Campbell’s cream of mushroom is gourmet stuff. LOL

  12. meghan says:

    No true anything, but especially true soup, comes out of a can. Sorry pops.

  13. Kelly says:

    We also called Lipton’s Chicken Noodle soup with grass. We also would crack an egg in and give it a quick whisk. Yummy.

  14. Chau says:

    How about ethnic soup like Vietnamese Pho? Breakfast, lunch or dinner I can eat Pho any time.

  15. BGrigg says:

    After his pie and cookie lists, the Fella’s father was two strikes down.

    Then he hit one out of the park, and stays in the game for at least one more inning.

  16. Lauren says:

    Good thing pea is on the list as I am eating it right now. It is homemade though, not Habitant. Are chowders their own category? If not, then clam chowder, at the very least, should be on the list.

  17. Evalyn says:

    While I have never met a canned or dehydrated soup worthy of the name Soup, and so cannot agree to his list of True Soups, I do agree with his assertions about cold soup, mushrooms and brocolli.

    True soups are : (With the understanding that all are made from scratch) Chicken noodle, Navy Bean, Tomato, and Potato. Honorary status goes to Beef Barley.

    Catsup, when not homemade, is Heinz.

  18. Carla S. says:

    Sorry, girls, but the world’s best ketchup is Del Monte. I grew up on Del Monte ketchup and bread sandwiches. MMmmmm, nothing else can touch it !

  19. DanT says:

    I grew up in Montreal and I can assure you that the first thing that came to my mind was Habitant Pea Soup.
    But then I, and probably your Fella’s dad, am in my sixties.

  20. Barbie says:

    Where would the world be w/out crotchety old men!?! I can almost “hear” him explaining all this with his deep “crotchety” conviction! LOL I look forward to the fella’s fathers “true” posts! Brilliant! I bet his “true” opinions expand FAR beyond the culinary ones! I would be willing to bet good money (as opposed to bad money) on that one! ha!

  21. Nancy says:

    I have never tried your Canadian canned soups..but if you approve of them Karen..then they must be good as I know how you like to make homemade with fresh ingredients..I am going to “poke the bear” and say that I also love broccoli cheese soup..and my own chicken corn soup (sorry to your girls)..Fella’s Dad should be proclaimed a Canadian National

  22. Janelle says:

    How crotchety would he get if you told him there’s too much salt in prepackaged soups and it’ll wreak havoc on his blood pressure? That said, many bonus points for the Habitant, though am secretly hoping he pronounced it the French Canadian way!

  23. coyote says:

    I can’t help noticing that all of those alleged True Soups are right off the scales, sodium-wise.

    I hope the Fella and his sire don’t have any blood pressure issues…

  24. Rachele says:

    Blech. Next thing you know he’ll be telling us that Velveeta is the only real cheese.

  25. ruth says:

    *gasp* Trouble is brewing. Heinz is the only true ketchup. Forevermore.

  26. Melody Madden says:

    Gosh, am I the only Canadian who has never eaten Habitant Soup?

  27. AnonyMously says:

    I can’t wait for the “True Cakes” list or the “True Salad Dressings” list.

  28. Does the fella’s father have a position on sandwiches?

  29. Jen says:

    I love homemade soups but, in a pinch I have to agree with choices 3 and 4 (never tried the first two).
    Does the fella’s dad have an opinion on condiments? Just so he knows there is only 1 true ketchup and it’s called Hunts. Tell ‘im I said so.


  30. Jen says:

    I was trying to guess…I was thinking….Split Pea…Turkey….Corn Chowder….all homemade….I was wrong. This list is disturbing….but funny at the same time.

  31. Caitlin says:

    Campbell’s tomato soup with peanut butter sandwich dipped in it is one of life’s most delicious and mysterious combinations. Why does it taste so good? I don’t know that I even want an answer to that. I’ll just keep spreading the good word (and the peanut butter).

  32. Lydia says:

    I LOVE when people are this definitive on food! Although I do also love cream of broccoli (shhh, don’t tell Father Fella)

  33. Jillian says:

    True soups are made from fresh home grown vegetables and natural meats, other than that they are just soup wannabees…

  34. marilyn says:

    hahahahaha love, love, love the fellas dad! too funny! my mom used to give us the liptons chicken noodle soup (the one in foil) but she used to thicken it with corn starch and pour it over hot buttered toast….mmmmm i still have it once in awhile. and i love habitant pea soup! the fells dad is right on with that one.

  35. Denise says:

    I’ll take my homemade potato mess in a bowl any day… or my homemade beef barley mess in a bowl… mmm yum

  36. Emie says:

    Does the Fella’s Father have lists for other “True” things?? Or is it just cookies, pies and soup?

  37. Nicole2 says:

    I agree with him on the Habitant pea soups, they’re the best. I have friends who make pea soup from scratch and I say “Why?”, because the canned stuff is just as good.

    Beef and barley should be on the list though. At least as an honorary soup.

  38. Susan says:

    That fella’s father isn’t such a crochety old man after all! I love habitant soups! They are the best of the best if you have to eat canned soup. With crackers! And a big piece of apple crumble pie or lemon meringue or pumpkin….mmmm! :-)

  39. Leslie Zuroski says:

    Wish I could try the Habitant brand here in Wisconsin. I will see if I can order via the miracle of the web. Definitely agree about the broccoli and I have never understood so-called cold soup. :)

  40. Jamieson says:

    I love barley or rice in my soup. I’m afraid to say so though.

  41. Amy Schmucker says:

    I love crotchety old men. Well I love them when they don’t live with you or come to visit too often.
    I am a pizza snob, a cheese snob and I guess I am a soup snob too. This list is not at all like my list. But maybe I am just a crotchety old lady?

    Amy in Florida… 80 degrees here F. The winter that really never showed up.

  42. magali says:

    I LOVE the Habitat pea soup. And my go to feel-good meal is Lipton’s chicken noodle soup with a grilled cheese (made only with white bread and Singles slices). I however disagree with the brocoli thing and would add butternut squash soup to that (my boyfriend recently decided he was going to be the king of making soup and my belly is quite enjoying it).

  43. Robyn says:

    We served a broccoli and brie soup at our wedding and everyone loved it. Can you please tell me how to make it?

    • Karen says:

      Robyn – When I make broccoli soup, all I do is boil broccoli in homemade chicken stock with salt and pepper. Then I strain the broccoli, pulverize it in the blender and add water until it’s close to soup consistency. Add cream at this point if you like, check salt and pepper and voila. If you want brie in it, I would add a few crumblings of it at the bottom of your soup bowl, pour the broccoli soup on top and it’ll be a bit of a surprise at the bottom of the bowl. That’s how I’d do it. Karen.

  44. Lindsay says:

    I’m from Minnesota an this is the BEST winter ever! It was 50 degrees today- I never did care much for the bitter cold. The longer we go without it, the shorter the “real winter” will be, hooray!

    I grew up on Campbell’s Tomato and grilled cheese sandwiches, but I also discovered that in lieu of the sandwich, dumping tuna mixed with Miracle Whip into the soup served as a most yummy treat! It sounds gross but I’ve accomplished passing the “dish” on to my daughter! The SO said it’s not that bad, but not really his cup of tea either. Just think tuna sandwich minus the bread!

  45. Kate says:

    I love the Habitant soups! Also the fact that they come in giant cans despite their similar price to small cans .. as a student it is key to know these things! I also love homemade split pea soup :)

    mmm I approve greatly of this list

  46. Jenny says:

    So my homemade Chicken Noodle Soup would fail? I don’t put broccoli or mushrooms in it, and it is served hot. Oh well.
    I grew up eating Campbell’s Tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. They were especially nice after we came in from playing in the snow.
    Too bad I’m in Arizona now. It’s 70deg F in January.

    • Karen says:

      Jenny – It’s not much colder here! A bit chilly, but I went for my walk today with just sweatpants and a hoodie! (bunny hug for you Saskatchewonians) And shoes of course. It’s the winter that never arrived! ~ karen

  47. Angela says:

    Can you please produce a weekly podcast of things the fella’s father says? It would be a total hit!

  48. Marti says:

    So he’s going with “all homemade soups are unworthy pretenders.” Is that his point? How did you function (presumably without him)before the Fella entered your life?

    Has he tried your carrot soup? Made me sit up for peeling and cooking carrots.

  49. Meg says:

    Soooo… DOES the boy agree with him?

    Also, note that with an exception in the first and the “honourary” soup, none of these are home-made. That makes this the best list ever, because according to this logic, no soups made before canning was widespread were technically soups. They were all messes in bowls.

    LOVE the fella’s father!

    PS, I haven’t forgotten your seeds, I’ve just been scared to go to the PO– now that Christmas has passed, I’ll get on that!

  50. Nicole says:

    I don’t think our Lipton chicken noodle soup is in foil packets…I think they’re that foil backed paper? but I agree on this soup, known in my house as “grass soup” and served by my mama, only when we were REALLY sick.

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