Why Andy Warhol, when it comes to soup?

by Timothy Coggin April 19, 2020

Why Andy Warhol, when it comes to soup?

Our latest meal selection is called the 'Lockdown Menu". I'm unsure how much humour's allowed in the current pandemic, but thanks go out to all for your wonderful cooperation with the contact-less deliveries.

It's been a revelation to everyone how adaptable us West Aussies are in a crisis, and you, our customers, rose to the challenge admirably. With support like that we can keep our Tucker by Tim customers both well fed and Covid free!

Soup is now on the menu, and well you may ask 'why Andy Warhol tomato soup?' After all, those paintings of a banana and instant soup always seemed corny. Or so I thought until I saw an original Warhol Campbell's Soup print in the Perth Art Gallery, and it blew me away - striking, beautiful, strangely familiar.

That's not why I call my soup Andy Warhol's Tomato though. The reason here is that kind of condensed soup really does taste great and deserves to be replicated. At least in my memory. Bowls of it handed to flu-ridden me by a dad suddenly tender. Chatty winter lunch, just mum and me, slurping bowls of tangy soup, Mike Walsh on TV.

I have tried to impress with my tomato soup, Jamie Oliver style, don't get me wrong. Roasted Roma tomato & garlic cloves. Organic basil, macerated Spanish onion. I've even sploshed sherry vinegar in there, for god's sake, and still come out with a pretty ordinary broth.

Eureka time with this soup was an Irish Pub in the late Nineties, and 'Soup of the Day' required - fast. Half an hour to go and I saute some onions, add a jar of tomato concasse (all we had) and puree it. Not nearly enough. That choking horror all cooks know, as hungry punters file in the door. 

I find a leftover bowl of sweet potato mash in the cool room, add that, water and a small carton of cream (again all we had) and whisk together. Then a dash of vinegar & pinch of sugar. 'Orders up', shouted a waiter, 'soups all round.' Leering at me. 

It looks creamy, bright and just the right amount of red. There's enough of it too. A good pinch of salt and I taste. Memories kick in and I savour the moment. Winter days as a kid and Campbells soup bubbling on the hob. Mmmm. Flavour, warmth, simplicity. Truly wonderful soup.

And that's why I call it Andy Warhol's Tomato soup, and not at all because I want to cash in on the notorious artist's fifteen minutes of fame.



Timothy Coggin
Timothy Coggin

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