It's the canned version I remember. That was what we occasionally had for lunch -- but never for dinner. Campbell's, I think it was - a pretty rare purchase made by my frugal Mom. But the flavor sure stuck with me.
Of course I didn't learn about the possibility of meatless meals until I had a vegetarian house mother the year I worked on a farm in England after high school. She introduced me to all kinds of possibilities for nutritious, budget-conscious meals.
So when I was a poor grad student and then a low-earning newlywed, I made it a point to try to re-create her delicious vegetarian fare, as well as my childhood favorites. This particular soup was definitely one of those.
I wanted to replicate the flavor, but add a whole lot more heartiness to make it a meal in a pot. I soon came up with this recipe.
It was a mainstay of my menu repertoire for many years, included in the cookbook I created for family members one Christmas in lieu of gifts we could not afford. But I had not used it in years and years, and had actually forgotten about it until recently when I happened to notice it again among my recipes.
I cooked it up shortly thereafter, fell in love with it all over again, and proceeded to make it a few times over the course of the next few weeks.