My subject is Soups.
I do not have to teach you what you already know.
For example, that there is breakfast, lunch and dinner, and there are some people who have a bite in between.
Both at lunch or dinner time, there is a word called “aperitif” a very common word in Europe and in English it is referred to as the appetizer.
Of course there is also dessert which comes after the main meal and which closes the eating cycle.
Nevertheless, there is a chapter somewhere in-between called Soup and many people prefer to ignore it.
Soup is an important part of any diet.
It may be served hot or cold and is a delicious liquid that energizes the entire body.
It is excellent as a light meal, complemented with a sandwich, as an appetizer (served before the main course), or as a full-bodied complete meal.
Soup can be eaten at any time of the day or night.
In fact, should you find yourself gaining some weight lately, or your body seems to be getting out of proportion, or the chair seems to be getting smaller, why not escape a few lunches or dinners and get back in shape by enjoy a wonderful cup of soup.
After all, Soup may be consumed any time of the day or night.
This is just a reminder that my business is to sell food products and without sales I am out of business.
However, I am shocked to realize that there are so many individuals abusing the system of the eating process.
When I decided to develop my line of soups 20 to 30 years ago, I had two major concerns:
1 That there would be no meat ingredients whatsoever.
2 To avoid the use of MSG at all costs.
Therefore, my line of Soups are vegetarian in nature.
I would like to tell you something about this MSG product.
MSG is not a spice.
It is a sodium salt of glutamate acid.
It is a legal additive provided that it is stated on the label.
Do not take me wrong MSG is one of the great product inventions of a lifetime.
It is a product commonly used in Japan, China, and The Far East that has spread all over the world.
It is a food additive, a flavour enhancer, which gives taste to food.
So the food industry came up with a fabulous range of euphemisms for monosodium glutamate refer to as Chinese Salt, Glutavene, glutacy, white a crystal-like powder, glutamic acid, autolyzed yeast extract, calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, E621 (E620-625 are all glutamates), Ajinomoto, Ac'cent Gourmet Powder.
Many companies have used MSG Monosodium glutamate on a regular basis and the outcome of their creation tastes good.
They also say that If MSG is so bad for you, why doesn't everyone in Asia have a headache?
In restaurants there is no stipulation regarding admitting to the use of MSG in food.
It is a very difficult thing to determine.
However, there are people whose body accepts MSG, yet there are others who, upon the first bite of food, realize it contains MSG and may have an immediate reaction.
Now then, let us examine the power of the enhancer within the MSG.
For example, should you want to have one vegetable flavour within the meal, you put 10% of that vegetable, add some MSG and YOU END UP WITH 100% FLAVOUR OF THAT PARTUCULAR VEGETABLE.
On the other hand, if you do not add or incorporate MSG to achieve 100% flavour, you simply have to add 100% of that vegetable.
You do not have to be Einstein or a genius to realize that since my soups do not have MSG, that they are the top of the line. No if’s, and’s or but’s.
In my opinion, sins and I have been in the business for 40 years and I produce 1,000 products from all over the world, the word MSG is not part of my vocabulary.
In fact, the mere thought of the word, gives me goose bumps.
Certainly, I could make soups which include, MSG, artificial colouring and artificial flavouring very cheaply.
Instead, I choose the rough road, with all natural products to create the final outcome.
In a few words, it is like home cooking because I believe that there would be some one out there who would appreciate my efforts, with a “Hmm, that tastes good!” response.
It is important for anyone to know that when we make soup, we do not make a big bucket of soup, scoop it into a can, place the cover on, seal and present the product to the supermarket.
In reality, the procedure is very different from the above statement.
The reality is that the raw ingredients, which may include vegetable, beans or peas, have to be evenly placed into individual cans, spices are then added in proportion, an appropriate amount of oil, salt and pepper are combined.
Filtered water is added to fill the can to highest level.
Then, the lid is then placed on the can.
So what happens next, you may be wondering?
The cooking procedures are just about to begin.
Just a reminder that the products within the can have not been cooked yet, now they have to go into ovens called Retorts.
In today’s technology there are two types of sterilization process.
First, rotary retorts which are tube-like in structure with diameters the size of the cans and with mechanical hands which rotate the cans at high speeds.
By the time the can passes through the tube, it is exposed to high temperatures which allows for proper sterilization of the contents.
This type of machinery is very good for high production in items which do not have any effect after opening, for example, a can of Chick Peas for instance, after being rotated thousands of times through that tube, upon opening, the Chick Peas are still in tack and not damaged.
In the Soup Category, the above process would be disastrous due to the fact that if you undertake the same process, the fast movement and rotation would make the product a pulp or puree instead of soup.
As the years passed, along with a few people that I worked with in the industry, we had decided that to fulfill the obligation to make the finest soups in the world with excellent appearance and taste with wholesome ingredients and no MSG, that process has to be on a stationary Retort.
Stationary Retorts work as follows.
The cans go to the ovens through a huge tray which holds approximately 1,000 cans.
This particular oven is heated in a steam process of approximately, depending upon the product, anything from 230 to 260 degrees Fahrenheit, and the heating penetration that the products require.
Each product has a different heating penetration temperature requirement, and a different length of time within the retort.
Now then, let us assume that you are cooking soup in a pot.
Unless, you stir up the bottom with a wooden spoon, obviously, some of the products, vegetable or spices, would stick to the bottom of the pot.
Now when you have a can, you need something to stir the contents very, very gently, and to do that within that particular tray of 1,000 cans within the Retort, a mechanism revolving gently the whole skid 360 degrees at approximately one revolution per minute.
This means the ingredients within the can have been gently moved with no possibility of sticking either to the top or to the bottom.
At the end of the process, the final outcome is a state of the art product in any of these particular soups:
Nothing ends up being broken, the ingredients are blended evenly, and the heating process has penetrated evenly into the centre of the can thereby allow proper sterilization.
There have been tests and tests and tests with respect to these soups over the years.
I can assure you that each time a test occurred I have been involved from the beginning to the end process.
Should there be even one (1) degree up in temperature for the length of time in the Retort, then the lentils, for instance, would be melted out.
Should it be one (1) degree below, then will be hard to bite.
After each test that I went through, I had other individuals, food critics, friends, business associates and staff give me their opinions.
Changes were implemented until the desired perfection had been achieved.
Of course, over the years I have had people call and tell me that maybe a little more salt is necessary to taste better, but then again, if I add more salt I can not remove it.
Bear in mind that a lot of people are unable to tolerate large amounts of salt.
Some have said, add a little more pepper, again the same applies.
Obviously, I cannot please the whole world but I know deep within my heart that I have done everything possible to produce the best soups in the world.
In fact, I do believe that they are in a class of their own.
I have incorporated some photos of my line of soups.
Obviously, this is for your viewing pleasure.
But take the next step and enjoy the palate pleasure.
The person on the left is Ivan from Legumex, whose company is one of the largest packagers, cleaners and distributors of beans in Canada.
Spyros Peter Goudas
Σπύρος Πήτερ Γούδας