We Can Thank This Popular Brand For America's Love Of Broccoli Cheddar Soup

America is home to some pretty iconic soups, from Louisiana's famous seafood and sausage gumbo to New England clam chowder, to Texas red chili. All of these soups have regional origins that have now become widespread favorites. However, broccoli cheddar soup is an American invention popularized and promoted on a national scale.

Broccoli cheddar, or broccoli cheese as it appears on the label, was brought to the forefront of American diets thanks to Campbell's soup company. A century-old company that's been the subject of Andy Warhol's prints and a beloved household staple thanks to brand favorites like chicken noodle, cream of mushroom, and tomato soup, Campbell's used its popularity and help from fans to inspire the recipe in 1990. Campbell's had recently debuted cream of broccoli soup to wide acclaim. While broccoli lovers and health conscious adults rallied around it, broccoli haters like then President George Bush Sr. rebuked it.

In a reaction to President Bush Sr.'s public broccoli snub, Campbell's launched a campaign entitled "How to Get President Bush to Eat Broccoli." Thousands of civilian recipe developers contributed in an effort to win a multi-thousand dollar prize. The winner was California resident Priscilla Yee, who blended the soup with heavy cream, mayonnaise, aromatics, and potatoes. Yee's recipe inspired Campbell's to create its own set of proprietary broccoli soup blends, and broccoli cheese soup is among them.

The origins and legacy of broccoli cheddar soup

Both Yee and Campbell's response to broccoli soup naysayers was to hide the controversial cruciferous' texture and flavor behind loads of rich, creamy dairy ingredients. Cheddar cheese sauce is a popular condiment to pour over steamed cauliflower and broccoli. The sharp, salty flavor of cheddar along with its creamy, gooey texture complement the tender, slightly bitter broccoli florets in cheese and broccoli soup.

The beauty of Campbell's broccoli and cheese soup is that it's condensed, requiring you to thin it with water or milk. This gives the home chef more leeway and control over the taste and consistency of the soup. Furthermore, broccoli cheese soup would be the perfect ingredient to enrich a broccoli and rice casserole. Both Campbell's and its consumers recommend using broccoli cheese soup the way its cream of mushroom soup is used in a classic green-bean casserole or this chicken casserole.

Campbell's campaign paid off, not only for its sales, but also as an inspiration for home cooks and other culinary corporations to come up with other broccoli-cheese soup recipes. Companies like Panera and national grocery store chains like Albertsons sell proprietary versions. Homemade recipes and restaurant-style broccoli cheddar soup supply a healthier ratio of broccoli to cheese and a more exciting texture with whole florets and stems thrown into the blend of broccoli and cheese.