Letter from a Young Nirther: The Campbell Soup File


Nirthers – Refers to those who believe in the conspiracy theory that Barack Obama is not a legitimate citizen of the United States. Comes from a misspelling of “Birth Certificate” that appeared on a Nirther website. The conspiracy itself is sometimes referred to as the “nirth certifikit” theory.

12 Sept. 2001

The Campbell Soup Company

1201 Pine Street

Camden, NJ

Dear Sirs and Madams,

Enough is enough. This is my last letter to your company regarding the many deceptions perpetrated by the Campbell Soup Company (and its subsidiary brands Pepperidge Farm, et. al.) upon the decent, God fearing people of the greatest country on earth. Now that my suspicions regarding your product have come to a boil, as they say, it is high time we settle this beef between us once and for all.

As a young child, I was fed your products by my grandmother.  I can’t lie; your Alphabet Soup afforded not only warm wholesome nourishment but also countless hours of entertainment. Once I disturbed my grandmother (I have my suspicions about this woman, too.) by spelling in pasta alphabet, “WOMAN, I KNOW WHO U R” around the rim of the soup bowl. Her only response? Besides a worried look, she made me finish the bowl so as to keep intact my 854-day membership in the Clean Plate Club.

Nevertheless, concomitant with the complex satisfaction I felt while eating your soup, I began to notice a dull ache in the center of my chest. It was then I knew your company was hiding a dark secret. Sirs and Madams, you have deceived us for the past 130 years, ever since a young chemist named Dr. John T. Dorrance made his mark on history with the invention of condensed soup, creating an icon and laying the foundation for Campbell Soup Company, one of the most beloved yet devious food companies of all time.

As my palate grew in sophistication, I progressed from the frivolity of your floating letters to the sensual richness of your Campbell’s Chunky Beef with Country Vegetables. I recall, even now across the acrimony that divides us, your sturdy cubes of beef nestled amongst a harvest of bright vegetables, all buoyed in a broth decadent enough to swoon a dowager… How could I have been so deceived? In shame I must admit that I was taken by your wantonness. Campbell Soup Company, I know your secret. It’s not soup in those cans. I don’t know what it is or how you do it, but it’s not soup.

But still I ate. During my sophomore year of college, after getting an A- (the teacher hated me) on a homework project in Mestizo Poetry of the Late 20th Century (core curriculum nonsense), I ate a whole container of your Pepperidge Farm Crème Filled Pirouette Rolled Wafers. Little did I know at the time that your web of deceit and chicanery did not stop with your flagship line of soups and stews. Does your courage (if courage be the name of it when in league with a legion of demons) know no bounds? Of course they tasted like rolled wafers; they looked like rolled wafers. Surprisingly, they still smelled like your rolled wafers filled with Hazelnut-Cocoa Crème, even upon being voided from my stomach into a trash can.  As the soup, so the rolled wafers. While they had all the attributes of rolled wafers, they were not what they appeared to be. Again, I am left scratching my noodle over how you can so perfectly imitate a real rolled wafer.

One morning after discovering mother’s cupboards chock full 100% Natural Prego Italian Sauce (Traditional),  I lost my self-control momentarily. My mother (I’m dubious!) asked for evidence proving wickedness on the part your company and your subsidiary brands. I hereby submit as Exhibit A the following account. I have never told this to anyone.

When I first discovered the secret pleasures of Pace Picante Sauce (Mild), I thought I’d stumbled into heaven. Oh, how many tortured nights, as a young man, did I wrestle under twisted sheets on my little bed of pain opening jars of Pace. But after a few weeks of  engorging  myself nightly on your smoothly blended tomatoes, chunks of savory onions and of course, your famously fresh, hand-picked jalapeños, I was seized with tremendous longing, crippling sadness, many tears, and an ache of the soul great enough to upset a company of angels. Had I been duped again? Indeed I had. An afternoon trip to the library with mother confirmed my suspicions. The Campbell Soup Company acquired Pace Foods in 1995. So, mother, the proof lays (or lies?!?) in the picante.

After recovering from melancholia picante, I began putting together the pieces.  Now I stand ready to make my claim. I submit that you, the Campbell Soup Company, with malice and forethought, make products that only resemble soups, broths, rolled wafers, frozen pie crusts, salsas, SpaghettiO’s, and the like. Indeed, you make things so closely resembling the aforementioned food products that you have been able to deceive me. I know not how you have achieved this verisimilitude, but I know the soup is not soup, the rolled wafers are not rolled wafers, and the Pepperidge Farm Milano Cookies, are not really Pepperidge Farm Milano Cookies. As for the Pace Picante (Mild), the balm of my adolescence, only you and Satan know what’s really in that delicate brew.

Moreover, Campbell Soup Company has been, if not the direct cause of, certainly witness to the destruction and termination of my romantic love life. Briefly, let me conclude with your ultimate effrontery. Let me tell of the loss of my long-time woman companion and the role played by you, Campbell Soup Company.

Fifth grade, we can agree, is too early to learn love’s harshest lessons. Mandy, with her dark brown tresses looking like bittersweet chocolate smushed between two wafers of a Milano cookie, was my soul’s mate. Eventually, though, she cheated on me. I know because of the way I felt whenever I saw him, The One, as I used to call him. He was skinny, darkly complected, self-effacing, kind, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. He always did his homework, never cheated, and regularly picked me to be on his team at recess. Oh, but how he hated me. I knew because whenever I saw him, I hated him all the more. Moreover, I wished him dead. Therefore, it stands to reason that only someone who first hated me would engender such a reaction in me. Nevertheless, he stole Mandy (or he would have if Mandy’s family hadn’t moved away in March of that year).

On Valentine’s Day of that same year, after The One had stolen surreptitiously Mandy’s heart from my clutches, the minx had the nerve to give me a bag of your Chocolate Chunk Dark Chocolate Pecan Chesapeake Crispy Cookies. Looking back on it, I now see how desperate your company and its subsidiary brands have been to ruin my life. But at the time, I was filled with anger towards Mandy as my heart cleaved in two. She played me for the fool. Being no one’s fool, especially not yours, Campbell Soup, I ran later that night to her house. On her front porch, I set fire to the bag of Chesapeake Crispy Cookies, hit the doorbell, then ran for all I was worth. I never looked back. Deep inside me, though, I know it was Mandy who answered that door, then stomped the hot gooey mess that your company had used to deceive me and ruin my life. Kudos Campbells.

Mother needs the computer, but let me conclude by telling you that I have filed a klass-action lawsoot against your company. Please always remember me as,

Sincerely wishing you burn the next batch,


[Name Withheld]

© Jeffrey C. Johnson and Whosoever Desires, 2009.

2 Responses to Letter from a Young Nirther: The Campbell Soup File

  1. I knew it! The Jesuits are in on the conspiracy to have a non-American (in citizenship as well as in heart) take office long enough to put the Masons back in charge! Rise up, Green Party, rise up!

  2. Mike says:

    Just found an interesting (and definitive) connection between Pepperidge Farms and Satan. One of their Florida distribution centers features the motto “Good is in the details”. As everyone knows, the Devil is in the details. Therefore, to P.F., good and the Devil are interchangeable. You’re welcome.

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