California Cup (Oklahoma, 1970s)

This one was puzzling .   I mean, it’s just canned tomato soup and cranberry juice, served ice cold.  I think this is supposed to be a chilled soup appetizer, but I’m not sure for what occasion.    A Halloween party?   Dinner with an enemy?     And where does California come into the picture?  Was this some celebrity diet trend?  I had so many questions.

It’s surprisingly not awful, especially if it’s served straight from the fridge.   There’s nothing transformative or revelatory – it still mostly tastes like cold tomato soup – but the added acid and sweetness make it unexpectedly refreshing.  I’m not going to put this on a dinner menu anytime soon, but I can see myself offering this as a small hors d’oeuvre in a soup spoon or disposable cup, or as a palate cleanser between courses.  It would also pair well with a sandwich on a hot day.

For an update ‘inspired by’ this weird little dish, see my California Cup Mocktail recipe.


California Cup (Oklahoma, 1970s)

  • Preparation: 10 min
  • Ready in: 1 h 10 min


  1. Combine all ingredients except sour cream. Chill until ready to serve.
  2. Serve in small bowls - top with a dollop of sour cream.

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