"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Second Annual Soup Swap goes big!

by Julie Tilsner on January 28, 2008

in Soup is Easy, Soups

Beforethestorm Ten things I learned at my soup swap:

1) I actually like celery and cashew nut soup (thanks Joey! But it was in the Convent Garden Book of Soups, so I shouldn’t be so surprised.)

2) You can doctor up store-bought soup in ways that will impress a gaggle of foodies (Christy’s fantastic Mexican Winter Squash soup is a case in point).

3) There is a workaround to everything (Or so says Lynne, when my Aunt Vere’s Slush wasn’t quite as slushy as I’d hoped. And she was right, of course.)

4) You can get quite full on seven small tasting cups of soup. Plus alcohol.

5) Let your crafty, catering friends help you with details (thank God for Kelli, who brought an extra table and thought to bring tasting cups).

6) The only way to get hipped to new flavors and textures is to host a soup swap. (Ramalee’s Ayurvedic breakfast soup defied description…but was delicious!).

7) Soup with noodles and slices of steak will be eaten by children (I got two containers of Berry’s beef soup with soba noodles as part of the swap. But they’re gone already.)

8) Leveraging cultural stereotypes can lead to restaurant-quality soup (Colleen went ahead and asked an old Cambodian lady on the street where she could buy good coconut milk, was pointed in the right direction, and brought us the astounding result: Tom Ka Gai soup to die for.)

9) Nobody cares if the hostess has a soup to swap or not. (I did make the rosemary red soup, by the way. But in my own good time, with no pressure!)

10) It’s always good to have a flamenco guitarist.

Lessons and pictures of the Second Annual Soup Swap after the jump

ThesoupsWe did it more by the book this year: Everyone brought soup enough to taste and send people home with. The more crafty and ambitious ones printed labels for their containers and charming card stock hand-outs for their recipes.

The Bad Home Cook was humbled and impressed. But honestly, I think the pressure was too much. Several guests called the night of the swap, sounding defeated. "I’m just too busy. and I couldn’t face making ten quarts of soup. So I’m not coming." The biggest rainstorm in two years didn’t help matters, either.

I understand completely. Because I choked myself. Others, however, seem to thrive on the challenge. And for gals like Kelli, who used to make soup for one hundred, whipping up a mere 10 quarts was a dawdle, although she did tell me she hadn’t peeled so many potatoes since the days when she made $4.50 an hour. And I really wish she’d taken a before and after shot of her kitchen. Christy promises to send me pictures of hers soon (it went from white to orange over the course of the day as she prepared her winter squash soup.)Saffirsoups_2

I think next year I may revert back to a simple, "bring-a-pot-of-soup" event, like last year’s fete, which is less planned, and perhaps more amenable to the crazy-busy mommy lives we’re all living.

We did have a lot of fun, though. Everyone brought wine, and the Aunt Vere’s Slush eventually did create enough "slush" to work with. Everybody was warm and happy. And there was soup, of course. 


 A budding foodie watching her mom prepare tasting samples.

Two more swappersTwoswappers

The swappers en todo Theswappers_2

Stay tuned for a list of recipes featured at the Swap. I’ll feature each of them in coming posts. Thanks to everyone!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelli Johnson January 29, 2008 at 12:58 pm

After the long night in the prep kitchen, I was wondering how everyone felt about the overwhelming task of making 10 quarts of soup. It was a lot of soup!! I thought there will be some funny stories to be told…I was not disappointed!
My story? I was standing at the counter wondering why I didn’t peel those potatoes over the weekend. Thankful that my good friend Meridian is always there, also thankful I didn’t also have to clean my house before the event!
The comedy of pureeing all that vegetable matter in the well worn (broken) cuisinart, the ipod blaring, the family dancing in the adjacent room (because that much cooking in my house means “party”!
After hearing everyone else’s story, I checked out the “official” soup swap guidelines and they suggest 5 quarts per person to swap…that would have cut down the shopping list to 10 pounds of potatoes, 5 pounds of leeks and only three loads of dishes!
I loved the excuse to get together and would cook 20 quarts of soup if you asked me to. Grateful to be included, grateful that I could participate. Thanks again for the invite!


Kateri January 30, 2008 at 12:28 pm

That sounds like so much fun! I love how you just don’t document recipes on your blog – but experiences.


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