Soup Swap

Squash and matzo, minestrone – at a soup party you’re never alone!
On the eve of the coldest night of 2012 in Boston yet, my friends and I gathered for our First Annual Soup N’ Swap. Hosted by the lovely Marie and Hannah, the get together was 1 part soup potluck, 1 part clothing swap, and a whole lot of friend-loving. “I like the idea of sharing:” said Hannah in between spoon-fulls, “food, clothes, ideas and friends. Good company is all you need.”Ah, the mentality of slow foodies.

Lauren used a metal herb cage to keep her herbs safe during boiling

So what inspired the soup swap? “My family always has random themed parties, and growing up we had soup parties” said Marie, ladeling out bowls of a butternut squash soup, “I knew our friends would enjoy this tradition!” Marie and her roommate Hannah whipped up a delicious version of the winter root vegetable puree. Their thick and creamy butternut squash soup had a distinct sunset orange color and warmth. Elise and Megan brought a yummy motzo ball soup, which friends enjoyed either cold or warmed up. Paige and Lou made sure to keep the spotlight on leafy greens with an awesome mixed salad, dressed with gorgonzola, caramelized shallots and walnuts. All disappeared in seconds from the stove.

My dear friend and Slow Food NU member Lauren just returned from a semester abroad in Australia, which she rounded out with a backpacking trip through Asia. A cooking class in Thailand inspired her contribution to the swap. Lauren’s Tom Kha Gai, a tasty Thai coconut soup, was a welcomed out-of-the-ordinary addition to the potluck. The distinctly sweet aroma from the coconut milk masked a nice spicy kick creating an addictive taste that almost had me drinking the tangy broth straight from the pot. Lauren’s version omitted the chicken stock in favor for fish stock to satisfy the majority of our pescatarian tongues. Discovering baby corn -one of my favorite veggies- in my bowl of Tom Kha had my mouth doing somersaults.

Rounding out the array of soups was Dave’s minestrone. A hearty brew in all the senses, the minestrone filled my nose and mouth with smells and tastes that reminded me of my mom’s version. Dave’s ‘strone included chunks of potatoes and a variety of beans that served well to thicken up the soup. What I initially thought was spinach turned out to be kale, a commendable ingredient to any dish.

Irresistible!

With our bellies full of homemade soup and our souls warmed by the laughter of reuniting buddies, it was easy to forget that it was below freezing not so far outside the kitchen. “I think in today’s world of canned soup it’s inspiring to see people taking the time to brew their own stew” said Lauren. Indeed- let us always reject the condensed, microwaveable versions of life’s beauty. Whether it’s soup or friendships, we can all afford to take a little more time to give some tender love and care.

Written by Frank Marino
Director of Policy and Advocacy
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