(photo credit: Soup Addict dot com)
“Mom, I’m worried you are becoming a soup hoarder.”
Yes, there are few things I find more comforting than the act of making, and of course consuming soup. I reassured my daughter that until such day I spend a paycheck on an extra freezer to house soup containers, I am not in danger of becoming a soup hoarder.
I am, however, trying a soup experiment in 2014. Starting January, I will make a giant pot of a different soup one weekend each month and invite folks over to partake and bring whatever else they wish to share. I did this in the past successfully in my 20s and in my 30s, but have never been able to make a go of such social souping in my 40s despite a few tries. People have said they are just too darn busy.
To that end, I am approaching this with no expectations. Everyone who is interested will get an e-mail prompt the week prior, listing the kind of soup that will be made and directions. The worst result is I end up with a huge pot of soup to eat and freeze. The best result is I end up with more than 2 people at my home for a few hours to eat soup and chat. People are free to cancel at last minute and do not need to commit to a monthly gathering.
Thanks to probable aging hormone shifts making allergies worse, I am essentially living a “boy in the bubble” existence where my pet dander allergies are severe enough to cause an asthma attack in most enclosed public places, more and more of my community businesses allow dogs, and everyone I know has pet dander on their clothing. So a monthly home gathering allows me to host a low-cost evening with people in an allergen-free zone.
Here is why my child may be concerned. Over the past month, I have made the following recipes. By the way, my daughter does not partake in most of the soups I make, as she claims she is not a soup person. Thankfully I have a roommate and extended family who appreciate them, and I love having frozen containers of soup for a future day when I do not feel like cooking, am sick, or need cheering up.
Gypsy Soup (Moosewood version is my longstanding fave)
Beet Borscht, Potato & Leek Soup, and Chilean Bean Stew, recipes listed in this blog entry: Fall Harvest Soup Frenzy
adapted from Moosewood New Classics
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
1 tsp black mustard seed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 tsps cumin
2 tsps ground coriander seed
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 cups diced potato (any potato/sweet potato combo)
4 cups diced butternut squash (or any winter squash)
1 1/2 cups water or veggie stock
2 cups chickpeas (canned, drained)
2 cups canned tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped cilantro (or parsley)
Heat oil on medium high heat. Add mustard seeds until they begin to pop. Add onion and saute until translucent (10 min or so). Meanwhile mix together spices, garlic and ginger. Add to onions and stir constantly for 1 min. Add potatoes, squash and water. bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 min until veggies are just tender. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, lemon juice and cilantro. Stir and simmer until flavors are well blended (about 10 min).
I want to make this one next: West African Peanut Soup
And this one: Adzuki Bean Root Vegetable Soup
If you try a monthly soup gathering, I would love to hear about your community building experiences in the comments!