I first became enamored with the idea of a soup swap party many many years ago when I read about it on someone’s blog.
I have no idea what blog it was; nor do I know how I happened to come across it.
Probably it was while I was avoiding doing work, but who can say for sure?
What I do remember is that the blogger mentioned having two or three people who were planning to bring thai pumpkin soup to the swap. Also, I vaguely think the blogger was based in Baltimore and for some reason I think it started with a k. I want to say kotke, but that can’t be it.
A google search of these terms invariably leads me into the black, time-sucking hole that is the internets, which is why it has taken me two months to write this post.
At any rate, it doesn’t matter where I first came across it (though I would like that thai pumpkin soup recipe).
All that matters is that it’s an awesome idea.
Similar to a holiday cookie swap, but filled with more awesome and less sugar.
Because instead of bringing home sugar-coma-inducing-cavity-bites, you bring home soup.
Which you promptly put in your freezer and forget about, until one of those nights when you are too lazy to make dinner, too lazy to even call for takeout because it is cold and dark outside and you can’t wrap your head around the thought of getting into your car and you suddenly remember: SOUP!
And then you microwave that sumbitch and praise the heavens that you didn’t even have to change out of your sweatpants to procure a quick, healthy dinner.
One of the added benefits of hosting a soup swap party (besides finally being forced to clean your house) is that, if people get drunk enough, they might forget to take their soups home and thus, more soup for you!
Another added benefit is that people will think you’re clever.
Not that they don’t already, I’m sure.
I never got around to hosting a soup swap until this year because of a) laziness; and b) previously living in a small apartment with a bizarre heating system and where the only furniture was two stools and a squeaky daybed that used to belong to my grandmother. And I didn’t want the invitations to read: “Please bring your own chair and ski jacket.”
Here are the logistics:
How to Host a Soup Swap Party
1. Invite people.
Ideally at least four (individuals or couples) so there will be a wider variety of soups.
If you are a Type A person you will send out actual invitations several weeks in advance and make people RSVP with the kind of soup they are bringing so as to avoid duplicates. If you are me, you will call or facebook people less than a week before the party takes place.
2. Explain the Rules.
The Rules may vary depending on how Type A you are, and how Type Lazy you think your friends are. If you have a precise headcount and want everyone to go home with each type of soup, tell them to make X quarts of soup (X=number of people/couples attending). If you have LOTS of people coming, this may be too much soup, so you can work out a lottery system where people draw numbers and then pick which soups they want. If your friends are Type Lazies, tell them that however many quarts of soup they bring (minus one for tasting) is the number of quarts they get to take home with them.
Too lazy to cook? Then no soup for you!
3. Other Rules.
All soups must be in quart-size freezer containers. I suppose you could also put it in a freezer bag, but that might gross people out.
4. Clean Your House, You Lazy Slob.
5. Do You Have Enough Spoons? Do You Have Enough Cups/Bowls?
It is probably a good thing to figure this out before the party starts. If not, buy disposables at the grocery store, or uglies at the thrift store. You may want to buy disposables anyway if your guests are clumsy drunks.
6. Make Your Damn Soup.
And it better be a really good soup, too. Or at the very least, not make people ill.
Secretly, the soup swap is also a contest to see who makes the best soup.
I’m partial to the carrot ginger soup, but golden cheddar would also be good, as would cream of spinach (if you have big bucks to spend on the massive amount of fresh spinach you’ll need). Please don’t make a lentil soup unless you want to lose the contest. Lentil soups are for Tuesday nights and hippies.
7. Get Out Some Damn Crackers.
Or, as Tom Haverford would say, ‘Apps and Zerts.’
It would probably be nice for your guests if you had something besides just soup to eat. Saltines, dilled oyster crackers, hunks of bread, goat cheese toasts, pita chips with Vidalia onion dip, and Red Lobster cheese biscuits would all work. Make some cookies/brownies/cupcakes for dessert, or just dump some leftover Halloween/Easter candy into a bowl.
Nothing says, ‘Dinner guests are honored in my home’ like a plate of stale Smarties.
8. Wine and Beer. Lots of it.
Cocktails are too much work and will take up too much counter space, which you are going to need for the 18 pots of soup that will arrive with your guests.
Also, if your guests drink enough, they may forget to take their soup home which is like a bonus gift for you.
9. Make Sure Your Guests Leave With Soup.
Have some extra containers and bags on hand. But don’t try too hard to give away all that soup (see #8).
10. No Matter How Tired You Are, Run One Load of Dishes Before Going to Bed.
Because you’re going to want a cup of coffee in the morning that does not taste of butternut squash, and a bowl of cereal that does not taste of beef stew.
11. Send Everyone Home With a Kitten!
Because people love kittens, but drunk people looooove kittens. This is also a good way to reduce the feral cat population in your neighborhood.
And that, friends, is how you (soup) party.