When we began this club, our monthly meetings were all about sharing a food experience, but once the blog was launched the three hour meetings quickly became more about the blog; topics, theme weeks, recipes, generating readers, giveaways, guest contributors. Not a horrible thing, but something that can be discussed via email and not something worth blogging about…What to say..we sat around for 3 hours drinking coffee, chatting about our family while also discussing our Twitter and Facebook accounts… nope.
For our 2011 meetings we decided to refocus our attention and time together on sharing food. The five of us have started creating lists of the different adventures or food themes we want to explore together. Maybe a field trip to a farm or to a small producer of value-added products or learning how to tap maple syrup from Dianna* or a taking a cooking class together or visiting a restaurant focusing on local, sustainable produce and meats…Or simply doing what we did yesterday; sharing nourishing food with our children, laughing, playing and eating!
Saturday, January 22nd was the 5th Annual National Soup Swap Day. (If you wanna read the story of how Knox Gardner & friends created the national event; read the story on the official website.) What a great idea: during the coldest month of the year get a handful of friends together to make soup and have a party to do the swapping! What a better way to kick off our new monthly mission but with warming, nourishing soups! Due to scheduling conflicts, we scheduled our Soup Swap for Sunday, with the kiddos, at Amanda’s beautiful home.
We decided that each of us, minus Leslie as she is in Los Angeles for the month**, would make a soup-to-swap, in 1 quart containers, but also have enough leftover to have a “tasting” during the evening. It was Amanda’s idea to make a big pot-o-chili, as the main meal for dinner. It’s a new recipe to us, from the fabulous The Meal Makeover Mom’s newest cookbook “No Whine With Dinner”. The kid’s sitting at Amanda’s well-organized and super-cute “toddler dinner party” table gobbled it up while drawing on the paper “table cloth” and munching on Alexis’ Whirley Pop popcorn and fresh fruit and raw veggies. To accompany those raw veggies we enjoyed Leslie’s Curried Carrot Spread (made by yours truly) and Sarah’s Beet Hummus and Chickpea Hummus.
Then it was time for the kiddos to play and the soup taste-test to begin. To be honest, we emailed throughout the week, giving hints of what we were planning to create so we didn’t have any duplicate flavor profiles. I hate to say “recipes” because no two people would bring the same exact soup but we were afraid that since its squash season that there would be more than one. Our email exchange really made me think about what to make; I was going to fall back on a tomato-based something…Sarah created a Garlic Lover’s White Bean Soup, Alexis created a Squash & Apple Soup, Amanda created a Pasta Fagoli with Turkey Meatballs and I created my own take on White Miso Soup. The soups were all well balanced, delicious and different which made the meal so exciting. I am a huge fan of tasting menus as I usually want one of everything on an establishment’s menu. The bonus of the evening came when we all packed up to leave with 3 quarts of soup each for the week’s meals! BONUS!
Stay tuned because weaved throughout the next two weeks we will be sharing our soup recipes. We are hoping to turn 2012 Soup Swap into an event that we can share with you, our readers, in some informal event.
* Watch out for an upcoming post by Guest Contributor Dianna on how to tap your own maple syrup.
**Leslie will be posting from the West Coast! Oh the farmer’s markets…Ohhhh the “seasonless” produce selection… Ohh the restaurants…ohhh the beach.