Do you remember the folk tale about Stone Soup? Two hungry soldiers tricked a village into adding ingredients until they had a delicious pot of soup made from a stone. It’s one of my favorite stories, and soup is one of my favorite foods, especially at this time of year. Gathering friends, family and neighbors for a casual night of soup and sides is a great bonding idea. I encourage you to try your own soup night.
You can borrow from the folk tale and have guests bring ingredients, cut up and ready to throw in, for one big pot of soup, or you can expand the evening to feature an entire soup buffet to highlight your guests’ own creations. If including children, you might have a pot of simmering water with meat and poultry parts and help the kids add the other ingredients for a custom version of the folk-tale dish. Or include some doctored-up store-bought tomato soup and dip-worthy mini-grilled cheese sandwiches.
Sides can include a wide variety of breads, salads and vegetables. Soup night can be anything: vegetarian, gluten free, dairy friendly; there’s a pot to please every palate. Soups can also be grouped by theme, such as Asian, Middle Eastern or Italian. If this communal soup concept warms your heart, get more ideas at soupnight.net.
“Soup Night” by Maggie Stuckey, brimming with tips and recipes, served as the inspiration for this idea.
Tips & Tricks
• As host, provide one or two soups in a slow cooker, along with disposable bowls, spoons and perhaps some plastic containers for leftovers.
• Have some unique condiments to add to the soups, such as croutons, tortilla strips or maybe even some cooked small pasta or rice.
• The supermarket salad bar is a good place to find fresh cut-up vegetables for soup or garnishes.
Ilene Spector is a local freelance writer.