Friday, December 11, 2009

Soup Exchange Party: Soup's On!

Is there a better lunch than soup?  Especially in the fall and winter.  Especially when homemade.  Especially in a mug.  Soup satisfies every lunch need I have.  It's filling, yet doesn't induce a food-coma the way, say, a giant shrimp burrito from Nico's does.  When homemade, soup is nourishing -- often full of veggies and always rehydrating.  Plus, a mug of piping-hot soup is simply an enormously pleasant lunch experience. The wonderful aromas float up on the steam, the mug gives your hands a satisfying warmth, and the heat forces you to take tiny spoonfuls, slowing down your lunch to a leisurely pace.

I make myself a giant pot of soup at least once a month, eating some and freezing the rest in individual portions for lunches.  Trouble is, I get bored eating the same lunch all month.  I recently made a delicious pot of butternut squash and pear soup that was flavored with a vanilla bean steeped in cream.  Amazing.  Awesome. Ambrosial.  . . . Until I had to eat that sweet soup for the 8th time.  (As you may know by now, I'm not a huge fan of sweetness as a dish's main taste experience.)  I was so over that soup by the end of that month. 

So what's a soup-loving, variety-craving girl to do?  Two words:  Soup Party!  Inspired by all the holiday cookie exchanges this time of year, I recently hosted a soup exchange with other moms.  It was wondeful!  Eleven moms participated, so we all ended up with eleven servings of -- here's the exciting part! -- different types of soup!  And, wow, did we have variety!  We had tomato-basil, thai coconut, black bean, lentil tandoori, butternut squash, potato leek, Moroccan chickpea, Thai peanut/sweetpotato/ pumpkin, black bean and pumpkin, southwestern "taco," and sweet corn with chili oil and mint.  Ooh-la-la.  The party itself was a lovely way to spend a morning, and my freezer is now stocked with quick, healthful, satisfying lunches in a rainbow of colors and flavors.  I've been eating like a queen every lunch since.  (I even took the corn soup to SeaWorld with me, in my daughter's Scooby Doo thermos.  Much better than amusement park food!  And probably the most sophisticated food ever packaged in a Scooby Doo thermos.)  What a gift, especially during this busy -- and junk-food-filled -- time of the year. 

Want to host a soup exchange party for yourself?  (Trust me:  you do!)  Here's how: