My mom always had a knack for parties. There was my dress-as-your-favorite Barbie birthday party (peaches and cream, naturally) and, before my time, the teddy bear picnic my sister still talks about. But one of my happiest childhood memories was the cookie swap we had one Christmas. I remember the rustling plaid taffeta of little girl party dresses and our dining room table covered with cookies and three-tiered silver trays. That was when I tried my first rosette, brought by a classmate and her grandmother: light as air, whisper thin, and dusted with powdered sugar. I was in heaven.
Without the grand silver and taffeta party atmosphere, a soup swap is founded on the same idea: every attendee brings something and gets to go home with something else. In this case, I piggybacked on my book club meeting (Angle of Repose, if you’re curious), and asked everyone to bring two 4-cup containers of soup. We then went around in a circle, each person nabbing their first soup choice. Then we reversed the order of picking for the second choice.
I love the feeling of a wholesome meal just waiting and ready to go in the freezer. In fact, my second favorite part of making soup is freezing half of it (who says you can’t have your soup and eat it, too?). But there is something especially nice when someone else has made that meal that waiting for you, nearly as comforting as when your mother tricks out your freezer herself. Because of our soup swap, I had a wonderfully spicy chicken sausage, chard, and black-eyed pea soup one day when the cupboards were bare. And still, a a vegetable soup awaits for some night when exhaustion and hunger rule with an iron fist. In other words, some night very soon.