I sent an email to a diverse group of friends that said, "I have invited you because your either a loyal reader of Full Plate (and you give me great feedback, which I am so grateful for!), you are a great cook, or (achem) you could really use a freezer full of homemade soup to enjoy this winter. The beauty of this Soup Swap is that each person just has to make one big batch of one kind of soup…but you’ll go home from this gathering with 6 different types of soups. Fabulous, hmm? Surely you have one soup recipe that is a crowd pleaser. Chilis, stews, chicken noodle soups, mushroom medleys, a healthy puree, the alphabet soup your kids love… it need not be fancy, just comforting and delicious."
Then the morning of the big day, I made a giant pot of my soup. Each person was to bring six quarts of freezer-friendly homemade soup, packed in six one-quart containers. (Our local market generously offered up freezer-proof quart containers to all of the participants, and I had labels available.) I decided on my favorite turkey chili and made 8 quarts, so we'd have two more for our own freezer, because it's really, really good (if I might say so myself)!
I invited everyone to come by 7:30+ for a glass of wine, and let them know that the swap would start at 8:15. Everyone's soups were lined up on the dining room table, and once we were ready to start the swap, I had everyone introduce themselves and give a quick description of their soup.
Then the swap began! We had 14 participants, so I had people draw numbers to determine the order we'd go in to select our soups from the amazing array.
We went through three times, choosing two quarts each time...and I had people draw new numbers each time, so the order was switched up. (Not that it would have mattered if you went last because each and every soup sounded amazing!!)
Once all of the soups were selected, everyone stashed their own away in the shopping bag/tray/Pampers box (hilarious) they'd brought their six quarts in and...
we all went back to the living room to sit by the fire and have another glass of wine, some apps, and catch-up with friends new and old. It was such a fun idea. I encourage all of you reading this to get an evite together and host your own with fellow class moms, your neighbors, colleagues, your book club...whoever! (Oh, and yes, I will gladly make a pot of something delicious again and join you. I thought you'd never ask!)
In addition to waking up to 6 homemade quarts of soup to enjoy in days to come, I also got emails this morning saying, "what a fantastic group of women you amassed last night"..."it was great fun, nice to meet new people and catch up with some I haven't seen in awhile"...."you are so talented with coming up with ways to bring people together around food"..."loved meeting the others what a great idea!"...and "I am so excited for my freezer full of yummy soup!!"