As the temperatures slowly start to drop all I can think about is soup. Although this isn’t any different from most days, during the winter/hibernation season I really get excited about sharing my love of soup with friends and family through communal soup swap parties. More than just inviting friends and telling them to bring their favorite soup, soup swapping is serious business that involves planning, picking a space and organizing the event. Here’s how to have your very own soup swap party this winter, or really, any time of year.
1. Find a location. This may be an easy step for some people that can use their home as the place for the swap. If you have space limitations or simply don’t want to have the swap in your home, try looking into your community. Churches and community centers are great for events since they can generally fit a lot of people. You can also host the event with a friend and have it a local bar or a coffee shop where you spilt the costs or maybe they will let you have the party at their space as your guests spend a certain amount at the bar, etc. You will be surprised at how receptive people are to the idea of a soup swap.
2. Pick a date. I would opt for the weekend – since there is a lot of prep involved and soup to eat that you may not want to have to deal with if you are coming from work. You may also want to consider having your swap on January, which also happens to be national soup swap month.
3. Send out the invites. These days sending out invites is a breeze thanks to free online resources like Facebook and Evite. Compile your guest list and compose a brief email with the date, time, and address and whether you are having any rules such as what soups guests should bring like Tupperware so that they can take some of the extra soup home with them. Think about how the soup is going to be warmed and if you don’t have space; tell your guests that they should heat it up before they arrive or perhaps suggest that they bring sternos or a heater. Also, indicate if people can bring guests or not and when the last date to RSVP is. If friends are interested in the party, but don’t want to make soup suggest that they bring bowls, a drink, spoons, dessert, etc.
4. Get the music together. Soup and music go hand-in-hand. As people are slurping away and sampling soup, having background music will get the vibe started. Pick a mix on your IPod and let the shuffle take its course. Remember: this is a party after all.
5. Soupy decor. Think of your party as a fun way to showcase your DIY skills. Simple posters like the “Emily’s First Annual Soup Swap” or the “Soupy Extravaganza” will attract your guests attention when they enter as well as provide an ambiance for the room. You can even make a collage of advertisements from various soup manufacturers or if you are extra crafty, you can try pictures of soup and soup cans to be placed throughout your space. You should also make posters indicating the name of your guests and their soup – this will also help them know where to place their brothy delight when they enter the party.
6. Make your soup. Just because you are throwing the party doesn’t mean you shouldn’t participate. Since you have other duties and organizing, try to keep it simple and lucky simple can be pretty simple. I love making butternut squash soup and beef and cabbage soup and at a recent soup party, they were two of my guest’s favorites.
7. Set up. Aim to set up the room at least two hours before your event. Make sure you let your guests know the exact spot where they can put there soup and/or items that they brought. Your beautiful décor will come in handy here.
8. Enjoy. Finally the fun part: enjoying the soup and relaxing with your friends. Try to encourage your guests to eat as many soups as possible, especially those they have never tried. You may even want to have paper available where your guests can take notes about the soups, including what they did and didn’t like and as well as a way to jot down the ingredients.
9. Give some away. If there are any leftovers, encourage your guests to take home a portion of someone else’s soup. You may also want to consider donating the soup to a local soup kitchen. Whatever you decide; don’t let any delicious soup go to waste.