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Category Archives: Tips and Inspiration

Soup Nazi Spoons in Atlantic City

Here’s a special request we’re glad to accommodate: Linda near Atlantic City, wanted everyone to get to take a look at her “No Soup For You!” Spoons.

They are hilarious and a great riff on the fancy spoons from Albany, NY last year.

It seems that the Soup Nazi is the unofficial mascot of Soup Swap, at least this year.

You can read about Linwood’s National Soup Swap Day activities, right here.

So You Wanna Swap Soup? Notes for Newbies!

Ed note: I asked Lelly down in North Carolina if she’d be willing to share her thoughts on hosting a Soup Swap, now that she’s done two of them…here’s what she had to say.

However you heard about soup swap, however you found your way through the blogosphere to the gang at, you probably thought the same thing as I: Hey, that sounds like fun! Followed shortly thereafter by: Hey, I could do that! Before you knew it, you emailed a few friends, you compiled a list of potential soups to swap, and you dutifully tested the freez-ability of various quart-sized containers.

It was that easy!!

But then you started to worry about having a fun logo, or if you should provide door prizes, or how you would tell the story of your soup! You planned to spend a blissful Saturday chopping and simmering and freezing your soup, yet here you are, less than a week away from the swap that you proposed, and you haven’t found the “perfect” recipe yet. What’s a frazzled soup swap host to do?

Relax. I know, the pressure of hosting the perfect swap can be overwhelming. When we had our first swap, just a year ago, we were already about a month late. Somehow, knowing that I wasn’t swapping on the “official day” made me feel a little more relaxed. Heck, if the swap bombed, I knew the powers that be at didn’t even need to know about it! But, it didn’t bomb! It was a huge success, and we grew from 6 soups to 10 in just a year, even moving to a larger space to accommodate more swappers.

There are tons of tips on (But if you’re hosting a swap this weekend, and you haven’t made your soup yet, I suggest you get off the computer and get into the kitchen!) Don’t stress about the event. Worried about the telling of the soup? Believe it or not, your closest friends will gladly get up in front of the group and share their stories. You might even learn something new! Worried that someone might not appreciate receiving a prize for bringing the last soup to be picked? Heck, it’s a prize!! Who doesn’t love receiving a prize? Worried that no one will pick your soup? Mathematically, that can’t happen. So get over it!

There is something very gratifying about going to your freezer and eying the bounty you bring home from your soup swap. As you reheat each soup, you will think about the person who made it, you will think about their story, and you will wonder what soup they will be bringing to your next swap. Now, get out there and swap some soup!

Soupy Fundraiser in Chelsea, Michigan

Here’s an interesting twist on Soup Swap. The folks at the Chelsea Center for the Art’s heard of Soup Swap, and then thought to have get local potters to donate bowls and a local cafe to provide the soup for the bowls. You buy a cool bowl, get it filled with soup, and then take home the bowl while helping the arts.

Leslie wrote they were going to do it on the “Souper Bowl” but moved it to be able to participate with us on National Soup Swap Day on January 23. That’s cool. We hope they make lots of money for the Art Center and meet new folks in their town!

Here’s the press release:

The Chelsea Center for the Arts in Chelsea, MI is hosting a “Soup Swap” to raise money for our pottery program and to help fill the community food pantry – Faith in Action. On Wednesday, January 23, between 3:30 and 6:30pm, ZouZou’s, a local coffee shop and deli, will be on hand to serve up three of their best soups as part of the 2nd National Soup Swap!

We’ll be selling bowls to put your wonderful soup in, too – choose from big mug or maybe a set of smaller bowls made and donated by area potters. Aspiring artist painted their own bowls on January 12 for the event, as well. We provided the unglazed bowls for purchase, they supplied the inspiration and decoration. The bowls will be fired in our kiln for pick up during the souper swap.

When participants come to get their soup and bowls, we asked that they bring a can of soup for Faith in Action and share the warmth.

The cost to purchase or paint your own bowl is $14 for the first and $8 for each additional bowl. The soup is $3.00 per serving. Area potters are invited to donate their soup bowls for the event. Big, little, round or square will do. With or without a handle – anything you’d like to donate for the swap will go a long way.

The Chelsea Center for the Arts is located at 400 Congdon St. For more information, please call 734-433-2787.

Fairport, NY Joining on the 23rd!

“I’ll be hosting what I believe is a first for our little village on the Erie Canal. I saw your web site when searching for ideas for a cookie swap and decided that this was a way better idea!!”, says JoAnne of Fairport, NY.

She continues that she is starting small with eight guest, and that she’ll “be providing to attendees along with party favors of silicone hot pads and a wooden spoon.”

We look forward to seeing the pictures from this Erie Canal town. She has a great invite (.pdf) with a good tip sheet on how to cook and freeze soup, if you are looking for invite ideas. You can drop her a note, here.

Right now I’m excited about finishing preparations.

Door Prizes, Labels, and Other Fun Stuff!

With only one weekend separating us from National Soup Swap Day, I thought it would be fun to share something other than soup to work on this weekend.

That’s right! Get out your glue gun and glitter ’cause it’s the door prize edition of Soup Swap.

Maybe about five years ago in Seattle, once we had the ritual down with Soup Swap, we threw in the added element of door prizes.

Big and Little Spoons in SeattleIn Seattle, our traditional gifts are a large wooden spoon for the first soup picked, and a small wooden spoon for the last soup to go. I sometimes think we ought switch it and give the big spoon last, because no matter how much you are an adult about being picked last, it still feels bad. I ought to know, I’ve gone home with the little spoon.

Renee's Super spoons Taking the idea of our spoons further, Renee in Albany blew our mind with her SPOONS FOR EVERYONE! Seriously, we’d never even thought of this. But if Renne looks like Martha Stewart, then you gotta see what Not Martha’s got up to: SILK SCREENING.

Not Martha's Soup Swap PotholdersNo, seriously. That’s a lot of work for parting gifts!

We’ve heard of folks giving books, colorful potholders, and for all kind of reasons: first soup frozen, best Telling of the Soup, naughtiest named soup, most exotic ingredient. Do what makes your event the most fun!

Soup Running Away with SpoonWhat if all you want is your soup to be picked first? While I’m normally scrounging around for a pen and mailing label, you can always add a cute label to catch the swapper’s eye. Jenny in Rochester did a swell job with this one.

Maybe a cute label isn’t enough? If not, you can send some crackers home with it, a box of raisins, or in the case of these folks in DC, what looks like homemade cornbread! And while you’re looking at this picture, check out the soup wrapped up in their own blankets!DC picture by Joe Foley, Wrapped Soup!
On a new twist on ugly soup, this weekend down in Portland, one of the intrepid swappers was offering romance with her bleak, dull gray black bean soup! That’s right, you picked her soup, and you got the recipe and a pair of candles since candle light makes everything look better.Ugly Soup by Candlelight

Soup IDFinally, neither door prizes nor incentives, we can say that everyone appreciates a recipe and some order to the evening! Having some extra sticky labels and pens handy for folks to label their soup, for example. We’re hardly this organized in our swap, but I thought this idea by the Not Martha crowd to making picking easier awesome.

Indiana Soup CardsAs far as I can tell, these cards from our pals in Indiana were used to not only describe the soups, but also gave folks a cool thing to take home with recommendations on what to eat with the soup! They are good looking, don’t you think?

These are just a few of the ideas folks have shared with us, but we sure love them. If you browse our archives or take a look at all the contributers blogs and flickr feeds to see even more! Creative types must be drawn to Soup Swapping!

At First Broth: Confessions of a Soup Swap Newbie

I’ve been invited to the Seattle Soup Swap for a few years now, but for various reasons (work, prior social engagements, lack of actual soup) have never made it to one. That all ends next week.

I’ve been fantasizing about my debut Soup Swap appearance quite a bit. My quarts would be the first to go, no question. They’d look that good. Eventually one would find its way to a quick lunch with a visiting guest who would happen to work for the Food Network, which would happen to be casting a new “Soups of the World” show (naturally), and the rest would be soup history. I’d be borchting in Moscow via Web cam by Soup Swap ’09.

The reality of things is much different: I seem to be inept at pairing produce and heat with much success lately and I’m a busy girl. My full calendar and empty pot are already taunting me with the threat of another missed Swap. But I’m determined! Even if I have to add a pinch of pepper and a sprig of something to six quarts of Cream of Mushroom soup and call it a secret family recipe I’ll be there, soup in hand. I’m kidding. Maybe. See you in Judkins Park.

Go Local in Indiana!

Go Local! With Indiana ProduceThere was a day when people ate what they grew and in season. We’d all be well into our jars of beans, salted meat, and squash now and waiting for nearly anything to leaf out, bitter dandelion greens and nettles for something fresh. I wouldn’t want to go back exactly, but I do believe we need a return to a more sustainable, saner form of local agriculture. Soup Swap is a natural extension of this.

It is with much excitement that we’re able to announce yet another Indiana Soup Swap, this one also near Indianapolis, but with a twist in that they are asking the participants to highlight locally grown, seasonal produce.

Victoria’s Going Local blog is a beautiful resource for locally grown and produced food in Indiana. With links to CSA farms, farmer markets and delicious recipes, it’s a pleasure to read and look at.

She’ll be hosting a Indiana “Go Local” Soup Swap on January 26. So drop her a note, here, for more information.

Even if you’re not in Indiana, you’ll want to take a look, as this week, she’s posting recipes every single day for seasonal soups featuring Indiana ingredients, so if you’re looking for Soup Swap ideas, they are here and they do look good! Today, she’s has a lovely looking Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple recipe, always a favorite.

Ha! Ha! Invite for Centennial, Colorado

Click for the Full Invite

Here’s one of the cleverest invites we’ve seen for Soup Swap. It comes from Jan in Centennial, Colorado, just south of Denver.

I’m guessing it’s the rarefied air at a mile high that lends itself to hilarious invites. Make sure to click on it, to get the larger reading copy.

One thing I like about these folks, is they decided not only not to swap on Wednesday night because it wasn’t convenient for them, but to only make four quarts instead of our recommended six, because it seemed more sane to them! Good on them for doing what works for their own group. Some groups taste each other’s soups, some make smaller batches, some swap in the morning, some drink coffee, some have wine. You just need to do what’s right for your group and HAVE FUN!

They’ll be joining Pougkeepsie and Jersey City by hosting their Soup Swap on Sunday, January 27th.

For information this Denver-area swap, drop Jan a note, here.

Windsor Soup: See The Site, Cook the Soup

It is with a bit of delight that we received a “spam-lite” mail that was on target to soup swap and actually has a soup recipe from the mighty UK. More Monty Python than anything, Dave writes (spelling corrected),

“We get many American visitors here in Royal Windsor, which has the largest occupied castle in Europe. Many come to lay flowers at the George the Third memorial and ask the Queen to let you all become British again but no dice. But not many realize that the town was actually named after a soup. The famous Brown Windsor Soup.

If you want the recipe for a soup swap Google “Windsor soup”!

Ok, it may take a bit of clicking around, look for the colander in the upper right corner, but there is a soup recipe here with delicious sounding horseradish dumplings. Mainly we’re posting it for it’s pleasant sunny humor and delightful weirdness (plus links to Windsor hotels if you are going that way). I’ll let you decide for yourself if there is any meaning in this.

Heart of Ohio: Columbus

Using Soup Swap as a way to enjoy a light brunch, Sylvia writes “as with other swaps we will be collecting 2 cans of soup per person to be donated to the local food bank.”

They are looking forward to having the soups to enjoy over the rest of the winter and they’re looking forward to it!

It’s Friday, January 25th at the earliest time yet! 10:00 AM!

They’re out on the south side of Columbus (a place I once got wonderfully/horribly lost in): click here for more information.