Week four was CRAZY. It was Anastasia’s birthday, and she and her friends packed the house with shorties. Soup and Bread’s always been “family friendly,” but this was Off. The. Hook. Luckily I had not one but two helpers on hand — for an hour or so there Sheila wrangled kids and kept them from diving into the crock pots while Rae took charge of keeping the bread baskets filled.
And, speaking of bread …
Not so very long ago — last week, in fact — I awoke in a cold sweat, worried about bread. Last year’s Whole Foods connection had dried up, and I was anxious. Would I need to incorporate as a 501 C-3 to get a bakery to donate? Would we have to spend precious pennies on loaves from D’Amatos? Would I have to start baking myself?
I really shouldn’t have worried. In the last ten days or so, bakers have been coming out of the woodwork for the cause. Rae Hill, aka “the Lone Baker,” has not only been contributing her own recipes (which I’ll be posting soon), but has wangled bread donations out of some of her fellow culinary students at Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. And while she was off leaning on her classmates, I was fielding emails from La Farine Bakery, which recently relocated from Palatine to, conveniently, about a boule’s throw from my apartment, and from Anne Kostroski, who has a small, start-up bread business called Crumb, and whom I believe found out about us from Vera at the Empty Bottle farmer’s market. La Farine donated half a dozen sourdough baguettes and chewy slabs of ciabatta this week, and I’m slated to pick up some more next Wednesday; Anne says she is going to swing by the bar with her own contribution sometime that afternoon as well.
Meanwhile, Bethann Hester apparently had some extra eggs, so she donated two savory strata, and Cara Tillman (who’s on the soup schedule for March 3), decided to experiment with her grandma’s recipe for yeasted rolls, and brought those along as well. Sadly, they were gone before I even got a bite. In fact, ALL the bread was gone — along with all the soup — by 7:15 or so. Proving my new favorite adage. You can never have too much bread.
L-R: Jill Barron, Paul Wargaski, Jen Mayer
Back over on the soup side of things, we had another stellar line-up. From left to right:
Jill Barron’s vegan lenti-pasilla chili soup with potent pickled onion garnish
Paul Wargaski’s delicate chicken matzoh ball with braised fennel
Kim Bellware’s luscious mushroom tarragon soup
Jen Mayer’s gorgeous Italian wedding soup
Magda Krance’s complex Asian vegetable soup with shrimp
Best of all, we set a rather stunning new record in the donations pail. We raised $528 — more than at any Soup and Bread this year or last. I don’t know where these deep pockets are coming from — were the little kids running a lemonade stand outside? — but I ain’t askin. I’ll be sending a check off to the Humboldt Park Social Services Food Pantry soon.
And, that’s all! Got to go to work. (Punk Band! Wooo!)
Stay tuned for recipes and the skinny on next week’s exciting line-up.