This photo rather says it all. We had a stunning, record turnout for the start of Soup & Bread 2011. I don’t know how many people were packed into the soup line there, but my immense thanks to one and all for a) coming and b) being so patient as we worked out the glitches in our soup service and then, of course, ran out of soup. At 6:45. I credit the collective good humor of the soup fans of Chicago from saving us from an ugly scene. And, the lack of food didn’t stop the crowd from generously filling the donations bucket: We raised a record $669 dollars last night, all of which is going to the Casa Catalina Basic Human Needs Center at Holy Cross/Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Back of the Yards.
Our soup cooks and helpers bore the brunt of the onslaught. I can’t speak to their culinary prowess — I got about three bites of food all night — but I’d like to just thank them once again for stepping up as guinea pigs as we gear up for three new months of soup. They were patient, helpful, and compiled a list of suggestions for ways we could help things run more smoothly that I’m going to implement next week. (Thanks to Anastasia, above, who brought a black bean soup with cumin yogurt, for serving as secretary!)
Celeste and Devon brought a chicken noodle soup, one of the few I did get to sample. Overachievers that they are, they also brought two cakes and a plate of whoopie pies. Other cooks, who managed to escape my camera, were Tom V. Ray (chili), Brian Ferguson (doro wat), Swim Cafe (carrot-ginger soup), and a Soup & Bread newbie, Debbie Baer, who delivered her own take on potato-leek soup.
Soup & Bread’s always been a community endeavor, but never so much so as last night. We would not have been able to pull it all together without the contributions of many friends, including Swim Cafe workers Dianna Ryan and Ellyn Diko, who’ve pitched in to lend a hand each week in the back room; DJ Mary Nisi, whose set of soup music set the perfect mood; Soup & Bread partner and design guru Sheila Sachs, the hostess with the mostest; newly appointed S&B laundress Alison True; the generous Rida Shadin and Michelle Calderhead at La Farine Bakery, purveyors of the official Soup & Bread ciabatta; and pastry chef Rae Hill (shown above with official S&B cab driver Dmitry Samarov), who facilitated the donation of 15 pies by Paula Haney and the good bakers of Hoosier Mama Pie Company.
We’ll have recipes coming soon — and the lowdown on who, and what, we’ve got on tap for next week. In the meantime, stay warm. And of course, eat soup.
Tags: Alison True, anastasia davies hinchsliff, Brian Ferguson, celeste dolan, Celestial Kitchens, Debbie Baer, Devon Bergman, Dianna Ryan, Ellyn Diko, Hoosier Mama Pie Company, La Farine Bakery, Mary Nisi, Rida Shahin, Sheila Sachs, swim cafe, Tom V. Ray