Night of the Living Bread

Regular readers of this blog (I know there are a couple of you out there) may have noticed a certain sameness to our weekly soup recaps. Because really, over three years, there’s only so much one can say about the ways in which people cook soup, come together, eat soup, and mingle. And that’s cool — we’ve got a good groove going at this point — but it makes for rather routine reading after a while.

So this week, let’s talk about bread. Because, holy cr*p we had so much bread this week. (We had a lot of good soups too, and I *will* get to those. In a minute.) But this week we scored two huge bags of boules and ciabatta from the kids at IIA, and then another five bags (!)  from La Farine, including whole-wheat baguettes, rolls, and at least 6 loaves of their incomparable ciabatta. My car smelled great! And then, when we got to the Hideout, we had bagels dropped off the night before by Aadam Jacobs, plus zatar bread from Taza Bakery, and crackers, and cornbread, and chocolate muffins, and buckeyes, and toffee, and … I’m sure I’ve missed something in there.

This bounty of baked goods was thanks in part to our regular donors La Farine and the Illinois Institute of Art Culinary School, but it was also thanks to the collective enthusiasm and pastry power of this week’s team of cooks, all of whom came from the ranks of LTH Forum, aka “the Chicago-based culinary chat site.” The LTH’ers brainstormed for weeks, and came through with flag flying high. On the table: Caldo do res (a Spanish beef soup featuring big chunks of corn on the cob), tomato-bacon soup, split pea soup with ham, smoked ham bone and navy bean soup, red beans and rice with sausage soup, the return of David Hammond’s pozole, curried squash and red lentil soup, and, in a nice curve ball, cold zuppa di celiege, or sour cherry soup (below).

Now, you might notice a common thread running through all but two of those soups. Namely, meat. (And in 4 out of 5 cases, not just meat, pork.) So at the last minute I enlisted a backup vegan chicken (ie: seitan) noodle soup from Swim Cafe. And then, at an even laster minute, Grant from Hull-House showed up with a pot of potato-herb soup leftover from that week’s ReThinking Soup. It appears this may become a regular thing.

So in other words, we had a whoooole lot of soup in which to sop all that bread. It was a powerful feast, set to the soothing sounds of DJ Lawrence Peters (who’s coming back this week with chili). And on top of it all we raised $227 for Asian Youth Services. Many thanks to everyone who participated, including David Hammond, Gary Wiviott, Catherine Lambrecht, Elaine Haney, Maribeth Heeran, Kenny Zuckerberg, Steve Zaransky, Jennifer Berman, Jenny Zelle, and all the other LTH’ers who contributed to the evening.

See you next week.

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