About Soup & Bread

“Chicago’s most laid-back, nutritious party.” (Grub Street Chicago)

“Kind of like the Iron Chef of soup.” (Centerstage Chicago)

Soup & Bread is a free weekly soup dinner at the Hideout, a bar and music venue in Chicago.

Each week we round up a handful of Hideout staff and regulars, plus local musicians, writers, artists, and — yes — professional cooks to donate pots of homemade soup. We heat them up in crock pots and serve them up, along with fresh bread and the occasional muffins, pie, or cookies baked by enterprising participants. All are welcome, and we serve till the soup runs out or the late-night jazz guys kick us out. It was designed to be an easy, low-key way to get folks out of the house and socializing in the dead of darkest winter — not to mention, when we started this up in 2009 our friends were losing their jobs left and right. At times these past few years it’s seemed the entire city could use a nice hot bowl of soup.

Toward that end, while the meal is free, we also set out a donations bucket, into which people are free to toss a dollar or two or ten to help get food to those who are truly in need. Since 2009 we have raised more than $10,000 for the Greater Chicago Food Depository (the central food bank serving the Chicago region), the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, Western Washington’s Food Lifeline, and a wide range of neighborhood food pantries, soup kitchens, and hunger relief agencies.

We’ve gotten some nice press for this endeavor; this Centerstage story from 2009 gives a good overview, as does this interview with Grub Street Chicago, conducted in December of 2009 just as we self-published a limited edition collection of recipes titled The Soup & Bread Cookbook. There’s more info on that here. I’m also fond of this interview from Cathy Erway’s great blog Not Eating Out in New York, on the occasion of our first-ever Soup & Bread road trip, to Brooklyn in 2010.

In 2010 we also launched a new project, a Soupscription series of recipe cards; subscribers receive six new recipes for soup and bread in the mail every month for a year. There’s more on that here. A portion of the proceeds from all sales of the Soup & Bread Cookbook, the recipe cards, and related Soup & Bread merchandise is donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Soup & Bread 2011 starts January 5 and runs Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, through April 13. There’s never a cover charge, and kids are welcome if accompanied by an adult. Why don’t you come over and check it out?

7 Responses to “About Soup & Bread”

  1. Tempted » Blog Archive » SOUP AND BREAD AT THE HIDEOUT Says:

    […] the enormous pleasure of donating and serving up a pot of homemade Chickpea Lentil stew for “Soup and Bread“, a free weekly soup dinner organized by Martha Bayne at the Hideout in Chicago. Both soup […]

  2. Stuart Iseminger Says:

    The staff of Lakeview Pantry thanks Martha Bane, the Hideout, and all who generously donated $551 on 2/17/10 at Soup ‘n’ Bread Night! We think this event is a great idea and not only helps us in our work but also raises awareness about hunger in Chicago. You are supporting the growing numbers of individuals and families we see each day with the nutritious food they need to survive. Your donations are greatly appreciated, and directly help us serve approximately 2,800 of our neighbors each month through our food distribution, home delivery and case management programs. Because of your generosity, our clients receive food for today and hope for a better tomorrow. Thank you for looking out for our neighbors! P.S. Feel free to visit our website at http://www.lakeviewpantry.org. – Stuart Iseminger, Director of Programs and Operations and the staff of Lakeview Pantry.”

  3. Martha Says:

    Thank you Stuart! And thanks to you and your staff for all your enthusiasm and support.

  4. Bill McCuskey Says:

    Martha, This blog is a winner; your mother clued me in. I am looking forward to the book, now on order. We eat a lot of soup and bread (and pie) in Maine during the summer — even “winter” recipes. Maybe I will nerve up enough to share something……….. Bill

  5. Wendy Vasquez Says:

    Martha! What a sweet surprise to return last week from the holiday weekend to find a $400 donation to the food pantry at Ravenswood Community Services (RCS). Thank you for helping us provide food assistance to more than 300 families every week.

    Our Tuesday night Food Pantry and Community Kitchen are the cornerstones of RCS’ efforts to create a volunteer corps whose broad purpose is to build community while serving the needs of residents in Chicago’s Ravenswood and Uptown neighborhoods. People who live side by side as strangers will both recognize and realize their potential to be just neighbors. Come join us if you like! (www.ravenswoodcommunityservices.org or 773-769-0282).

    From a personal standpoint, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the next winter season of Soup and Bread … sounds like a great way to spend a cold Chicago evening.

    Wendy Vasquez
    Executive Director, Ravenswood Community Services

  6. Martha Says:

    Thank you Wendy! Glad you got the donation. I’ll definitely let you know when Soup and Bread ramps up again this winter.

  7. For all you Chicago food enthusiasts…. « midnightsunfarm Says:

    […] was in close proximity last night to the ramen he describes in his current post, and was assured that it was in fact […]

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