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?