Posts Tagged ‘Soup and Bread’

Soup & Bread seeks intern

September 17, 2010

Attention arts administration students, aspiring food writers, and/or soup fans: We here at Soup & Bread world headquarters need help. Specifically, administrative and documentary help as we gear up for another season of soup. Want to be our intern?

Depending on your interests and abilities, here’s some of what your internship could entail:

  • correspondance with soup cooks and volunteers
  • mailing list management
  • website maintenance
  • recipe collection and editing
  • creating promotional materials
  • bookkeeping
  • staffing S&B booth at craft fairs
  • fame, glamour, and all the soup you can eat

You should be reliable, flexible, fluent in digital media, interested in food and food politics, and down with the Soup & Bread mission. Solid writing and editing skills a giant plus. We cannot pay you, but the job does have its perks; students, I can provide whatever documentation your school might require for internship credit. Interested? Email Martha at soupnbread10 [at] gmail [dot] com.


Soup TV

July 3, 2009

As we gear up for bingo season, Kelly Reiss, the Vegetarian Librarian, who made some very tasty vegetable-leek soup back on March 25, sent over this video account  of her spring soup adventure. Thanks Kelly!

We’re back, with more free food

June 29, 2009


That’s right. It’s the summer event you’ve been waiting for!


Join us at the Hideout on Wednesday evenings from July 8 to September 9 for a friendly round (or six) of bingo to benefit Chicago’s community gardens. Each week we highlight a different local garden. Prizes range from jars of locally produced honey, bottles of hot sauce, and handmade soap to the grand prize of a box of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables, courtesy of the very generous folks at Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks.

Veggie Bingo runs from 6 to 8 PM every Wednesday for ten weeks. The actual bingo games start at 6:30, and run about an hour. Cards are $1 a pop, or six for $5, and can be purchased from your bartender. All proceeds benefit NeighborSpace, a nonprofit organization that acquires and preserves community open space in the city.

In addition to the veggies, we’ll also be loading up the grill with free hot dogs and tofu pups. Bingo games will be led by an all-star team of callers, starting with dapper country crooner Lawrence Peters on the 8th. See the Hideout website and this blog for upcoming celebrity callers as we book ‘em.


The particulars

What: Bingo!

Where: The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia

When: Wednesdays, 6-8 PM, from July 8-September 9

Who: The Hideout, NeighborSpace, and Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks

Why: To raise money to help Chicago’s gardens grow.


About our partners

NeighborSpace is a nonprofit urban land trust dedicated to preserving and sustaining community managed open spaces in Chicago. Their network of almost 70 gardens provide thousands of people the opportunity to grow fruits, vegetables and flowers; to restore habitats; and create unique gathering places in their own neighborhoods. NeighborSpace’s partners in the community can rest assured that the land will remain dedicated to conservation and their efforts will never be displaced. To volunteer in a community garden near you email or call 312-431-9406.

Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks offers year-round home delivery in the Chicago area of local and organic produce, meat, dairy, eggs, baked goods and more. We are partnering with sustainable farmers to grow the supply of local food in a way that protects our health and the environment. Come join us and make a difference One Bite at a Time!

The last soup: A story in pictures

April 3, 2009

busy crock pots all in a row

This week, in honor of the last Soup and Bread of the season, we had ten — TEN — guest soup cooks. We had silky-smooth artichoke soup, a hearty spring vegetable blend, and savory, caramelized cabbage soup with steak. We had recalcitrant African groundnut stew that finally, finally got hot at, oh, 7:30. And a late-breaking mushroom-potato that turned up as we were packing the bowls away.

watercress soup in action

Even I, master of the delegatory arts, fired up some pots and got in on the action.

no knead bread

Vince brought some no-knead bread.


Gallant Lawrence stepped up to bartend for a bit.


Jenny held down the door — and the donations.


Ryan took a break from washing endless bowls to dirty one of his own.


And I got a chance to wander the floor — and watch everybody dig in!

beautiful people

And dig …

more peoples

… and dig …

she and jt

… and dig some more.

empty pots

Until everything was gone!


We had several very small soup fans.


And some who were even smaller.


And then it was all over. The crocks were packed away.


And I got to sit and smell the flowers. And have a drink. Or four.

Recipes are coming up — many of this week’s fantastic cooks have already sent them in. But I just want to, once again, thank everyone who helped out with this weird little project, which exceeded my wildest dreams in both fun and fundraising. We raised $472 dollars April First alone, which brought the grand Soup and Bread 2009 total to $2,561. !!!!!!.

Thank you, thank you so much to everyone at the Hideout — especially Ryan and Stephen, who had to wash all those dishes, and Andrea for not complaining about the mess — and Mitch for putting up with all the soup people gettin’ up in his jazz action, Peter and Hassan and the Whole Foods bakery for the weekly cartload of bread, Robin and Val for the crock pots, Sheila for all the pie, Celeste for all the pastries, Jen for transportation and an almost-perfect attendance record, and everyone who ever made a pot of soup or a loaf of bread. And thanks to YOU, the Soup and Bread participant, for making it all so honestly amazing. I am humbled and gratified by your generosity of both wallet and spirit.

Soup and Bread may be done for the season but we’re not going away. Watch this space for more S&B related news — coming sooner than you think.

A few faq

March 24, 2009



As we near the end of the first iteration of Soup and Bread I thought I’d post a few thoughts on some questions that have popped up over the last few months.

1. Why is Soup and Bread ending? It’s so awesome!

Soup and Bread is ending next week (April 1) because it’s (allegedly) spring now and it’s time to get our heads out of the soup bowls and into the garden. Or something. To everything there is a season, right? I think it’s healthy to change things up a bit, otherwise we’ll just loll around in a soup-sodden rut for the next year. But, don’t freak out: we will probably be back next winter and may well do something different, in the same vein, this summer. It’s in committee. If you have any ideas feel free to post them here.

2. How do I get to make soup? 

Ask me. I will then guide you through our four-part application and vetting process. 

No, seriously. Just ask.

3. Can I just show up with soup some night?

We’d rather you didn’t. Space is limited, as is the capacity of our poor electrical system. Plus, if you just show up unannounced how are we going to promote your upcoming soup night and make you a star?

4. Can I just show up with bread, or cookies?

Hell,  yes.

5. You should have music or something. Can my band play at Soup and Bread? 

This one’s tricky. Several people have proposed adding value to the Soup and Bread experience through the inclusion of a band, or a talk with a writer, or a comedy performance, or a panel discussion. But while I’m touched that everyone’s thinking about an enhanced S&B, and I don’t want to sound unappreciative, I feel pretty strongly that the whole point of Soup and Bread is to provide a casual, low-key opportunity for socializing over a little good food. There’s a very minimal commitment involved — you can come for five minutes or three hours, and give 50 cents or a fin — and I very much want to keep it that way.  Adding a band or some such feels a bit like mission creep.

But thank you very, very much for asking!

6. Where does the money go?

The money goes to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which distributes food to soup kitchens and food pantries across the metro area. Or, in their words:

“The Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago’s food bank, is a nonprofit food distribution and training center providing food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community. The Food Depository distributes donated and purchased food through a network of 600 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters to 500,000 adults and children every year. Last year, the Food Depository distributed more than 46 million pounds of nonperishable food and fresh produce, dairy products and meat, the equivalent of more than 95,000 meals every day.

7.  Are you, like, a soup kitchen?

No. We are a bar. A very small bar. We have neither the physical capacity nor the social service skills to usefully directly help the city’s (growing) population of people in need of a decent meal. What we’re trying to do is raise money to help those who do have the skills and facilities. They are legion, and we salute them.

8. How can I get the recipe for that amazing [_______] soup?

Right here at Soup and Bread! And keep your eyes peeled for a Soup and Bread cookbook this fall. Assuming I can, you know, get my shit together. 

Along those lines, a note to all you soup cooks who have not sent me a recipe: My philosophy is not to nag, but if you don’t send me the recipe, you won’t be in the cookbook! And, boy, then will you feel left out.

Seriously, I want everyone’s contribution to be recognized. So, act now! There is still time to get yourself on the permanent record.


OK, that’s all. Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow for the penultimate Soup and Bread of 2009.

Stone Soup

January 29, 2009


Aka “back-of-the-refrigerator soup.”

Yesterday, in a preemptive panic about a possible onslaught of soup seekers, I threw together a backup soup  from some stuff lurking in the produce drawer. To wit: most of a yellow onion, some garlic, a bunch of black kale, four red potatoes, and about a cup of crimini mushrooms.  And you know what? It wasn’t bad. It was kind of . . . green. But soup is forgiving, and so are the people eating it. 

Here’s what to do:

Chop up the onion and garlic and sweat in a couple tablespooonfuls of olive oil. Coarsely chop kale and slice mushrooms; when onions are soft, add to pot. Throw in a splash of  (boxed, organic) chicken broth and cook greens down, then add two more quarts of broth and the diced potatoes. Simmer, and season with salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Voila.

It may not be mulefoot pozole (recipe coming soon), but it seemed to do the trick.

Cabbage and kielbasa soup

January 23, 2009


From Hugh Amano

[The strong, rich flavors of sausage and cabbage make this one seriously satisfying — and filling.]

Serves 10
2 Tbs. olive oil
1# kielbasa, diced
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 rib celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1/2 head green cabbage, sliced
2 qt. chicken stock or water, or a mixture
salt and pepper
lemon juice or vinegar

In a pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add kielbasa and fry until some fat has rendered out and kielbasa is crispy. Remove and strain all kielbasa and fat. Return 2 Tbs. of fat to pan, and add onion, carrot, and celery and a few pinches of salt and sweat over low heat for 15 minutes, adding a few splashes of water as needed to keep vegetables from burning. Add garlic and cabbage and continue to sweat for 5-10 minutes, until vegetables are quite soft. Add stock and/or water and simmer for 10 minutes. Puree soup, return to pot, and add kielbasa. Simmer for 5-10 minutes and season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice or vinegar. Garnish with sliced apples, or sour cream, or both.

A brief hiatus

January 17, 2009

I’m unplugging and going out of town for a few days. Was hoping to have some recipes to share before I left, but they have yet to  materialize. (Slackers!) In any case, no posts between now and the next Soup and Bread. See you on the 21st!

Guest soup chefs, January 21

January 16, 2009
Oh yeah!

Stepping up to the stove next week:

Food on the Dole’s Hugh Amano
Massage therapist Celia Bucci
Ceramicist Judy Cohn
Vella Cafe

Be there, if only to mock me in my sleep deprivation. The bus back from DC is scheduled to roll into the Hideout parking lot around noon that day. Ow.

Hot soup for cold people

January 15, 2009

Holy split pea, Chicago! Or would that be creamy potato-carrot?

Whatever your pleasure, last night it seemed that all tastes led to the Hideout. We had a stunning turnout for the second week of Soup and Bread. So much so that I sort of forgot to take any pictures after this one:


Now, that may not look like the center of wild excitement. But there on the bar, from left to right, are hot pots of goodness from Amy Lombardi (savory split-pea with Black Forest ham), Heather Shouse (spicy beet, carrot, and ginger soup with rosemary sour cream), the Handlebar (rich and satisfying African groundnut stew, with optional toppings of peanuts and coconut), and a surprise offering  from Swim Cafe, who weren’t on the schedule but turned up with (shockingly complex creamy potato-carrot) soup anyway.

Even more surprising? Three out of four of ’em were veggie. So much for that worry.

Also on the menu: a hodgepodge of starches, including some loaves of sourdough and ciabatta from Panera, two frozen-and-reheated baguettes from last week (rock hard, but good for dipping), the banana bread — which turned out well, if probably more sugary than Mark Bittman intended — and a loaf of homemade wheat bread donated by my friend Paula. Thanks Paula!

And — huzzah! —  the inimitable Celeste showed up around 7 with MORE COOKIES.

Yesterday’s snow, wind, bite-ass cold, and general nastiness may not have posed the challenge of last week’s hazmat scene, but it was still daunting enough that around 4:30 I wasn’t sure anyone was going to show. Again: so much for that worry.

People started staggering in by 5:30, stomping snow from their boots and whacking their fingers on the bar to get the circulation going. By 6:30 they’d colonized the back room and a birthday party was in full swing. By 7:30 all the soup was gone.

Thankfully we added a bar back to the schedule this week, so the dishwashing wasn’t as epic as the inaugural event. At least for me. (Rigo, you’ re the best!)

The rest of the night is a blur, but I remember at one point telling a friend that I felt “weirdly filled with joy.” It should go without saying that this is not my natural state. So thanks to all who came out from across this frozen city.  I don’t know how many of you there were, but you ponied up $230 in donations for the Food Depository. And there are lots of sappy, heartwarming things I could say about that, but instead I think I’ll just post another photo of the penguin mug.