Fall has finally arrived, bringing brisk temperatures, colorful leaves, pumpkin-flavored, well, everything and frequent cravings for rich, hearty soup. If you love to indulge in a bowl of steamy, comforting soup, stew or chowder during the autumn months, by all means, bring on the crackers!
But do you know what’s even better than sitting down to a satisfying bowl of soup? Swapping soup (and soup recipes) with friends and family! Following are some simple steps for hosting a seasonal soup exchange. Not only will you enjoy several different types of soup, you’ll be able to catch up with all the fellow soup lovers in your life while doing so!
A couple weeks before the soup exchange
1. Narrow down your guest list. More guests mean more soup, but it’s important to make sure your list is manageable. If it’s your first soup swap, limiting friends and relatives to 10 or fewer will likely make the party go smoother—and feel less overwhelming. Once you’ve mastered the art of the soup exchange, you can expand your guest list for future get togethers.
2. Send out invitations. Give your guests plenty of notice before the delicious day by sending out paper or electronic invites. Bonus points if you include engaging messaging, such as “Have a bowl at Susan’s Soup Exchange!” or “Show off Your Soup-er Power at Janet’s Soup & Stew Swap!” Be sure to include the time, date and location of the event as well as a brief explanation of how the exchange will work:
- All attendees should bring however many quarts of soup, stew or chowder you determine based on the number of guests (including a quart for sampling) and expect to return home with the same amount of deliciousness.
- All soup should be refrigerated or frozen prior to the party and heated up at the event. To avoid accidental burns while in transit, soup shouldn’t come straight from the stovetop.
- All soup should be packaged in separate containers that attendees don’t mind parting with.
- Each guest should print out and bring several copies of their recipe so others can check for allergens, get heating instructions and prepare the soup in the future.
Ask attendees to RSVP a few days before the event and to identify the type of soup that they’ll be bringing. This will help ensure that there’s plenty of variety and not everyone will show up on your doorstep with a month’s supply of chicken noodle.
3. Plan and shop. This will give you plenty of time to gather any party décor, ingredients for your soup and beverages and snacks for the event:
- Stock up on drinks, such as plain and sparkling water, iced tea, juice, soda and wine. After all, soup sampling will likely make friends and family thirsty!
- Choose snacks that pair well with soup, such as bread, crackers and—if you’re feeling extra motivated—finger sandwiches.
The day before the exchange
1. Set up your space. Determine whether you prefer to have the swap in your kitchen, family room or another part of your home. Make sure whichever space you choose has plenty of room for the various “soup stations” and, of course, mingling.
- Cover countertops and tables with butcher paper or tablecloths to protect surfaces from inevitable splatters and spills.
- Set out enough small jars or bowls and spoons for each guest to sample soup. Attendees can wash these between servings, if desired.
- Print out the following:
- Name tags for guests
- Table labels for soups
- Soup exchange cards
2. Prepare your own soup for the swap.
The day of the exchange
1. Prepare and set up snacks and beverages.
2. Greet guests upon arrival. Offer them a drink and ask them to wear their name tag!
3. Help attendees set up their stations: Give each guest their table label and show them where they will be stationed. Offer to warm up their soup.
4. Kick off the tasting: Encourage your guests to get to know one another and sample each other’s soups, stews and chowders. If someone wants to take home a particular soup, have them express interest by writing their name on the soup exchange card.
5. Start swapping. After partygoers have had sufficient time to mix, mingle and taste all the soups, announce that it’s time for the exchange. There are a few different ways to conduct the soup swap:
- If your guests list happens so be small, each attendee can bring home a quart of each type of soup. Easy peasy!
- Or, you can write down numbers on small pieces of paper and have guests draw them to determine the order in which they can choose their soups. This is a calm and orderly way to conduct a swap.
- Or, you can ask all attendees to head to their stations and begin calling out the names listed on their soup exchange cards. Soups can then be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis to any guests who claim them. This method can be a bit rowdy—but a whole lot of fun—as friends and family compete for and hand out the various soups.