Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Minnesota soup party October 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 9:36 AM
Each guest family brings a crockpot of soup or chili to the party, which is staged in the garage.

Each guest family brings a crockpot of soup or chili to the party, which is staged in the garage.

Halloween decorations add to the festive atmosphere at Lanae and Dale's party.

Halloween decorations add to the festive atmosphere at Lanae and Dale's annual soup party.

NINETEEN SOUPS. Fifty guests. Forty degree temps.

That would be my sister Lanae and her husband Dale’s annual soup party, held last Saturday evening in Waseca.

It’s an event that has become as much a part of autumn as the leaves turning color. If you fail to show up one year, don’t expect an invitation the following year, unless you have an acceptable excuse.

This is one party most don’t miss, including me. I love soup, especially sampling so many varieties—this year French onion, Minnesota brie and apple, white chicken chili, spicy chicken cheddar potato, salmon chowder, lentil, Cajun shrimp with corn, butternut squash, potato cheese chowder and more.

Each year guests seem to come up with surprising new varieties for everyone to taste test. And that’s exactly what we do. Unless your stomach is as big as King Kong’s, it’s impossible to try every soup. So you strategize.

Scout out the options, Lanae advises newbies. Place several soup bowls on your tray and then ladle small quantities into each. Fail to follow Lanae’s advice and you’ll soon find yourself full before you’ve sampled many soups.

Those of us who’ve been attending the soup supper faithfully for years also know to save room for Julie’s homemade breads. Lanae’s neighbor, Julie, makes the best cheesy bread, delivered to the party still hot from the oven.

Add Lanae and Dale’s homemade wines, like blueberry, raspberry and rhubarb, to the mix, and you have the perfect party.

The perfect party, that is, if you’re willing to sit in the garage, on the driveway or around the backyard campfire bundled in layers to ward off the chilly temperatures. So what’s a little cold? It’s worth enduring for the delicious soups. After all, we are hardy Minnesotans.

A stack of vintage trays awaits diners.

A stack of vintage trays awaits diners.

Lanae tosses a festive cloth over the work bench for a serving area.

Lanae tosses a festive cloth over the work bench as a serving area for soups, crackers, bread and more.

As a floral designer at Waseca Floral, Lanae always has delightful decor both inside and outside her home.

As a floral designer at Waseca Floral, Lanae always has delightful decor both inside and outside her home.

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

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