Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Trying tofu at a soup party September 30, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 7:57 AM
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Guests gather inside and outside a Waseca garage for an autumn soup party.

IT IS, FOR MY EXTENDED FAMILY, a rite of autumn in Minnesota.

The orange tub of cheese balls. My nieces’ bloody finger cookies. Julie’s homemade breads, still warm from the oven. Vintage trays stacked high. Crockpots, brimming with soup, crammed onto tables inside the garage. Sampling each soup or chili. And afterward, conversation and laughter around the backyard campfire.

Last Saturday night my sister Lanae and her husband Dale hosted their eighth annual soup party at their Waseca home for family and friends. For me, and many others, it’s a must-attend autumn event.

Tortellini with Italian Sausage Soup, left, and German Potato Salad and Creamy Corn with Jalapeno soups to the right in photo.

Homemade breads, this year crafted by Lanae and Dale's friends, Julie and Vicki.

Bloody finger cookies, a soup party tradition.

Sweatshirt weather on a day that transitions quickly from cool to cooler. Oranges and reds and yellows. Chili that bites and heats the innards. Comfort in the familiarity of Chicken Noodle Soup laced with thick, homemade noodles. Unfamiliarity in the Chinese Hot & Sour Soup among these mostly Germans more connected to the German Potato Salad Soup.

Trying tofu for the first time in that tasty Chinese soup.

Listening to my other sister share how her family detests the stench of the Broccoli Cheese Soup she brings every year.

Trading left-overs with Carol, who raves about my Black Bean Pumpkin Soup, which I don’t find all that great. I think I’m the winner, getting her Chicken Noodle Soup. Carols thinks she’s gotten the better end of the swap. It is a matter of opinion, a matter of taste preferences.

Crocks of soups and chilis are set up on tables inside the garage.

Vintage metal trays provide the perfect place to set bowls of soup/chili and other food.

Before the party, guests tell my sister what soup/chili they are bringing so she has labels ready to mark each soup on party night.

We don’t arrive expecting to like all of the soups and chilis—15 this year:

  • Chinese Hot & Sour
  • Reuben Chowder
  • Broccoli Cheese
  • Gunflint Chili
  • White Chili
  • Chocolate (yes, soup)
  • Lemon Orzo
  • Tortellini with Italian Sausage
  • German Potato Salad (yes, soup)
  • Ham & Bean
  • Creamy Corn with Jalapeno,
  • Pumpkin Black Bean
  • Stuffed Sweet Pepper
  • Chicken Noodle
  • Red Chili

But we arrive expecting to enjoy ourselves in the company of family and friends on a beautiful autumn evening in Minnesota. And we do. And I did.

Soups/chilis are uncovered and party-goers start lining up to sample the offerings.

THANKS, LANAE AND DALE, for hosting this fun, tasty event.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

8 Responses to “Trying tofu at a soup party”

  1. Lanae Says:

    I really hope that others try a soup party. Excitement is in the fall air as guests arrive. My neighbor brings tables early so we can set up. With the help of my daughter Tara and son-in-law Andy, Dale and I are ready for everyone to arrive at 5:30. Ask any one person, you will get a different answer from each about their favorite soup.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      This is a great opportunity to try different soups. I never would have made Black Bean Pumpkin Soup at home. But the soup party offered the perfect time to try something new.

      I know how much Lanae loved the apple soup I brought several years ago.

  2. Katie Shones Says:

    Reuben chowder, that sounds delicious!

  3. Sara Says:

    I absolutely love this! I remember loving your first post about the soup party and loving the idea then too! Hopefully when I get married, I can make this a fall tradition to bring both our families together for a day! 🙂

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      That would be a wonderful tradition to start with your families, Sara. I keep telling Randy we need to host a soup party. But then each autumn passes, and we still have not done this.


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