Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Food and (some) photos October 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 2:42 PM
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DURING THE PAST 24 HOURS, I have eaten perhaps more food than I would consume in two days.

But three delicious food events fell on the same weekend and I was not about to skip any in the trio.

What I did skip, however, was photographing two of the three, forcing myself to leave my camera at home for one and in the van for the third, just in case. Anyone who knows me understands just how challenging camera abandonment is for me. But I did it, people, I did it.

Four of the 13 chilis/soups served at Lanae and Dale’s annual soup party.

So, instead of seeing photos from Saturday’s Fall Festival in downtown Faribault, which included a buffet of chili along Central Avenue, you will see photos only from my sister Lanae and her husband Dale’s ninth annual soup party Saturday evening.

You also will not see photos from the fall dinner I attended today at Trinity Lutheran Church, North Morristown. I hadn’t even entered the sanctuary when I was asked, “Do you have your camera?” Yesterday I heard the same question several times while strolling Central.

People have come to expect that I will always have my camera around my neck. It was time for me to break free of the camera. Besides, I’ve photographed both the Chili Contest and the Trinity dinner in the past and felt uninspired and maybe a bit lazy. (If you want to see photos from the 2011 church dinner, click here. For past images of the Fall Festival, click here.)

My floral designer sister always has her yard and house seasonally and beautifully decorated.

But, prior to scooping up soup in my sister’s garage, I shot a few photos inside and out and then put away my camera.

I hope you will be inspired by these photos to host an autumn soup party. Guests brought 13 soups/chilis like split pea, potato, Gunflint chili, white chili, minestrone, tomato and more in crockpots. Paired with homemade breads and sweetened with sweet treats, the soups and chilis presented a perfect meal for a fun-filled fall evening with family and friends.

The soup party started and ended with a backyard campfire. Here a few guests and host Dale gathered before we ate.

I was distracted from the food by this gigantic toad in my sister’s backyard.

Then 7-month-old Mychel and her mom arrived and I invited them for a quick photo shoot on the front steps because, well, how could I resist that sweet baby face?

And then I noticed the sweet baby shoes and how could I resist photographing the feet of mom and daughter?

The sweet baby shoot continued as Mychel walked with her mom toward the garage.

In the garage Mychel’s grandpa, Scott, left, and other guests eventually started filing through the soup line.

My niece Cortney and guest Sheila scoop up soup. Casual and warm attire are necessary for this event which is staged in the garage, driveway and backyard. Layers are added as the evening progresses and cold settles in.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


13 Responses to “Food and (some) photos”

  1. Jackie Says:

    The soup party sounds like a wonderful idea, make me want to whip up a batch of soup for dinner….we’ll see 🙂
    I TOTALLY understand “camera abandonment” everywhere I go is a potential picture to be taken, It drives me crazy not to have my camera with me at all times but I too give it up on occasion. My kids think I have a disorder, Oh well it is what it is 🙂

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      The soup party is a GREAT idea and I keep telling my husband that we need to host one. Lanae asks guests to notify her in advance as to the type of soup/chili they are bringing so she doesn’t have duplicates. It’s a great way to sample new soups.

      So…, we have a disorder, do we, when we “have to” take our camera everywhere we go? It was tough for me to leave the camera home, but also enjoyable to focus on other aspects of the events than photo ops.

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    Lovely! This coming weekend is our annual bonfire and chili feed for our biker friends. A roaster filled with the best chili around (yes, it really is!! and made by friend Sue), homemade bread (me), warm beverages and fill in dishes provided by those coming. As you said, as the day/eve progresses the layers come out (other years it’s been jackets, mittens, Sorels, blankets, etc as we creep closer to the fire…LOL!). Great post! I, too, have left my camera home the last few days of “out and about”—-very difficult to do!!!!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Your annual bonfire and chili feed sounds a lot like my sister’s soup party. Her next door neighbor, Julie, always brings several baskets of homemade breads. My nieces always bake “bloody finger” cookies. My sister Lanae always has a gigantic container of cheese balls. Tradition is a part of this event.

      The weather was so warm last evening that guests lingered outside and around the bonfire much longer than usual. We didn’t move inside until about midnight, and by then it was only my sister and her husband, her daughter and husband and me and my husband. It’s a wonder we made it to 9:30 church services this morning given we arrived home at 1 a.m.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        Ooooooo…..way past your/my bedtime! LOL! DH and I went into La Crosse for dinner/supper and walking around was so pleasant. I was going to have it last nite but DS wanted to come and he’s up north fishing so thought no harm in moving it one week—–let’s hope that proves to be a good move!!! So far predictions look good (course they can’t even tell us what it will do an hour from now!).

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        What a sweet mom you are to delay the party a week so your son could attend. Here’s hoping you have excellent weather.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        Sometimes a gathering just isn’t complete without certain people…..smile…..

  3. Bernie Bowman Says:


    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Bernie, you would love this. Kind of reminds me of extended family getting together each October to celebrate our bachelor uncle’s birthday. I have such fond memories of those family get togethers that were a major part of my growing up years.

      Today families live so far apart and meet, typically, only on holidays. My own three are 5 1/2 hours away to the east, five hours away to the west and the closest only an hour away in Minneapolis. Sigh. But at least they are within a reasonable distance and for that I am thankful.

  4. Love those chubby baby legs, too!

  5. lanae Says:

    Our home is a smaller ranch so having the soup party out in the garage/driveway is the best way to go. All you big city (slickers) folks will laugh when they hear that our neighbors even brings an electrical cord from their home so we don’t trip the electrical box. We provide the space, neighbors and friends bring the tables, chairs, soups and extra goodies. Mom and aunt Lindy gave me vintage trays to put our small throw away soup bowls on. Everyone who comes takes3-4 bowls at a time, with only a small amount of soup so you have room to try all of them!!!! Please start your own soup party, invite those neighbors you don’t know very well you will be glad you did.

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