You’ve been to cookie exchanges during the holidays, right? Well, a soup swap functions in the same way: Get a group of friends together, asking each to bring their favorite homemade soup frozen in quart-sized containers to swap with other attendees (encourage folks to bring copies of their recipe as well – you know there will be requests for them!). Besides taking home good memories of the party, each person is guaranteed to leave with an array of soups to store in their freezer and enjoy over several weeks.
There’s nothing to hosting a soup swap. All you need is a good soup recipe to share and a handful of friends to invite – six to eight people total is the suggested number and keeps the soup-making task manageable for everyone. Choose your party day and give people at least a week (two or more is best) so they have plenty of time to get their soup made and frozen.
If you’d like to go beyond the basic with your soup swap, there are lots of fun ways to do that. For example, you could plan your party around a seasonal theme: During the spring months, encourage guests to use some of the garden’s early produce, like asparagus or arugula. Or, during the dog days of summer, host a gazpacho party asking guests to make their favorite chilled soup, perfect to have on hand for evenings when it’s too hot to cook. If you’d like, you could also award prizes to those whose soup best illustrates the theme of the evening!
Now, because guests will be arriving to the party with frozen containers of soups, you as the host may want to have a pot of soup warming on the stove or in a slow cooker for your guests to enjoy during the party. Offer a variety of soup toppings (croutons, crackers, crumbled cooked bacon, shredded cheese, etc.), a salad and a variety of cheeses with Pepperidge Farm® breads and crackers, and a simple dessert. Another party menu plan is to offer an assortment of finger foods, a cheese and fruit platter and wine.
Part of the fun of a soup swap is sharing stories about the soups themselves. In established swap circles, this portion of the party is called “The Telling of the Soup,” and is the time when all attendees gather together and talk about their soup: what makes it special, why they chose it, or a memory surrounding it. It’s a fun way for people to showcase their hard work and explain to their fellow guests the finer points of their soup.