From Soup to Nuts

2016 Menu

Hi! And welcome to my site!! It’s been 5 years since I started a blog about Health (from the Inside out), Fitness and Soup. I’ll be making updates to previously published entries, as I have with this one, and adding some of our adventures as we embark upon a few road trips, a cruise to Alaska, and other wanderings in our new post-retirement life.

And so to begin…… Soup Kitchen? Soup Party? What on earth is THAT??? And how did I get started on this [almost]-annual event, now in its 27th year?

Dateline 1988, NJ: I was invited to an informal “supper” at a colleague’s home during the holidays, and my friends served 3 kinds of hearty (and yummy!) homemade soups and delicious breads. It was a wonderful idea, and I shamelessly stole and expanded it.

The following year, I hosted my first “Soup Kitchen” in my small apartment, on a weeknight during the holidays. I featured 6 types of soups, and homemade breads & biscuits. I don’t remember which soups I served, but I’m pretty sure I made my Mom’s Crab Bisque “Calaloo” and Silver Palate’s Potato Cheddar Soup. I probably had 30 or so people drop by that evening. Not bad for a maiden voyage. (Worst memory: one year the water main on our street broke 4 hours before the party! I was calling my friends and telling them to be sure to use the facilities before they came over…. and then my friend Rick Burchell spent the entire night washing 5 hours’-worth of dishes for me. God love him! The water came back on 15 minutes before guests arrived.)

I continued the event ALMOST every year as I moved from Highland Park to Summit, NJ. I think that I got up to 65 people in 1999, the year before I moved to Seattle. And I was up to THIRTEEN Soups!! My friend Eric Frenchman studied the list of soups ahead of time, and made a plan for tasting ALL of them. (Yes, he managed to do it!) I think that was also the year when my Mom challenged my friend Lydia Kleiman to a Cheesecake bake-off.

Back in Jersey the only food consideration that I had to work around was for my Jewish friends who kept Kosher. Most of them bent the rules only so far, and they were okay with eating food prepared in my non-Kosher kitchen. But I always made my Brazilian Fish Chowder and a vegetarian option like Cream of Mushroom Soup. One year I made a Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese and Spinach Soup. It looked so awful even I refused to taste it. But my Mom and many guests assured me that it was delicious. Whatever. I’m not likely to ever make THAT again!

In February of 2000 I moved to Seattle, WA. The following year I hosted my first Soup Party in my new home. I was so used to throwing these parties that I wasn’t prepared for the befuddlement of my friends and colleagues: Are we supposed to bring a soup? Are we going to be serving soup to homeless people? Is this a sit-down dinner? What else will we be having? And the usual “what can I bring?” By this time I’d long given up on trying to also make desserts, so it was easy to suggest that my friends bring something sweet. Back in Jersey, Karen and Bob Terlizzi brought Sweet and Spicy Nuts (homemade), with the note “From Soup to Nuts”. Karen is a fabulous cook; she brought one of the yummiest Lemon Breads one year, and I’ve been making it ever since for Easter.

2002 was one of my favorite events: It was my then-fiance Mike’s FIRST Soup Party. Even though we were getting married less than 6 weeks from Soup Party week-end, we still made it happen. Mike is a fantastic cook, and we learned a LOT about each other during those weeks, lessons that have helped us keep peace in the kitchen. More on that in a later post!

Fast-forward to 2016: Now in Manhattan Beach, CA: we’re up to over 100 people, holding steady at 12 soups (sometimes 13), and we have a renovated patio with a fire pit and overhead heater for the overflow. People sometimes arrive EARLY (a BIG no-no by the way!) but Mike has instituted a rule that people will NOT start tasting the soups until the Chef has transformed into the Hostess and makes it downstairs.

So that’s a brief history of how this Soup Extravaganza came about! I’ll post information on menus and popular recipes. along with information on Mike’s and my weight loss journeys, and staying fit and young-looking as we careen into our 60’s and semi-retirement.

Come back for more information, from Soup…. to Nuts!!


5 thoughts on “From Soup to Nuts

  1. Lisa, I love your story! And I love soup. I can’t believe you serve that many people for dinner. A mere four people leaves me stumped. The one frustrating thing for me about living in LA and our short winter season is the inability to make more soup.

    And it seems we grew up not too far from each other. I lived in Edison until I moved to Atlanta my sophomore year of college.


  2. Thanks Katy! And thanks for the advice… too late to not publish, but I have plenty of soup material to share. After 20+ years of planning and executing this party I have lots of stories, a few “oops”s and many happy memories. I went to St. Pius X HS in Piscataway, and I had many classmates from Edison. But, um, I’d say that I’m quite a bit older than you! (Class of ’74.)


  3. Debbie, see how easy it is to get me to spill the beans? Ask and you shall receive! Let me know if you make the Lemon Bread and how it turns out! Lisa


  4. Lisa: I would love the Lemon Bread recipe as well, as Chris and Robert, our son-in-law, loves anything lemon.


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