It’s all about the O. That’s right folks, I’m talking Souper Bowl.
February 7, 2010
Seth and I walked into Haley House around 3:30. The café was filled with a dim, welcoming light, each table adorned with a promising basket of Iggy’s fresh bread. Darry, a founding member of the Boston Localvores, was taking pictures of soups with their chefs. I had come to help set up, but was a little too late. Real Pickles pickled beets were already out, Goat Rising cheese already cubed and sitting in the corner of the wheel it once completed. The smell of brine filled my nose as my craving for chevre grew. I had to move away from the table. I was waiting to eat until the event started. The doors of the Haley House would open at 4 for the second annual Souper Bowl. There is no catch, just 15 dollars for all you can eat delicious homemade soups, local cheese, bread, pickles, beer and more. BYOB. Cambridge Brewing Company provided the beer, we brought bowls.
We started with the shrimp and celeriac soup. It was sweet and herby and almost like a stew. The tiny shrimp offered a little salt and chew as the celeriac practically dissolved. This one was my favorite. Shrimp and celeriac was followed by the epic and traditional Maztoh ball with cabbage and carrots and onions. Then I filled my bowl with the quite spicy pumpkin and squash purée. It was sweet on first contact and kicked right before the swallow. Next I dabbled in the Baer’s Best Beans vegan soup while Seth tried the “Ramen”, the first soup to run out. Then I had to take a break. It is sure hard to stop eating when the room is filled with friendly chatting people and delicious local food.
I went up for the dessert soup. Apple cider and sweet potato topped with candied apple skin and homemade crème fraîche. Jess came over to our table and we complimented her original and tasty creation. She explained how to make crème fraîche and where she got the ingredients to make hers. We slurped it up.
The event was put on by Boston Localvores, an awesome group of people I discovered on the internet just in time to buy 2 tickets. When I got there I asked Kristi, another founder, “So how did you choose the soups for the event? Did you do taste testing?” “No,” she said, “we just trusted in our friends.”
I emailed Boston Localvores with some questions:
Me: How/why did Boston Localvores begin?
BL: To help support and promote a sustainable food network for the Greater Boston area. And to demonstrate how very possible it is to eat locally, even in New England, year round.
BL: Mostly overeducated white people from privileged backgrounds. Seriously. The local foods movement is far too much the domain of this demographic. But Darry and I come from undereducated working class families and we’re very committed to breaking down those barriers. One way is by making our events cheap or free (the souperbowl is one of the more expensive ones). And by partnering with the Haley House, which is not in Cambridge or JP.
BL: We’re not exactly sure. Through events, through friends. Our Facebook page is pretty active. Word of mouth mostly.
BL: We’ve made some very close friends — the folks who participated in the SouperBowl — by just meeting people at our own events. We’re consistently surprised by the number of new people who turn out for stuff, though there are certainly some regular, familiar faces.
BL: Stole it. From the Mad River Valley (Vt) Localvores.
BL: They were all our favorites.
BL: Very positive. The people we interact with the most are in their 20s and 30s. A lot of them in college or just out of it — these are people who are forming the buying habits they will have for the rest of our lives. Which gives us some hope that this is not just a fashionable thing to participate in, but a quality of life choice that will persist beyond a fad stage.