Soup for the Soul: 2013 Social Soup Experiment
Each year we host the Social Soup Experiment. This year, on October 19, the experiment brought a new wave of community members to eat heaping bowls of hearty bean and farro soup and join in conversation with their fellow diners.
Social Soup Experiment is reduced to the essentials: wholesome food, good company, and a long table in an ambience that inspires – the High Line. A combination of many elements builds up to this day. It all starts with sourcing our ingredients, gathered by phenomenal guest chef Mona Talbott.
We purchased lacinato kale, onions, carrots, and herbs from Union Square Greenmarket. Cayuga Pure Organics provided us with beautiful pinto, black, red kidney, and cannellini beans as well as farro, an ancient grain with a nutty profile and chewy taste. Farro is also just plain delicious.
Bklyn Larder provided us with grocery staples, including olive oil – enough for more than 200 attendees. Our other friends in Brooklyn, Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, provided us with gorgeous, freshly harvested sage. Apples came from Montgomery Place Orchards, Hudson Valley.
The soup was a hit. Italians from the motherland gave it the seal of approval. New Yorkers also asked for seconds. One little boy helped himself to five bowls of soup.
Social Soup Experiment wouldn’t be complete without the social aspect to which its name refers. Indeed, the very act of sharing a communal bowl of soup, out of which attendees serve themselves, invites spontaneous interaction. But we wanted to experiment a little further.
In place of traditional nametags, attendees donned tags that read, “Soup reminds me of…”, “Autumn is not complete without…”, and “If I were a soup, I’d be…” Young children and adults both found amusement in deciding how to complete each phrase.
Social Soup Experiment strips away the superfluous aspects of dining down to what matters. Attendees feel the soul of the location in which they eat, taste the sincerity of how the soup is prepared, and walk away with a feeling of satisfaction that comes from the elegant simplicity of enjoying a nourishing meal with equally wholesome company.