Monday, October 22, 2012

The Soup Swap........or, "Get Together"

My Bean Soups
My niece, Kimberly, (named after me.....) just hosted a SOUP SWAP.  I made 7 quarts of  Akron's Famous Bean Soup from Art's Place to take there, and I came away with 6 quarts of different types of soups, as did all the other guests.  Kimberly ended up with eleven different quarts of soups, because she had eleven guests. I'll bet you want to know how this works.

I have hosted a "Swap Meet" several times, and those of you who are familiar with a "Cookie Exchange" know exactly what I am talking about. My Swap Meet involved clothes, cosmetics, household items and other things that people brought home from the mall and didn't like, didn't use, or realized were mistakes purchased.  The Cookie Exchanges involved ten dozen cookies. (As I am not a baker, that was a humongous effort and a one-time shot for me....)

Soup's All Ready for Swapping!
For the benefit of those who haven't thought about this type of party, I will elaborate. I am planning to have a Soup Swap this winter, as the rewards are wonderful.

Let me explain HOW-TO HOST A SOUP SWAP, and you can figure out how to do the other types based on this.  I'll give some hints at the end about Swap Meets and Cookie Exchanges, but they basically work the same way.

In the Soup Swap, each guest goes away with 6 quarts of freshly-made soup and the hostess ends up with one quart from every guest, as I said before.

Here are the How-To's:

1. Pick a Date and send out invitations.  My niece put her invitation on Facebook.  I send out postcards  and emails.  Explain that the guests are to bring 7 quarts of soup in individual one-quart containers with screw-on lids to prevent spillage. They should also bring a cooler to put soup into to keep it cool until it is time to take it home. My niece has the guests email the recipe for the soup to her so she can create a cookbook for everyone to take home, which is really nice. She also tries to be sure there is only one of any type of soup, by knowing ahead of time what soups will be coming.

2. It is understood that the hostess will provide drinks and h'ors d'oevres for the event, and so as a hostess gift, she will receive one quart of soup from each guest as soon as she arrives.  The hostess puts this into her refrigerator and it is out of the exchange. She does not have to prepare soup for the party, as she has already worked hard enough for the swap meet.
Kimberly's  Efforts

3. When the guests arrive, they put their soups, labeled with the type of soup, on a table.  The exchange itself does not begin until all guests are present and all soups are there.

4. The hostess lets guests pick a number from a basket, and that is the order in which guests get to choose their soups.

Which to Take?
5.  Starting with number 1, the guests go, by themselves, to the table and take a quart of soup and place it into their cooler.  When number 1 is done, she needs to shout out, "Number Two!" so that there is a continual flow of picking.  If the guests are all seated together, there is no need to announce who goes next.

6. The "picking" continues until the table is empty and all the soup is gone and stashed into coolers.

7. The party, however, continues.

For a Swap Meet, I used a roll of tickets, which I bought at a craft store. (One roll has lasted through several events.)  Some guests come with a few items, and some come with many, and I give a ticket for each item. There are rules about what can be traded. Clothing must all be on hangers, and  must be in nice enough condition and still in fashion enough that people will want them.  In other words, NO JUNK.  Household items must be clean and usable. I  toss the stubs into a basket.  As the evening progresses, we pick the stubs out, call the numbers, and the guests get to select whatever they want from the amazing array of "stuff."  Everyone goes home with great exchanges, and anything that  left over goes to the Goodwill the next day.

Kim, Kimberly, and Alison
For a Cookie Exchange,  each guest brought ten dozen cookies to the party. Each dozen was packaged in a separate container or on a plate.  Depending on how many guests attend, you could either do the Soup Swap rules or only have ten guests, but everyone should go home with ten dozen cookies.  This type of part is a hit just before Christmas when the cookies don't all end up on one person's hips.