Thursday, December 10, 2009

Soup, Bread, and Other Alternatives for Dealing with Huge Boiling Pots

So the cold weather has come just in time, because what do you do when you are headed out to a holiday party and you realize you have a hot pot of lamb stock that you've been simmering all day? Well, you stick it out on your fire escape, put a pizza pan on top of it, and a brick on top of that. It's like having an extra fridge (or freezer, in our case here in Chicago).

And the pot stayed out there for two nights, because after said Christmas party, I was in no shape to deal with bones and fat and even opening that back door once to carry in the frozen pot. So, on the second night, I checked to make sure no critters had found their way into it, and headed off to The Hideout for the Soup and Bread Cookbook release party. As I've described before, the book is a sweet little compilation of last year's Soup and Bread series put on by Martha Bayne over at The Hideout. Something like 52 soup recipes and 8 bread recipes, but more importantly, Martha took the time to write a bit about each recipe and each person who brought the soups. It's like a little diary of Soup and Bread, and it is quite heartfelt. Aside from yours truly loving it because yours truly is in it, and the fact that a large portion of the proceeds will go to the Greater Chicago Food Depository at an extremely vital time, the book is a significant document on the importance of food and community. It isn't glitzy, nor are there any celebrity chef endorsements. It's a super-local (is there any bar more local than The Hideout?) source of lore about and recipes for real food (what is more real than soup or bread?). It's a book of genuine people from all angles of life sharing food and recipes with each other in an effort to help more others yet. As put forth by Martha, Soup and Bread is "an 'everybody wins' type of project". And the cookbook is a beautifully designed, thoughtful extension of that.

So, this isn't so much a sales pitch (though if you want to buy one, check out this link for info. on how) as a call to all of you Food on the Dolers who might be interested in contributing next season, which starts in January. You can stay updated on the events and find contact information to volunteer your best soup and/or bread here. Let's help continue the growth of this important undercurrent of the food community.
And about that lamb stock. It's cooling in an actual refrigerator as we speak, after being strained, vegetables all mushy and bones completely clean, gelatin dissolved nicely. Once the fat solidifies on the top, I'll skim it off, and have a rich roasted lamb stock. Maybe you'll taste it at The Hideout sometime soon.