“Every noble thing in this world begins with bored bartenders in the dead of winter in Chicago,” Albert Schweitzer (or maybe it was Florence Henderson) once said, and never was the good doctor/Mrs. Brady more right than when it came to Soup & Bread. It was launched by ex-Reader editor Martha Bayne while tending bar at The Hideout in the winter of 2008-9, as she was looking for a way to up the conviviality and draw people out of their homes during the long months of crunchy gray ice in Chicago. The idea was as simple as the title— people would make soup, people would eat soup, grateful well-fed people would drop some money in the hat to go to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, a warm sense of community in the face of cold, cruel winter would result.
The soupmakers would ultimately range from chefs (Paul Kahan, Stephanie Izard, “Hot” Doug Sohn) to journalists (Mike Sula, David Hammond, and, ahem, ourselves) to all kinds of farmers, foodies, and other interesting folks. The donations would reach four figures. And the recipes, augmented by irresistible retro design by Sheila Sachs and illustrations by Paul Dolan, made an adorable cookbook which quickly sold out at various locations and events around town.
Now the cookbook is back in bigger, but every bit as adorable, form from Agate Publishing in Evanston. The official publication date is November, and there will be a kickoff party at The Hideout on November 2nd, but contributors received theirs last week and you can place a discounted order here.