Here at Storey, we’re busy with preparations for tonight’s Soup Night! The rain is coming down outside and it feels like a perfect time for gathering under the same roof and sharing a meal with colleagues, authors, community members, neighbors, and friends. While we set up the centerpieces, enjoy these excerpted tips for successful Soup Night planning and execution from the hosts who know best.
Centerpieces for a Storey soup night in the works
If you are excited about the idea of Soup Night and would
like to see one on your block, you will find plenty of help from the hosts
whose stories are described in this book. Several of them took the extra step
of outlining some of the things they have learned over the years about how to
orchestrate Soup Night and keep it going. I have grouped them together here,
along with my sincere thanks for their generosity. I have supplemented their
accumulated wisdom with the following step-by-step outline of what it takes to
start a Soup Night in your neighborhood.
Recruit one other
as a partner. If you don’t already know all your neighbors, ask
someone who knows the people you don’t to be your partner in this adventure.
Pick a date one or
two weeks away
to host your first neighborhood Soup Night. Weekends are
generally the best.
Write a short letter,
explaining the idea and giving the specifics of the first Soup Night, to be
held at your house. List your address and phone number, along with the date and
time in big letters. Make enough copies for all the houses on the block.
Go door to door with
your partner, introducing yourself if need be and explaining your idea. Leave a
copy of the letter.
Note the addresses
where no one is home
, and make a second effort. If they’re still not home,
leave your letter with a handwritten P.S. asking if they would please call you.
Prepare a colorful
reminder invitation
two or three days before the event and distribute it to
everyone. Add a handwritten line for those you have not yet heard from, saying
you hope they will come.
Barbara Rice,
Chantilly, Virginia
  • Invite everyone. That’s really the whole point — so that
    people get to know each other.
  • Do as much in advance as possible. Many soups can be made
    ahead, either completely or partially. Garnishes can be prepped ahead too. You
    don’t want hours of last-minute work, or how else would you survive to do the
    next Soup Night?

Among tonight’s attendees: authors of these Storey titles.
Grace Martin, Aurora,
  • We distributed creative invitations for a number of years,
    but a neighborhood directory which includes e-mail addresses has moved the
    invitations to the electronic level of communication and makes it a lot less
    expensive and a lot less work.
  • We live in a small historic district with defined
    boundaries. Having a clearly defined area also makes our Soup Nights successful
    as we have an identity as neighbors. Identifying and defining a geographical
    area is important even if there isn’t a ready-made target area.
  • I keep a file for soup ideas to get me launched, but of
    course, adapt according to what I have on hand or what’s for sale. It’s good to
    give yourself permission to be flexible.

Text excerpted from Soup Night © 2013 by Maggie Stuckey. All rights reserved.

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