We originally shared this handy information years ago, before dropping food on a friend’s doorstop was quite as common as in recent months. The concept, while always lovely, definitely merits another look lately for when you want to share a little more with your dear ones than social distancing permits. Here’s what we had to say back then: Two words—Soup Club. Depending on whether you’re the nurturing type or the lazing about type, these words may come to mean something vastly different to you. For the former, imagine having a designated night once every few weeks in which others are obligated to let you lavish your cooking on them. For the latter, imagine tucking into a pot of hot goodness one night each week for which you had to nary lift a finger. Intrigued? Read on to learn how four friends became one another’s weeknight supper salvation in this excerpt from The Soup Club Cookbook.—David Leite

Soup Club Manifesto
We declare that soup shall be shared.
Why soup? Soup scales up and travels well.
Soup is economical, basic, and nondenominational.
Soup club is a state of being, not a monthly meeting.
We are not limited to special occasion soup
For holidays, births, moving, or grief.
The magical delivery of soup to your door
Is elemental to soup club.
Salt your soup. Embrace crushed red pepper.
A black belt is a white belt who never quit. Make your soup.
Never apologize for your soup.
Make soup with abandon.
Remember, it’s just soup.
You will need a bigger pot.

Caroline, Courtney, Julie & Tina

We are four friends who cook. And we are Soup Club.

The Soup Club Cookbook
Want it? Click it.

It began as a conversation. We missed each other but couldn’t always eat together. So we started a club. What we do is simple: We take turns cooking big pots of soup, enough to feed our four families. We drop off the soup, along with sides and garnishes, at the homes of our three other club members. This happens once a week, which means that we each cook our big pot of soup once a month. The other three weeks, we are treated to one another’s home cooking.

If you are already in the habit of cooking in quantity, expressly to share food with your friends and family, then the idea of doing so on a regular schedule will resonate. If you’re used to cooking on a smaller scale, you might enjoy the wider net you can cast with food, when you know it will be enjoyed in other homes. Giving soup is as satisfying as receiving soup. It’s a virtuous cycle. Soup Club makes everyone happy.

A white bowl filled with broth, avocado slices, lime wedges, cheese, and tortillas strips
: Jennifer McGruther

This is a guide for starting your own Soup Club—the logistics (there are just a few), the essential tools (ditto), and stories (to caution and inspire).

Who is in soup club?

Anyone who likes soup and wants to play by the rules of Soup Club. We are an educator, an ecologist, a filmmaker, a nutritionist, a yogi, a traveler, a feminist, a mother, a runner, a Dane, a Jew, a Yankee, a Christian, a vegetarian, a gardener, and a coffee drinker. Although there are no hard and fast rules for how many people can be in Soup Club, four members is a good start. Everyone’s turn comes once a month, not too often or too infrequently. The barrier to entry is low.

More important than knife skills is a commitment to cooking at home on schedule and sharing the results. That means that your best friend—a wonderful cook—who has a job that takes her out of town for days at a time without notice might not be a great choice for Soup Club (but you can still share soup with her, because you’re a food-sharing kind of person). On the other hand, do start a Soup Club with that intriguing co-worker whose homemade lunch always looks lovingly prepared, or your neighbor who waters your plants when you’re away…and ask them to invite a couple of people they’d like to share food with, too.

A yellow Dutch oven filled with white bean and chicken chili, topped with pieces of bacon.
: Matt Armendariz

When does soup happen?

Once a week. Establish your Soup Day and a time of day when the soup will be delivered so that you know which meal is covered. Wednesday by dinnertime works for us. You will start to plan around it, whether it’s turning Soup Night into your family dinner or inviting friends over for a homemade meal (even if it wasn’t cooked in your home).

How much soup?

One quart per adult is the basic rule of thumb. Depending on each member’s household, this works out to four to eight quarts of soup each week, which even a small kitchen can handle. Most of these soups stand alone as a meal, and whether you live with other soup-eating mammals or not, you know you’ll have some leftovers.

When cooking in this quantity, everything takes longer: chopping, sautéing, boiling, cooling soup for delivery. Also, you use more salt than you might think, and way more fridge space. Everything ultimately gets divided into four portions, including garnishes and sides. Bulking up a soup is possible, so add that leftover carrot, stray potato, or half onion, and taste as you go. As caretakers of orphaned produce, we are inclusive. Soup is forgiving.

Plastic container or North African chicken soup with shredded chicken, ras el hanout, couscous, and preserved lemon
: Martin Poole

Where does the soup get delivered?

Here’s a key principle: THE COOK DELIVERS THE SOUP. Yes, once a month, the cook is doing ALL the work. Otherwise, everyone will get bogged down in a swamp of coordinating, and no one will be able to pick up soup at the same time. We have always left soup hanging on each other’s doors. If your Soup Club shares a geographic point of convergence—work, house of worship, the gym, school—all the better. Send word to your fellow Soup Club members to let them know what is awaiting them and how to eat it; texting was made for Soup Club notifications. And to keep this well-oiled machine running, Soup Club recipients will drop off their CLEAN soup jars for next week’s cook, usually no later than the day before Soup Day. “Never return an empty jar,” is a long-held principle in food-sharing communities, but in this case returning an empty jar breaks no social codes.

What not to do

Images of four soup recipes -- Moroccan lentil soup, turkey meatball soup, ancho chile soup, and brodo di pollo.

Giving up is not an option. Your soup week will sometimes fall at the most inconvenient moment in your busy life. Just know that everyone’s soup week will occur at an equally busy time for them. Get cooking.

About Soup Club

The Soup Club began when Courtney Allison, Tina Carr, Caroline Laskow, and Julie Peacock (who, between them, have four husbands, 10 hungry kids, and several jobs) realized that they didn’t actually have to cook at home every night to take pleasure in a home-cooked meal. They simply had to join forces and share meals, even if they weren’t actually eating them together. This idea developed into The Soup Club, followed by a book by the same name, The Soup Club Cookbook. The ladies are neighbors in New York City.

Hungry For More?

How to Store Holiday Cookies and Candies

Savvy tricks that ensure your Christmas creations look and taste as stunning as they did the moment you finished slaving over them even weeks after the fact. Let the holiday spirit linger!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    1. Julie, if you do a 5 week rotation, it should work well. Each person takes one week, making soup for all 5 households, and then the following week it’s the next person’s turn, and so on. With a vegetarian in your group, you’ll want to make sure everyone makes a batch of soup that is vegetarian, or that leaves any meat out, and if it requires broth, be sure to use vegetable broth or water.