Learn about Soup

SoupNightCome meet Maggie Stuckey, author of Soup Night.  She will be our speaker at our monthly lecture, Beers to Your Health at Fort George Brewery’s Lovell Showroom (Corner of 14th and Duane in Astoria) on Thursday October 9 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 7 p.m.)  Free cup of soup from a recipe in the book while supplies last.  Books will be for sale as well.

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The Magic of Soup
By Maggie Stuckey, Author of Soup Night

There was a time, not all that long ago, when people knew everyone on their block, when neighbors watched out for each other, helped each other, enjoyed getting together. Nowadays, people are more likely to hurry home from work, stay inside with eyes fixed on some type of screen, interacting with pixels rather than human beings. Many of them wish things were different, but aren’t sure how to break out of their isolation.

Here’s a simple solution: make a huge pot of soup, invite your neighbors over, and watch what happens.
I can tell you what will happen, because I have seen it myself in my home town (Portland).

Within a very short time, strangers become friends. Warm connections develop between people who are very different from one another on the usual measures of occupation, education, and political persuasion. Children, under the loving watchfulness of all the adults, are free to be kids. Meanwhile, their parents are free from the awful modern anxiety of having to watch them every single second. There is less crime. Seniors and people living alone feel more secure, knowing help is right at hand.

All because they get together for a simple supper of soup and bread once a month. They call it Soup Night, and it has become a huge part of their lives. No one wants to miss it.
Once I witnessed the magic of this particular Soup Night, I decided to look a bit farther. And quickly found neighborhood groups all over the country doing much the same thing: Organizing a soup get-together for the explicit purpose of creating community. In Boston, New York, Chicago, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Denver, Tucson, folks are making soup and inviting strangers to their home — with amazing results.

Soup is simple, unpretentious, warm, nourishing (in every sense of that word), and has a way of putting people at ease. It’s also easy to make, nutritious, inexpensive, infinitely expandable, and it tastes wonderful. There is nothing better for bringing people together.

Free Fall Food Classes

Astoria Co-op offers food education for the community

These monthly 30 minute class and store tours lead you through the aisles of Astoria Co-op Grocery to learn about the many options in organic, farm direct, bulk foods, sustainably-raised products, and more.  The classes are led by store managers, staff, board members, and other community wellness educators.  Taste food you haven’t tried before and learn about how it was produced, nutritional benefits, and cooking ideas including recipes.  This is a great way to increase knowledge about the food you eat, sample new products, and have fun!   Each class participant will receive a $5 off coupon to use at the Co-op.

Upcoming Classes Calendar:

October 24, 5-5:30 p.m. Shopper’s Guide to GMO’s with Co-op GM Matt Stanley

With genetically modified organism labeling on the Oregon ballot this election, there’s been a lot of talk about this controversial subject in the news.  This is a great opportunity for those wanting to learn more about GMO’s and food.  The class will include information about the different types of labels, how to know if the food you eat contains GMO’s and the highest risk foods.

November 22, 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Artisan Cheese with Brandon Massey (Co-op Cheesemonger)

The holidays are a great time to indulge in artisan cheese platters with friends and family.  This class will include information on local and regional artisan cheeses, cooking and cheese pairing ideas, plus a cheese tasting with the maker of Crooked Cow Cheese from Naselle, Washington.

Who: Open to everyone in the community (you do not need to be a Co-op owner)

Cost: $0

To register: call 503-325-0027 or email zetty@astoria.coop

Fall Farm to Fork Cooking Class

358Fall is in the air and Chef Marco Davis is coming up with a menu using the freshest local ingredients around.  How to cook using fall foods from local farms is the focus of our fall farm to fork cooking class in Astoria.  We’ve been teaming up with Columbia Memorial Hospital to produce a series of these classes, and this is the third.

Foods are harvested just before the class and the menu is designed based on what’s freshest and in season.  Chef Marco’s preliminary plans for the evening include a grilled carrot and radish appetizer, soup, root vegetable layered lasagna dish, as well as homemade gingerbread and sweet corn ice cream for dessert.  Anyone who’s had Marco’s cooking at the Columbian Café knows how great his food tastes, and this is an opportunity to learn from him as he prepares dinner before your eyes.

“Cooking local and seasonal can be simple, easy and tasty.  With patience, anyone can cook a meal that fills the belly and warms the heart.  Food should be shared and preparing meals together is the best way to learn and grow as a family and community,” Davis said.

Local produce will be incorporated into the dinner as well as locally-caught fish.  The Co-op will use its relationships with local farmers and ability to source directly from Bornstein Seafoods in Astoria to provide local and organic ingredients.  The farmers will be in attendance at the dinner and will talk about their farms, growing food, and how to source it.  The four course meal will also include wine pairings from regional wineries.

The class takes place at CMH’s Columbia Center Coho Room on Wednesday October 1 at 6 p.m.  To sign up, stop by the Co-op.  Do it soon, as space is limited.  If you wish to have a more hands-on experience, Chef Marco encourages you to come early to help in the kitchen.  Just let a cashier know you’d like to do this when you sign up.  The cost is $50 for individuals or $85 for two people.  Proceeds will go toward North Coast Food Web’s Fruit Box Project, which aims to get more fresh food into local schools.