A Summer Day at Project Hospitality’s Soup Kitchen — Cooking Chilled Hungarian Fruit Soup for 300
Soup fuels the body and feeds the soul. Uplifting and humble, it can be found on tables across the globe — going down smooth and warming to the core.
The term “Soup Kitchen” comes originally from the mobile trucks which handed out quick, one-bowl meals to soldiers during times of military conflict. Project Hospitality’s Soup Kitchen serves much more than soup alone, however. At our Community Service Center, hunger is vanquished with plates full of hearty, restaurant-style food, eaten with a fork, knife and spoon.
But soothing, nourishing soup is often part of the repast. The summertime heat last week did nothing to change the tradition. Soup Kitchen staff and a group of developmentally-disabled, longtime volunteers prepared a special soup for the summer season — chilled, elegant and bursting with sweetness.
Using some of the dozens of cases of frozen cherries and blueberries generously donated by Food Bank NYC, they prepared Hungarian Fruit Soup “Magyar Gyümölcsleves” for more than 300 hungry and homeless individuals and families.
“Every Hungarian lunch has two courses. Soup first and a main course,” said Trazy Collins, who before joining Project Hospitality as Food and Nutrition Program Director spent a year doing humanitarian work with Hungarian gypsies, also known as Romani People.
“When it’s hot, you don’t want hot soup,” she said, watching violet red and deep blue swirls of liquid simmer in five 20-quart stock pots. “I remember having this soup in Hungary, in people’s homes. It’s everywhere and every version is a little different.”
Nearby, a dozen volunteers from a local agency for developmentally disabled young adults helped out with the recipe. For over a year, the group has come twice a week to the food pantry, to learn cooking and life skills, and provide much needed service to our agency.
Alongside Project Hospitality staff, they added fresh lemon and cinnamon sticks into the berry broth, strained out the berries, whisked in sour cream, added the berries back in, and then the pots were set to cool overnight.
“This will be served in our soup kitchen,” said Trazy, noting the remaining donated, frozen berries would be distributed in the food pantry, among many other nutritious, seasonal choices. “Eating this soup makes it feel like summer.”