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Sunday Soup with Phil, Feb. 6, 2021

Updated: Feb 20, 2021

Welcome to my blog and my musings. I am going to think of this blog as though you are a new friend or neighbor that I have invited into my home for a bowl of soup on a Sunday afternoon. We will have a conversation, where I do most of the talking, however, I do invite your responses, comments, and questions.

Besides preparing and reviewing the soup recipes in our, soon to be published, cookbook, we will discuss in future postings:

  • What Benton County Empty Bowls is all about and its mission and goals.

  • Ways that you might help, by donating your precious time if not dollars.

  • Ways that we might help those that are battling food insecurity and hunger.

So, come on in and have a seat. Enjoy the aroma of the soup that I am brewing, while we get to know each other. If you want to know more about me, personally, then read About Phil.

Last week, I received a recipe for our cookbook. The recipe is named “Jalapeno Popper Soup” and was submitted by Tiffany Ann Rea. As I was entering the recipe into cookbook and reading the ingredients, the words bacon, jalapeno and cheese jumped out at me. Now I am a spicy heat type of guy and said, “I have to make this soup”. So last Sunday, I made the soup and took it over to my son’s house, for us to sample. Now, as I said, I like spicy and perhaps you should not try what I think is really hot. Well, I made this soup exactly as the recipe instructed. I diced up 4 large jalapeno’s and left in all of the seeds. (Always follow the recipe the first time, improvise and adjust future times).

After tasting the soup for the first time, I will say that the first couple of bites got your attention. However, it soon smoothed out and was quite enjoyable. When I asked my son and daughter-in-law how they liked it, they both nodded their approval. My son added the words “more bacon”. You can never have too much bacon, right?

In conclusion about this recipe, I will say that it definitely is in the running for a future Recipe of the Month. Order one of our cookbooks to assure yourself of getting the recipe. Click on the Cookbook tab at the top of the homepage to find out how you can save $5 by ordering the cookbook in advance. An e-book is included in the price of our cookbook.

Today, the recipe from the cookbook that I will be preparing, is “Beef Burgundy Stew” that was contributed by Dione Doty with the Village Art Club. I will prepare it as written and review it next Sunday. I am not a food critic; I figure that critics do nothing but criticize. Whereas I have always believed that one person’s dislike is another person’s true enjoyment. Plenty of room for all of us.

Future recipes that I prepare on Sundays will be determined by random drawing out of a cookpot that has recipes contributed to the cookbook. None of these will have been submitted by my family or myself. These will all be soups that I have never prepared nor tasted before. As I suggested, I will be following the ingredients and directions as written for the first preparation of the soup.

See y’all next Sunday, until then, do not be afraid to try something new and different. Enjoy life!

Our website is constantly changing and evolving. So, come back periodically and check us out. If you want to learn more about how we started the website out of necessity, then read Website Beginnings.

About Phil:

I am a 76 years old, semi-retired CPA (I sold my tax practice in 2010, but still do review work for them). More than 50 years in practice. I have had clients that are living on a very tight budget all the way up to multi-millionaires, from people with regular jobs, all the way up to a sitting President of the USA. I am twice divorced, with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I am a transplant from Western Michigan that moved to NW Arkansas in October of 2018. I have many hobbies, among which are cooking and bonsai plants.

The bonsai hobby ultimately led me to Empty Bowls. The way that happened was this, nice bonsai pots are not inexpensive, and I truthfully cannot afford them. The next best thing is to make my own, so in May of 2019, I signed up for some pottery classes to learn how. One thing led to another and in August of 2019, David Johnson asked me if I would join him and some others to form an Empty Bowls organization. He explained how we would make handcrafted ceramic bowls and sell them to raise money which we would then, in turn, pass on to other organizations to help those with food insecurity and hunger issues. I told him to count me in, and again one thing led to the other and I became one of the organizer’s, director’s, and treasurer of Benton County Empty Bowls.

Website Beginnings:

In 2019 we were able to sell our bowls at the October Bella Vista Art festival, our Soup Event held in November at St. Theodor’s Episcopal Church and also a display at the Wishing Spring Art Gallery in Bella Vista, Arkansas.

Our Benton County Empty Bowls Soup Event is where your entry fee gets you a handcrafted ceramic bowl of your choice and a bowl of one of the delicious soups prepared by volunteers and local restaurants, while enjoying some music by the Bella Vista Strings Band. We exceeded our expectations and were able to “pass on” $10,050 to the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank.

At the beginning of 2020, we were making plans to add events and exceed our 2019 results. Then, as y’all know, the dreaded Covid-19 hit us. And we were forced into cancelling our planned events. Well, necessity breeds creativity, so we decided to create a website to sell our soup bowls. On October 5, 2020, we launched the website to sell bowls, locally at first, people could purchase a bowl online and pick it up at the Clay Studio where we kept our inventory. In November, because of interest outside of our area, we started shipping to anywhere in the USA. Again, our results have exceeded our expectations. With some help from monetary donations by friends, strangers, and a grant from the KeHE Cares Foundation, we were able to cover our material costs and expenses and pass on 100% of our bowl sales of $10,150 to help provide meals for the food insecure.

Our website is ever evolving, and we expect 2021 to be a good recovery year in our battle to help those in need.

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