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In the Kitchen with... 'Souper' Soups
By Carol McGarvey
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'Souper' Soups
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Check out these recipes from our 'Souper' Soups winners:

Iowa Sweet Corn Cheesy Chowder


Tailgatin’ Chili

Chilled Iowa Cherry Soup

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Our contest at the Iowa State Fair always brings yummy results.

While we sometimes confine soup and other one-bowl meals to chilly-weather months, it’s really an all-year comfort food. Think about it. Yes, a steaming bowl of soup soothes our spirits and our souls during our nippy autumn and frigid winter.

But soup is also a special treat in its cooler form during spring and summer. Cold soups, often fruity, also bring comfort on hot and humid days.

Once again we had a front row seat at the annual Souper Soups contest at the Iowa State Fair, sponsored by the very magazine you are holding. And once again, we were amazed at the variety and the creativity. In a busy, take-out world, it was reaffirming to see the ingenuity and adventurous spirit of Iowa cooks.

Because it’s not a huge contest, our competition falls into the “apples and oranges” category—it’s not divided into separate classes. There might be a spicy chili pitted against a cold fruit soup. This year’s entries included several cheesy soups, always crowd-pleasers.

Plus, there were three ethnic soups that entrants wanted to be sure stayed in the mainstream and were passed down. Those were an Italian wedding soup, a Scandinavian cold cherry fruit soup, and a three-meat Polish cabbage soup.

Some of the soups had a short list of ingredients and were simple to prepare. Others required a long list of ingredients and many steps in the cooking process. In the end, of course, taste is the top priority.

Karen McKilligan of Ames, the new food superintendent of the fair, says one fair contest that grew this year is, interestingly enough, home canning. She believes that “it’s part of the Eat Fresh, Eat Local push. People want to know where their food comes from.” She was gratified to see a number of new exhibitors this year and is pleased that the most-ever listen-and-learn seminars and demonstrations—26 of them—shared information about food and food preparation at the Elwell Family Food Center during this year’s fair.

This Year’s Winner:

  • First Place: Iowa Sweet Corn Cheesy Chowder
    DeeDee Kennedy of Des Moines.
  • Second Place:Bigos (traditional Polish cabbage soup)
    Gosia Wheeler of West Des Moines.
  • Third Place: Tailgatin’ Chili
    Kyle Barton of West Des Moines
  • Honorable mention: Chilled Iowa Cherry Soup
    Susan Erickson of Slater

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