The Senior Social recently ended its winter program.  Like shopping for “that” shoe that makes finding a pair that fits comfortably, (as Uncle Judd would say… a “Heehaw” moment),  the positive impact on social life making friends  sharing your zest for mild {and I say that mildly} competition, makes this a favorite kind of gathering for the winter.

Here I thought it was a soup party. Engaging with interesting people,  informally  mingling and having  engaging conversation, groups practicing their skills at cribbage, scrabble or puzzles which also gave me a chance to flex my soup muscles and try a few new recipes.  While one of the main draws is the soup, to have a variety to choose from like hearty, creamy or pureed, or flavor profiles like hearty chili, minestrone, sausage tortellini or something simply delicious and all American like chicken noodle, the gathering and talking is about more than the soup…

In February, Party Extra-Ordinaire Hostess, Mary Hembrow, created a cupid-like land.  Tables adorned with red and white, Valentine’s Candy, and special desserts and a guest piano player to bring melancholy and song along with printed songs.  Each taking a week, a volunteer plays host and the volunteers in the kitchen have golden halos on their heads and float in and out of the kitchen making sure every thing is smooth running each week, serving up the Chef inspired soup choice of the week.  In March, leprechauns danced on the tables in green to celebrate the St. Patrick’s holiday, and as it seems to be Mary’s week to volunteer is a holiday again, In true party form, again following with the holiday, there was also a green themed soup, a delicious Green Bean Chowder, made famous by Carmen Glidden back in the days of the Oquossoc House Restaurant  from the “Treasure Box of Recipes”. Being part of the community that helps make life more fun and breaks up the monotony,  special Thanks must goes to the Rangeley Wellness Center, the volunteers, the guest who faithfully make an appearance on Thursdays.  It is sad that it ends  so soon.  Next year’s Senior Social is bound to be great as usual, with the addition of new volunteers and the redemption of games lost and won, who would not want to participate.

The last gathering brought tears and hugs.  I made a special soup to treat our socialites.  This recipe comes from a combination of sources from 1965 that I’ve worked on for a while and with the help of my “under-scrappy-chef”, I must say it did not lack on reviews.   Of course,  I had to triple the recipe for the social, but here’s a version you can try at home.   Happy Souping!

Scrappy Chef Lobster Chowder     Serves 6,         Surprisingly not too long for prep.

Ingredients:  10 oz. Claw and body Lobster Meat, 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, 1/2 cup Flour, 2 cups diced Potatoes, 1 cup diced Celery, 1 cup diced Onion, 1 cup diced Carrots, 1 tblsp Garlic, 1 cup to 1  1/2 C.  of creamed Corn, 2 cups Veg. or Seafood stock, or Chicken stock, 2 cups whole Milk, 1 tsp. Thyme, 1 tsp. Tarragon, 1/4 cup Chardonnay, 3 cups of Clam juice.

Soak lobster in milk while preparing soup.  Melt butter, add celery, carrots, onions, sauté for 6-8 minutes. Add flour and stir together, simmer, whisk in stock and stir well until low boil, add creamed corn, and  potatoes, simmer for 15-20 minutes (check potatoes doneness).  In meantime, remove lobster from the milk, set aside. Slowly add milk to mixture, simmering slowly, stirring well.  Add  Thyme, Tarragon,  let flavors blend slowly, adding S&P to taste, Slowly finish with the lobster meat, simmer 10-15 minutes stirring  gently, Serve.

Of course comments are graciously accepted as well as questions or ideas for our column at  [email protected]/   ~There is nothing like soup.  It is by nature eccentric: no two are ever alike,  unless of course you get your soup in a can.~  ~Laurie Colwin~