The Ottumwa Courier

March 27, 2013

Arts in a bowl

Et Cetera

former Courier editor

OTTUMWA — It wasn’t soup to nuts, but it was soup to cupcakes at the recent Soup for the Arts at the Indian Hills Diner.

What a clever idea: Indian Hills Community College’s culinary arts and art departments teamed up with Ottumwa’s Laureate Guild for a fundraiser that benefited the givers as well as the receivers.

For $20, diners could taste a variety of soups, as much as you wanted. And along with the soups were selections of breads, as well as water, milk or coffee. And, if you had any room left, a table of desserts awaited.

The best part, though, was selecting your own hand-crafted pottery bowl for your soup. That’s why many diners lined up early to check out the tables holding the bowls. It was a difficult choice, too, since every bowl was delightful.

After selecting your bowl, you visited different tables holding different soups from local restaurants and Bridge View Center.

What fun. At our table, each diner said how good his or her soup was, so then you’d gobble down your ladle of soup and go try another one. It was a great variety.

Mostly, we talked about what a clever idea the event was and how popular it proved to be. Not only did you get to take home your bowl, your ticket fee raised funds for college culinary arts scholarships and the good community work the Laureate Guild does. Most of us know about the guild for its annual spring plant sale. I, for one, would have purchased an indoor plant, too. (Just a thought.)

Also, I think they could have had a lot more bowls available for sale. They had plenty, and did sell a few extra, but they all were so pretty and unique, some of us might have purchased sets! All were made by IHCC art instructors and students, and many had the artist’s initials on the bowl or a card saying who made it. I was lucky to select a bowl with plant imprints on the bottom and found out it was made by Indian Hills artist Lisa Fritz. It is a good match for a few pottery items I had purchased years ago in the Branson, Mo., area.

Hopefully, the Soup for the Arts will be held again. I think it would be a good opportunity for the artists to have many pieces of pottery for sale. There is nothing like good food to put you in a buying mood!

The event sold out, I believe. They only planned for 200. As word spreads, I’m sure it could be a much larger event and even more soups to taste. But sometimes, you know, things get too big. This one was just right. You didn’t have to wait to try a soup because the soup stations were scattered throughout the room. And so were the bowls — on various tables. Diners were able to find what they wanted easily.

My advice for the next event is, hold on to your bowl. After enjoying the soups, my friend and I wanted to check out the remaining bowls. Returning to our table, our two bowls were gone. Another “friend” said, oh, my gosh, the waiter came and removed our trays with our bowls on them. I will say he said that with a lot of conviction. But, ha-ha, I knew he was kidding. So he produced our bowls he had hidden.

There was a lot of bowl swapping, though. You’d find one you liked then saw another one you liked better.

So, if you go next year, get there early and get the right bowl.

And hang on to it!

Judy Krieger is a retired Courier editor.