When I moved Chicago, before I’d even unpacked a box, Iheaded to the store with a recipe for this Jalapeno-Ginger Butternut SquashSoup. In a new city, without friends or family, I instinctively reached for theone thing that would ground me. When the garlic, ginger, and jalapeno hit thepan, I could only equate the sweet scent as home. Ibroke out the box cutters and began to settle in.

Now, in these uncertain times, I find myself reaching forthe stockpot more frequently. This weekend, a Curried Lentil Soup I whipped upnearly brought me to my knees. More than good, it felt like feeding my soul.After bringing a cup to the office yesterday, a curious coworker had to knowwhat loveliness was wafting from my cube. “Uh, it’s this new recipe I triedover the weekend,” I explained. “It was super cheap, easy, and made a ton.”That’s when inspiration struck, (or rather, another friend suggested a soupswap). As the weather chills, and budgets grow tighter, I can think of nothingbetter.

Grab a few friends and set a “swap schedule.” I’m stillworking out the kinks, but suspect I’ll be reaching for my well-splattered,slightly crinkled butternut recipe to get things under way.