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Features: Edinburgh Soup

ByEleanor Parker

Dec 8, 2015

Soup is a magical food, which warms you to the very core on the coldest of Wintery days and fills you right up all at the same time. There are so many wonderful flavour combinations – throw a handful of vegetables together into a blender, add some stock and additional seasonings of choice and you’ve made yourself the most nutritious lunch/ dinner/ midnight-snack imaginable. Yes, you can buy it in a tin and it does taste pretty good, but there’s nothing like Mum’s homemade soup straight from the pan.

Thus, imagine my joy, ladies and gentlemen, when my flatmate handed me a steaming bowl of her homemade soup last month and sat down to tell me all about a new charity initiative known as ‘Edinburgh Soup’. Inspired by the Detroit Soup initiative in America, this is a new charity event happening in Edinburgh at the Assembly Roxy just off Nicholson Street and last week I was lucky enough to go to the second ever. The idea is simple. In return for a minimum £5 donation, you get a bowl of soup, you watch three live music acts, you hear four charity pitches, you vote for your favourite and the winner receives all the money raised over the evening.

We each paid our £5 and headed inside into a haven of good soup smells and the happy warm ambience of the Assembly Roxy. Our first priority, I admit, was the soup. It is generously donated by Union of Genius – who are usually found selling soup for the university cohort on George Square – and you had a choice between Golden Beetroot or Autumn Vegetable. The accompanying bread is equally kindly donated by The Wee Boulangerie on Clerk Street and both were absolutely delicious. We’d commandeered the large red sofa and surrounding chairs on the front row and were very cosy eating our soup and chatting whilst the venue filled up.

The evening was artfully conducted by host Emily, who provided an overview of the evening’s events as well as encouraging us to all hash tag ‘#edinburghsoup’ all over social media (she was very hip with her use of the word hashtag.) Their photographer was unfortunately ill and so it was vital that the audience fulfil the role of advertising the event instead. We joined in of course, adding various selfies to Facebook and Twitter.
The evening got off to a great start with a wonderful musical performances from the talented Al Shields, a self-professed Acoustic Americana musician. Then followed singer-songwriter Caroline Gilmour, who entertained us with her own beautiful songs as well as a cover of Bronski Beat’s Smalltown Boy.

After that it was time for the charity pitches– the intrinsic part of the evening. The charities were, as host Emily pointed out, the metaphorical vegetables in our soup – the audience being the stock and her the ladle – binding us all together. There were four local charities in total with one representative from each giving us a five minute pitch on why we should vote for them. No PowerPoints, no videos, just words. They were all equally deserving of the prize and so it was a hard choice for us as the audience to make. Whilst the votes were being counted, we were treated to the last performance of the evening from Matt Norris and The Moon. They gave an energetic performance of their acoustic folk-rock, before the winner and receiver of an impressive £1020 was announced. It was the inspiring Grassmarket Charity, which helps Edinburgh’s homeless reinstate themselves within their communities!

It was a perfect evening of laugher, music, friends and generosity. At the next event, hopefully being held in February 2016 (but keep an eye out of their Facebook and Twitter pages for more details) there will be three more music acts and four more deserving local charities. But first let me ask, do you like soup?

Image Credit: Quoi Media Group: Flickr

By Eleanor Parker

Ellie is a fourth year History undergraduate and former Lifestyle editor.

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