Mixing the ingredients for a newsroom chemistry

Published 1:11 pm Sunday, February 28, 2016

I spent more than an hour chopping up onions, bell peppers, oregano and basil. I got to work early the next morning, mixed my ingredients in a crock pot and prayed that I wasn’t going to screw up our recent workplace tradition.

About 10 of us at the Herald have recently been participating in soup Tuesdays. In essence, we take turns making soups for lunch on Tuesdays.

When the time came for a few of us newsroom folks to take on soup duties, I’ll admit Jenae Hackensmith and I opted to double up — largely for fear one of us would bomb and ruin soup day, leaving our coworkers hungry and soupless.

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I’m a single guy in my 20s. I don’t spend much of my free time trying out cool soup recipes. It’s easier just to pick up takeout Chinese (thanks, China Star and Hy-Vee).

My prior soup cooking experiments have yielded woefully mixed results. As I told my co-workers leading up to my soup day, I once tried following an online recipe based on the chili from Cafe Latte, a St. Paul cafe/restaurant my family used to frequent.

I made it once and nailed it. But the fine folks at Cafe Latte needn’t worry, I butchered the recipe on two subsequent attempts and promptly threw in the towel.

So needless to say, I wasn’t looking for a repeat this time around. I opted for a slow cooker chicken parmesan soup (you can find the recipe at http://foxeslovelemons.com/slow-cooker-chicken-parmesan-soup/), and Jenae tackled a dill pickle soup.

Luckily, our soup day came with little drama, as our soups turned out, and we were able to enjoy some time with coworkers without much stress.

People and organizations talk a lot about workplace camaraderie and ways to bring your workplaces together. Often times, the simple things do it best, especially food.

Over the course of our soup days, we’ve gotten to banter, share stories and, of course, eat some tasty soup.

It’s an easy tradition to start. All you need is soup and willing coworkers.