February 8, 2014 at 1:00 am

Maureen Tisdale

Let's Talk Food (& maybe win a cookbook): 'Soup Night,' and what soups do you enjoy making?

The book offers recipes and touts using soup as a community-building tool. (The Detroit News)

I’m so over this cold weather thing.

Granted, I grew up in Maine til I was 11, but I moved to Florida and stayed there until I moved up here a few years back to work for The Detroit News. (Did I ever mention the police officer who had to stop digging me out of a snowdrift my first week or so up here to catch his breath after laughing crazy hard when he saw my Florida plates? I remember wondering, “What have I done?”)

At least there’s soup to keep me warm. When my friend Amy was here last weekend for our gab-and-eat weekend, we indulged in the old-school soup bar at a local coney island, and about daily I have to fight the urge to swing by Westborn for some soup from there, a favorite I’ve written about before. My husband and I comforted ourselves over an expensive car repair recently with a late-afternoon stop there, and man, I could have climbed right into that lobster bisque I love.

P.S. I’ve made yummy soup before, but lately I’m on a losing streak, bombing at my last two efforts — a split pea I left simmering a few hours, hopeful of coming home to a dreamy creamy soup only to find it had turned to sludge, and a very easy version using frozen peas that came out too thin and oniony. I envied Kate the turn-out of her rich, creamy Peanut Soup a few weeks back.

So the cookbook “Soup Night” by Maggie Stuckey (subhead: “Recipes for Creating Community Around a Pot of Soup”) caught my eye, and I thought what the heck, maybe I’m not the only one who could use some help in the soup department. Time for a giveaway!

I LOVE the idea of this book; Stuckey writes that soup nights, where a host provides a few types of soup for neighbors and/or friends to come share in (bringing sides like salad and bread to share), are becoming popular.

To help celebrate the concept and encourage other soup nights to flourish, the book offers soup recipes, stories connected to them, variations on them, notes on whether they can be made ahead of time and how to adjust the recipes for large crowds, how to make some of them vegetarian (some are by nature), plus other tips.

If you’re a soup-lover, this might just be your dream book.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking of pitching a soup night for the next life group at church, especially if we can have (and share in making) a variety of options. I’m not much of a brothy soup lover; I’ve always considered them chunky drinks. Give me the creamy bisques (ooooh, I should make my tomato bisque sometime soon) and thick chowders or lemon-rices, and you can have the chicken noodle and most Asian soups. Deal? (But seriously — I’d be interested to hear what others love for soups, and why; for example, if you eat with your eyes first, as many who call themselves true foodies insist is a must, you might love the Roasted Beet Soup with Fennel and Orange recipe we ran recently.)

If you’re interested in “Soup Night,” send an email to Eats&Drinks@detroitnews.com with “Cookbook/Soup Night” in the subject line. Include your name and mailing address in the body. Enter only once by midnight Feb. 16. A winner will be chosen at random from among entries. (If it’s Feb. 17, 2014, or later when you read this, the cookbook will have been given away — but feel free to add your comments.)

Good luck!

We’d love to hear about what kind of soup you like to make, and why. You need a Facebook account to add comments, but they’re easy to sign up for, and free. Detroit News Food Editor Maureen Tisdale will respond to comments or questions in the next few days. You also can follow her on Twitter @reentiz. Join the discussion!