While many of us were reeling in the wake of Trump’s election, Liz Alpern decided to take action. “I realized,” she said, “when you don’t know what to do, do what you know how to do.” So Alpern, who recently co-wrote The Gefilte Manifesto, a cookbook filled with the revamped traditional Jewish recipes she serves through her company The Gefilteria, got cooking.
She created Queer Soup Night, a monthly fundraiser run out of Pel’s Pies in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Alpern, along with a core group of queer friends, cook soups using locally sourced ingredients and serves them to the queer community and its allies. The event is donation based and each QSN has a different beneficiary. So far, people keep coming back for seconds. QSN has raised more than $700 each night for organizations that protect the rights of Muslim Americans, queer immigrant detainees and trans women of color.
October 1st at 6:30pm will mark QSN’s fourth installment. This month’s beneficiary will be The Bronx Freedom Fund, a fund that provides bail for low income NYC residents so that they can return to their communities and jobs while awaiting trial.
Liz Alpern: I always dreamed of a night where I brought together my queer community and served them soup. Soup is the thing I make when I want to nourish someone. And wherever you look in the world, you’ll find soup. It is, historically, a peasant food because it can be made from all the odds and ends. It’s not precious and you don’t have to measure. That’s a part of why it is a great food to feed to community. Soup is essentially the symbol of resourcefulness and feeding a crowd.
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What is so important about the link between community and food?
Chefs love to say “food brings people together” but on this very elemental level, it does. People need to eat. People also have a natural and deep need to gather and spend real time together and when you come together over a meal, it lends a sacredness to the moment. With Queer Soup Night, we also want to have a party that is not a late-night, drunken dancing party – even though I love parties like that and will go to them until the day I die. We’ve created an environment where you can have conversations, meet new people and talk about what is going on in the world while still having fun. And food facilitates that slower, more intimate energy.