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Soup plays supporting role at Potter's Bowl

February 07, 2007|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

The annual Potter's Bowl might be the only fundraising dinner in town where the star of the show is the dish and not the main course - the soup.

Still, the soup plays a strong supporting role, said event organizer Carol Mendelsohn.

And with cold winds and freezing temperatures, a nice bowl of the hearty warm stuff - such as homemade Pasta e Fagioli - will be welcomed.

The Potter's Bowl is a fundraiser for the Community Free Clinic in Hagerstown. During the event Sunday at Trinity Lutheran Church, diners can purchase bowls created by local artists at an auction. They will then eat homemade soup from those bowls.

Diners will be able to choose from at least five soups.

Tickets aren't available for the event, which usually sells out within the first two weeks they go on sale in early January, Mendelsohn said. Mendelsohn said last year's event raised roughly $15,000.

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Twenty-four potters are expected to attend this year.

"Part of the joy is looking at the collection of pottery and looking at what a simple bowl can be," Mendelsohn said.

Caterer Janet Broadwater, 54, of Hagerstown, will be among several people providing soup for the event. She debuted her Pasta e Fagioli during last year's Potter's Bowl.

"I knew it would work great for a crowd. I've already road-tested it," said Broadwater of the Italian pasta and bean soup.

Pasta e Fagioli is heavy on vegetables, with spinach, sweet red pepper, carrots, celery and tomatoes. For meat, Broadwater might add pancetta or prosciutto.

For flavor, she uses the rind of a Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wedge.

The soup takes about an hour to prepare and cook, though Broadwater said it's the kind of soup best prepared on a weekend and allowed to sit for at least a half-hour.

"Let the flavors marry, let them get their acts together," Broadwater said. "It really needs some time in the pot. Like lasagna, it's always the best the next day."

And like lasagna, Broadwater said the soup is very open to interpretation.

"It's a feel kind of soup," she said.

Sometimes, she'll omit the meat and use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. She also might drizzle in a bit of white truffle oil and add mushrooms.

Broadwater said she's been attending the Potter's Bowl for decades and is an avid collector of pottery, much of which she uses for functions through her catering business, Le Soleil Catering.

"It's function and art," Broadwater said. "It lends itself to ethnic cuisine beautifully."

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