Lots of little cups

Last weekend, my husband, Clif, and I went to our town’s Third Annual Chili/Chowder/Soup Throw Down. The Throw Down was a fund raiser for Keep Winthrop Warm, an organization that provides emergency oil, propane, and electricity to those in need. (So far this winter, 15 families have received aid.) The premise is simple—Winthrop businesses and individuals make chili, chowder, or soup, which is then served in little numbered cups. The admission fee is $5, which allows a person to sample chili, chowder, and soup to his or her heart’s content. Then, when the sampling is done, you pick your favorite from each category and vote.

The event was held at the high school cafeteria, and the place was packed. Not only were there cooks aplenty—spread out with their crockpots across three tables—but there were also plenty of eager eaters. The cafeteria had a good spicy smell, and it was filled with the happy sound of people eating and talking.

The crowd at the throw down

At the throw down, Clif and I met our friends Debbie and Dennis Maddi as well as Jim and Dawna, who brought their granddaughter Abigail. Our table was full of cardboard trays packed with little plastic cups of food. We all had different strategies. Jim just plowed through each cup, one by one, setting aside the ones he liked best. Dennis, making a quip about his OCD, ate his in numerical order. Clif and I, in our disorganized way, just sampled randomly, but we followed Jim’s example of setting aside the ones we liked best.

We were all impressed with the quality of the food, especially the chowders. For chowder, Clif and I really liked the one made by the Winthrop Ambulance Service. (Go figure!) It was a seafood chowder with a rich, deep taste, as though they had taken the time to simmer the lobster shells, just as Marjorie Standish instructs. Our favorite soup was Craig Hickman’s zesty seafood gumbo, chock full of shrimp, lobster, and other good things. (Not surprisingly, each won first place for chowder and soup, respectively.) I hate to admit it, but in all the hubbub, we lost track of who made which chili—there was a lot of chili to sample—but the winner was Burgess Builders.

By the end my tongue was tingling from the spices, and Clif and I vowed next year to share a tray with samples. Those little cups pack quite a punch, and neither Clif nor I could finish all that we had taken.

The throw down made $2,285, which with the price of fuel going ever upward, will be a big help to many families in Winthrop.

Linda Huff and Sarah Fuller from the Green Committee
Anne Trenholm from Wholesome Holmstead
Rosa Stratton and Kim Cognata of The Flaky Tart Cafe