Faculty members share soup at weekly club meetings


Soup Club members share soup at a weekly meeting. The meeting took place on Dec. 1 during lunch.

Lilia Qian and Aumena Choudhry

Stories and laughter shared over a pot of soup is a sight more likely seen at a Thanksgiving dinner table than during a forty minute school lunch period, but members of the Soup Club are able to enjoy the experience every Friday at Soup Club meetings. Soup Club is composed of about a dozen faculty members who hold weekly lunchtime meetings to share soup.

Soup Club is open to all faculty members, and anyone can sign up to cook soup for the week. Each week, the soup chef for the day keeps their soup in a crockpot for the rest of the club members. The club was established in 2010, when former principal Dr. Evan Glazer proposed the idea. Soup Club provides faculty members an opportunity to socialize as well as to meet people they would not otherwise interact with at school, and many teachers recall participating in the club in their first years at TJ.

“It probably started before I even started working at TJ. It was an idea that faculty could get together for lunch and we could get people to come from different teaching disciplines and enjoy each other’s cooking,” English teacher Lona Klein said. “I was new, and as a new faculty member, I thought this was a great opportunity for me to get to know people outside of just the English department. I’ve been doing it for several years now.”

Geosystems teacher Dr. Shawn Stickler also recalls his first time meeting Soup Club. “I’d heard about it and I kind of wandered down there one day and they said ‘well join us’ and I said ‘‘but I haven’t made [soup]’ and they said ‘just put your name on [the list]’, so I did. I missed some but then I joined. I said ‘well this is great’ so I talked to the other guys, and as a group up here we started eating. But really, I was just down there when it was happening and they said ‘come on in’, and that’s how we recruit people- we see somebody and say ‘go to soup club’. It’s kind of like ‘hey, let’s go to the football game’.”

For many members, the club provides them with something to look forward to each week.

“Every Friday is a celebration. Unless it’s your day to cook. Then you’re stressed. Because there’s good soup, so you’re worried about ‘is my soup going to be good enough?’, Stickler said. “We get great soup and we like to eat. It’s great company. It’s fun.”

Soup club has also allowed many teachers to get to know each other better, allowing for teachers to engage in conversations not necessarily relating to work. For example, casual conversations about interests and weekend activities. It has also created opportunities for collaboration in creating soups to share.

“Usually, the soup’s amazing. If you don’t have time to make it yourself, you can get a partner to help you out. Maybe the partner brings bread and salad and the other person brings soup. Last year, Ms. Hurowitz volunteered, just to be nice, to make my soup, and so she made this incredible, delicious soup. We came together for English and History so it was just a nice teammate thing to do,” Klein said. “Food is just kind of one of those things that bring people together.”

Over the years, Soup Club members have shared quite a variety of soups, from gumbo and goulash to chili to Vietnamese pho noodles.

“The really fun thing for me is getting to try soup that I might not necessarily make at home. For example, Mr.Stickler often puts peaches in his soup,” Klein said. “I have never really liked oysters before, but I really liked his oyster soup.”

Soup club has been and continues to be a tasty tradition helping to bring members of the school community together.

“You know, we teachers are really just like you guys- just older, less hair, so we enjoy socializing just like you. Soup club is a way that we can be together and socialize,” Stickler said.