Our Laguna: Kinsmans host the last Soup

September 20, 2012|By Barbara Diamond
  • Katrina Dicterow, Cheryl Kinsman and Sande St. John pose for a photo at the Kinsman’s Friday night soup gathering.
Katrina Dicterow, Cheryl Kinsman and Sande St. John pose… (Coastline Pilot )

The final bowl of Soup at the home of Cheryl and Michael Kinsman was served Sept. 14.

Soup was a get together of whoever showed up on the first Friday of the month, starting Jan. 2, 1999, and later moved to the second Friday. Someone made soup, others brought beverages, salads, desserts and everyone dished.

"We only had two rules: you had to be friendly and you had to talk to everyone," said Cheryl, a former mayor. "Over the years, attendance had dwindled, so it was really nice that so many people showed up for the last one."

Michael, the current Chamber of Commerce president, said Soup was started to get folks together who enjoyed good food and good people.

"We have to thank Cheryl and Mike for letting this gang of ruffians into their home for the past 14 years — as someone once said, I wouldn't join a club that let me be a member," Matt Lawson said.


He was promptly informed that he wouldn't have been allowed at Soup were it not for his wife, Mary.

"I have known Cheryl and Michael for 23 years," said Steve Dicterow, who once served on the City Council with her and is running again. "They are incredible friends. The test of friends is when things are not going well, so for that as well as Soup, we are all grateful."

The Kinsman's "Last Souper" as Greg Benford dubbed it, almost didn't happen.

"We had contracted for new granite counters in the kitchen, with a deadline of [Sept. 12] for installation," Michael said. "As of this morning, we had no water, no sink and no stove."

Adding to the chaos, he said a nameless somebody (the Kinsmans' longtime housekeeper Marina Cruz confessed it was her) ran the dishwasher, which was disconnected.

"The beans for the chili soup were cooked in a crockpot in the bathroom, which had the only running water," Michael said.

And Soup was on.

Kinsman's chili soup is one of the memorable soups served over the years, said Terry Smith, former Laguna College of Art & Design board member. Among Kinsman's favorites: the vegetable soup made every Lent by Smith and former mayor Wayne Peterson, Elizabeth Brown's split pea soup, and Catrina Dicterow's potato soup, which also got kudos from Sande St. John.

Eileen Walsh's seafood soup must be really good. She only came one time to Soup, but her recipe was remembered.

Only once in all the years, has a soup cook failed to show. Doyon of the Design Review Board Ilse Lenschow confessed she simply had the date wrong.

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