What started four years ago as an anti-Valentine’s gathering is now one of my favorite parties of the year. My pals Audrey and Steve invite people to bring over their favorite soup, and we all taste and vote on our favorites. It’s a fun time, and everyone looks forward to it. People are remembered years later for their wins (spicy posole) and their losses (borscht, which I happened to like). The competition is fierce, with lots of trash-talking. And I love it.

And you know what else I love? That people seem to be comfortable making soup—serious cooks and casual cooks and beginners all participate, and the offerings area amazingly varied. This year, the pots included Scandinavian venison soup, Columbian chicken soup with capers, Thai curry soup, Mexican potato-poblano soup, pureed parsnip soup with walnut pesto, meaty and vegetarian chili, sweet potato soup, two types of seafood chowder, spicy goat stew, and more. I brought One-Hour Spanish Chickpea Soup, a dish that my kids happen to love. It didn’t take home first prize, but that’s not the point. The point is that it’s a fun, casual party with great food. And as a guest, you get to taste many delicious bowlfuls. I recommend you steal the idea and host your own Soupalooza (or talk one of your friends into doing so). What kind of soup would you make?

Photo: Jamie Chung; Styling: Ariana Salvato