Thanksgiving in our family is less about the Thursday but more about the Friday after. That’s right, Black Friday, not for the shopping but for the now traditional and highly competitive Zlupko family Soup Off. In case you are new to this tradition, it all began many years ago when my sons (you know, I have four) had to split their Thanksgiving time with us and their in-laws. It became a real hassle and the source of many discussions. The solution, a Zlupko family gathering on Friday and a soup contest between the families.

The Soup Off has now become a tradition that each family plans for well in advance. The soups are now, not only offered by my sons, but even some of my grandchildren are now vested in the competition.

The evening of the event is a real gaggle of over 20 people and, generally, 5 to 7 soups are entered. Each contender must introduce their soup, its ingredients and flavor profile. A vote is taken on whose soup is the best of the year, but you can only vote if you have tasted all the soups. The prize is an inscribed plate stating you are the “Soup Champion.”

I wanted to take some poetic license with this article to tell you about the Soup Off and how it has solved several family issues. This is not the only reason I wanted to mention this event. This year I am the “Soup Champion.