Barbie Butz e1607969318124
Barbie Butz is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at

Last Thursday, I helped serve at ECHO’s Empty Bowls event with Don Idler and Atascadero Fire Chief Casey Bryson. We worked the second shift, which started at 12:45 p.m., and by then, most of the attendees had driven through the “drive-thru” to pick up their soup and a lovely artist-created bowl. Wendy Lewis, Executive Director of ECHO, indicated that the event was sold out way before Thursday, an indication of how popular it has become in this community.

I was invited to serve at the first event, which was held at St. Williams Church. That inaugural event was extremely successful and has continued to grow each year. I have served at all of the past events and am impressed with the work and planning that goes into them. The committee does a wonderful job and are to be especially commended for making the latest one happen as a “drive-thru.”

Charlotte and Mike Byrne, early founders of the ECHO organization, are to be congratulated once again for their efforts in creating a resource for homeless individuals and families in this area. I know they are proud of the growth of ECHO.

I came home on Thursday with my soup, Vegan Tomato, prepared by Niner Wines. It was outstanding! Restaurants in the area donated all of the soups, which are always delicious. Huge thanks go to the chefs who prepare for the event.

I think it’s important to remember how many of our business people here in the North County donate to our nonprofit events. Our wineries, breweries, distilleries, and restaurants are constantly asked for donations, as are our other local businesses. When you know they are a donor, thank them because they need to know how important they are to the causes we all support.

I know that Paso Rotary has a Golf Tournament coming up, so go to their website and see how you can help.

APACC (Atascadero Performing Arts Center Committee) presented a $1,000 check to the Printery Foundation, becoming a Founding Member of that organization. The mission of the Foundation is the preservation of the Printery building that played an important role in Atascadero’s history. The Foundation seeks to restore the building and dedicate its use to projects that will benefit the community.

A friend gave me a cute little book titled Let’s-Bring-Back, An Encyclopedia of Forgotten-Yet-Delightful, Chic, Useful, Curious, and Otherwise Commendable Things from Times Gone By, compiled by Lesley M.M. Blume.

I found the following information for this recipe: “Cold Fruit Soups. These were popular for centuries all over the globe but have fallen out of fashion in America iné recent decades. Sweet chilled fruit soups make and erudite, refreshing first course that nicely offsets the savory second course.”

The author presents this recipe for a simple cold berry soup from her grandmother’s recipe file, which would also make a nice summer dessert.

Cold Berry Soup
2 cups fresh raspberries or strawberries
½ cup sugar
½ cup sour cream
2 cups ice water
½ cup red wine

Rub the berries through a fine sieve. Add sugar to taste and the sour cream. Mix. Add the water and wine and correct the sweetening. Chill. Makes 4 or 5 servings.

The author also mentioned other recipes brought to America from other countries, like Russian sour cherry soup with champagne and créme fraiche, or a sapphire-blue Czech blueberry soup with sour cream. 

I can imagine how delicious the strawberry soup would be around here with all the fresh strawberries available at our farmer’s markets. And don’t forget Strawberries Romanoff, which is just cleaned fresh strawberries served with bowls of brown sugar and sour cream. Simply roll a berry in sour cream and then in brown sugar. It’s wonderful!

Enjoy the weekend. Cheers!