It's All A Gift

Instant Soup

“The Attitude Is Gratitude”

Instant Soup Kitchen 2017

Back in 1995, three friends–Summer, Magic, and Rich In Spirit–were sitting together on a hill at theย  New Mexico Gathering musing over their future contributions to Rainbow. Up until then they’d been what Rich terms “lazy hippies”–not working much but rather going around the gathering with packages of Ramen noodles and adding hot water to them. (They’re favorite place to do this was Tea Time, and according to Rich “you haven’t lived until you’ve tasted peppermint Ramen”!) After enough bowls of Ramen, they finally decided that they could do better than that–they could start their own kitchen and serve soup to everyone who came by. And so the idea for Instant Soup was born.

Chopping Cabbage at Instant Soup Kitchen
Food prep at Instant Soup, 2017

Since Summer and Magic owned a health food store, they offered to supply the soup if Rich In Spirit would come two weeks early every year and build the kitchen. Rich agreed and Instant Soup was born. Since that time, Summer and Magic have been searching out the healthiest soups they could find and generously donating them to the kitchen, even though they stopped coming about seven years ago (as of 2017). As long as Rich keeps coming and building the kitchen, the deal still stands: Instant Soup will keep serving soup.

Serving soup at Instant Soup
Folks are always welcome to come right up to the cooking fire to get their soup.

Summer and Magic did have one other stipulation, however: the kitchen had to remain vegan. As a result, Instant Soup has remained one of the few fully vegan kitchens to last over 20 years. Of all the donations that come through the kitchen, any cheese or other non-vegan products get donated to other kitchens; even milk chocolate.

Cooking fries on the fire
Cooking fries late at night.

One of Instant Soup’s aims is to serve food 24/7, and much of the time they succeed in that. They also serve much more than soup. From salads and stir fries to chilis and french fries, you’re likely to find all sorts of tasty things being served in front of their fire. In fact, as a result of their 24/7 policy, they often have food available when no one else does.

The Instant Soup stove

One thing that makes Instant Soup special from many other kitchens is that they have no rails. They want everyone to come in and feel welcome, to be able to come up to the fireplace. They also circle up at least once a day to get on the same page, express gratitude, acknowledge those plugging in, and offer an Om before a meal. Instant Soup also has a reputation for being a music kitchen and is a favorite hangout of many different musicians. You can often find a large jam session happening right under their eaves.

If you want to try out their fare, though, you’ll have to come visit them. They don’t serve main circle.


Have any stories about Instant Soup? Leave them in the comments!


14 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Samantha Oz says:

    Loved being next to Instant Soup this year and have the deepest gratitude for their lovely soups that nourished my girls and I! The mellow vibe brought me back a few times.

  2. Andy Avocado Barkan says:

    This kitchen has changed my life and I am EXTREMELY proud to say that I have been and will always be an active member since 2003

    1. Angela says:

      Aloha Avocado, Angela here., little Avocados mom. Can you please message me?

  3. Kenny says:

    Instant Soup is a magnificent container, and I am so grateful to be part of this kitchen and to share time & space with a beautiful & loving group of humans!

    So much gratitude for all your work Teryani, and love these beautiful images! I’m featuring some of your imagery, and the write-up here (as a direct, linked quote) in a piece I’m writing right now ๐Ÿ™‚ I love you!

  4. Night Owl says:

    Although Iโ€™ve eaten at Instant Soup for many years past…Vermont was my first time plugging in with the kitchen crew, and again in Georgia…Thanks to all of my new friends who made me feel so welcomed and at home…I love you all, and canโ€™t wait to see you again!

  5. Nelson says:

    I was at the national gathering in Vermont a few years back staying in teepee city right next to instant soup and met this wonderful women that I believe might be core instant soup, we hit it off really quick and at the time I did not have a phone or any contact info to give to her before i left and I would very much like to get in touch with her again, I dont know her name all I have is a picture I found of her the day after coming back from a regional gathering. If anyone knows who she is if they could ask her to reply to this that would be amazing! Please email me if you want to help me connect with her!

  6. Instant Soup has been one of my favorite places to be each year at the national gathering. Rich In Spirit is “truly” rich in spirit. As of right now my plan is to be at the Idaho gathering this year. I look forward to seeing my family this summer.

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