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Party Tips from Today’s Highline Social Soup Experiment

We’ll tell you more about the event–which was in part a social experiment about sharing meals as well as a way to promote Slow Food’s $5 Challenge–on our forthcoming NY1 segment on the soupy shindig this Friday. But we wanted to pass along a party tip we learned from Mary Cleaver, the foward-thinking sustainable caterer who runs a restaurant both on and below the elevated city park.

The Cleaver Company totes these former wine bottles to and from events, filled with filtered water.

We learned plenty at today’s Social Soup Experiment, the first of many communal meals the High Line hopes to host on its elevated train line–which once brought food from the Hudson Valley into the warehouses and food factories that used to line the city riverfront farther south.

We’ll tell you more about the event–which was in part a social experiment about sharing meals as well as a way to promote Slow Food’s $5 Challenge–on our forthcoming NY1 segment on the soupy shindig this Friday. But we wanted to pass along a party tip we learned from Mary Cleaver, the foward-thinking sustainable caterer who runs a restaurant both on and below the elevated city park.

For catering jobs and parties Cleaver takes empty 1 Liter bottles of Bergen Grüner Veltliner, which come capped with metal crowns like beer bottles, and fills them with water they filter back at her catering kitchens. The bottles are then capped with little plastic resealable bottle caps she sources from kitchen supply stores for safe transporting.

That’s tip number one. Tip number two is if you have to feed 220 people at the same time, a big vat of silky farro and bean soup–flecked with rosemary and doused with good olive oil–is a damn good way to do it.

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Rachel Wharton is the editor of Edible Brooklyn. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.