Quick: There's a nip in the air and a rumble in your stomach; what do you do? If you're anything like me, you put on a scarf, take a swig of whiskey and lose yourself to online porn. If you're normal, you probably cozy up to a warm bowl of soup.

According to those wizards over at Wikipedia—and they're never wrong—evidence of the existence of soup can be traced back as far as 6,000 BC. Apparently, animal hides were used as makeshift pots before the invention of the clay vessel. Yummy, no?    

Be it down-home alphabet, Warholian tomato or perhaps sexy clam chowder, few things scream out comfort food quite like soup does. The fine folks at the Food Depot know this, and for a span of two and a half hours this Saturday, they plan to elevate the appetizer to full entrée status during their annual Souper Bowl extravaganza.

What exactly is the Souper Bowl?  According to Food Depot Executive Director Sherry Hooper, it's "an event were everyone is involved."

Hooper, a lentil soup gal, tells SFR there are "no spectators" in Souper Bowl, as all broth and stew enthusiasts who come through the door will vote on the best soup in four different categories: savory, cream, vegetarian and seafood, as well as the coveted Best in Show award.  

Now, in its 19th year, organizers have big plans for this super Souper installment.

"It started off in the parking lot of Wild Oats Market with five restaurants," Hooper reminisces. This year, she says, 30 local restaurants are on board to feed an expected 1,200 attendees.  

Leave your cream-of-corn expectations at the door. Hooper says exotic flavors like smoked-paprika-beet, New Mexican red curry lobster bisque and a "quite delightful" chilled lemongrass-papaya are sure to let out your inner Oliver Twist and have you begging for more.

As the food bank for nine communities, the Food Depot is committed to ending hunger in northern New Mexico and provides food for 120 nonprofit agencies including youth programs and homeless shelters.
Along with more soup samples than you can shake a wooden spoon at, Hooper says cookbooks and commemorative T-shirts will be for sale.

"Expect incredible, great soup," she augurs. "The restaurants who participate never fail to impress our guests."

2013 Souper Bowl: Noon-2:30 pm Saturday, Jan. 26. $30
                                                                                   Santa Fe Convention Center,
201 W Marcy St., 471-1633