Growing up watching her mom and grandma in the kitchen, Nancy Fink remembers how she found her “happy place” there. With a pot on the stove, veggies on the cutting board and delicious, savory scents wafting throughout the house, her love of food—soup, in particular—grew into one of her greatest passions.
“My favorite thing about cooking is that I have control of everything that goes into my food,” Fink says. “Healthy eating, healthy cooking and a healthy lifestyle are important to me.”
Seeing the opportunity to combine her passions for soup and healthy cooking, Fink decided to create a line of convenient, healthy, wholesome and delicious soups. The best part? They’re portable, and—as the name suggests—a spoon is optional.
Each of the 13 soups Spoon Optional offers comes in a 16-ounce resealable container, making it easy to grab and go for those days when preparing food just isn’t feasible. As a stay-at-home-mom of three, Fink often sought a good, healthy and portable way to stay satisfied and nourished, but always found a lack of options when it came to soups.
The business venture began last March, when Fink says she threw herself into kick-starting Spoon Optional. With years of experience in the kitchen and the help of a friend with culinary training, Fink began devising a soup menu packed with delicious veggies and wholesome nutrients. Taking a page from the cold-pressed juice trend, she wanted to make nutrients easily accessible and yummy.
“I love seeing how people have taken to this idea of being able to get nutrients from easily digestible beverages [in juices],” she says. “So I just saw soup as the next extension of that.”
Of the 13 soups on the menu, two are offered year-round, while the rest are rotated seasonally. Always available are roasted tomato basil and roasted vegetable stock. The first is a delicious staple for any time of year, made with freshly roasted Roma tomatoes and spiced up to a savory sip with fresh basil. The second is simply the vegetable base for all of Fink’s soups, but is delicious all on its own and packed with antioxidants and feel-good warmth.
Other winter soup options include gingered yam and butternut squash, golden beet, apple and celery, super greens, and cauliflower, celery root and fennel.
All of the recipes are Fink’s own creations—each one created, tested, adapted and perfected with the help of a professional chef. All of Spoon Optional’s soups are vegan and gluten-free, although the kitchen is not currently a certified gluten-free space (Fink currently uses kitchen space at Sabes Jewish Community Center in St. Louis Park). The only exception is the fall soup, pumpkin spice, which adds honey to make a smooth, sweet and delicious treat.
Spoon Optional offers online ordering through its website and local pickup sites, and is available on the shelves at local retailers and Linden Hills Co-Op, Lakewinds Food Co-op, and Naked Nina’s Nutrient Bar.
All the fresh and delicious veggies stuffed into the soups give them a shelf life (or freeze-by date) of one week.
Spoon Optional officially launched in November, and as it continues to grow, Fink is excited about proudly standing behind her products, knowing that what’s in them is “the best of the best.” With the support of the local community and co-ops behind her, she’s also ready for the challenge of the increasing demand on her small business.
“Seeing all my soups come together was just this incredible feeling,” Fink says. “I get emotional just thinking about it. What makes me so excited about it is that my kids see that I’ve created something that I’m so passionate about. It’s incredibly meaningful to know that my kids are so proud of me.”
For more information or to place an order, visit the website here.