The Friday Cookbook Review: “The Culinary Institute of America Book of Soups”

The Culinary Institute of America Book of Soups, a group effort. Published by Lebhar-Friedman Books, 2005

I love cookbooks like this. Much more than a collection of recipes, in this case more than 100 recipes, this is a book about how to make soup, about teaching yourself to prepare everything from the simplest stocks and broths to cream soups, pureed soups, chowders. It’s an education between two

Cookbook fans who lean toward “celebrity” cookbooks (I know you’re out there, trying to ignore the latest from Paula Deen that arrived in your mail this week) might be intimidated by just the title. Don’t be. Visually, it’s a beautiful publication filled with colorful photographs of simple, glorious foods, printed on thick stock. There’s no condescending tone evident here, for the purpose is teach and encourage, not intimidate.

And teach it does. From what hardware you’ll need (surprising a lot less than one would imagine) to marrying and intensifying flavors, adjusting consistency, through cooling and storage, the reader is lead one simple step after another. It’s an addictive a read as any Harry Potter book could be. Before you know it, you’re at the recipe for  “Roast Turkey Broth with Caramelized Butternut Squash and Sage Dumplings” thinking to yourself  “I can do that”.

Many recipes can be made from what’s in your pantry and refrigerator at the moment; others will have you making up a list of culinary exotica just for the experience of trying and tasting something new. There are variations of every soup you ate from early childhood on, and whole sections of soups, stews, bisques you’ve never imagined.  Hot, thick chowders for winter, chilled soups for the dog days of summer, family soups and those you’d be proud to serve to company.

If you love soup, you should have this cookbook. If soup intimidates you beyond reason, you should have this cookbook. It’s that good.

Cover art courtesy of:
Soup art courtesy of:

Kent McDonald is a Certified Personal Chef, living and working in Phoenix, AZ. (c) All Rights Reserved, 2009

2 thoughts on “The Friday Cookbook Review: “The Culinary Institute of America Book of Soups”

  1. Check out Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. even when you are short on time, you can make wonderful, crusty breads.

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