Review: The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Soup, edited by Debra Mayhew

by Rebeca on June 21, 2009

Soup imageThe Cook’s Encyclopedia of Soup
Edited by Debra Mayhew
Lorenz Books, 2001

No Soup for You. If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you know all about the Soup Nazi and that famous line that’s uttered to George and Elaine. And there really is a Soup Nazi who has franchises in New York City and has licensed some of his recipes; you can buy them in some supermarket chains like Key Food in Park Slope.

Here on the east coast, we’ve been having some fairly wet and coolish weather. Soup and a salad seem to be the dinner of choice in our household. This week I decided to highlight a cookbook that I bought several years ago when we were going through a soup phase. In my travels to the bookstore and browsing through the cookbook section, I came this little gem, The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Soup.

It’s a lovely soft-covered book with a sedate blue/lavender color with one small picture of a vibrant orange-red bowl of Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Soup.

The book consists of six sections that include recipes for:

• Light & Refreshing Soups

• Rich & Creamy Soups

• Warming Winter Soups

• Hearty Lunch & Supper Soups

• One-Pot-Meal Soups

• Special Occasion Soups

Each recipe is broken down by ingredients and steps that are accompanied by color photographs of each phase from start to finish.

I’m partial to soups that have some kick and consistency. Some of my favorites include Jalapeno Soup made with chicken broth, chicken breast, jalapenos and an avocado. If you’re like me and like cream and butter, Jerusalem Artichoke Soup is wonderful for a chilly day.

One of my favorite is garlic and because I am half-Spanish, it’s no surprise that I’m a big fan Spanish Garlic Soup—simple to prepare and quite aromatic.

Although I’m not a fan of eating peanut butter straight from the jar or to spread on bread, I love cooking with peanuts and peanut. One of my top five soups is Spicy Peanut Soup, a hearty soup with carrots, corn, peppers, potatoes and cayenne pepper. There’s an African variation of this recipe with yams and okra.

However, I’m leaving the best for last. For me (and for Seinfeld’s Kramer) the king of soups, is the imperialistic Mulligatawny Soup. This rich soup has chockfull of ingredients from curry powder to raisins and it is the ideal lunch or dinner soup.

Unlike the Soup Nazi, I say, “Here’s some soup for you!”

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Vasilly June 22, 2009 at 1:23 pm

This sounds like a great cookbook to have. I need a cookbook that shows me what each step looks like. Right now we’re having really chilly weather in California, so this cookbook would be perfect for right now. I will look and see if my library has it.

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