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Splendid Soups
cookbook reviews splendid soups
Splendid Soups
by: James Peterson
List Price: $45.00
Our Price: $31.50
You Save: $13.50 (30%)

Reviewed by Eren Guryel

Click Here to Buy It On Line!

August 2003
If you want to learn about soups, this is one of the books to get. For those of you that are not familiar with Chef Peterson's style of cookbook writing, read on. The author has the ability to turn a recipe, into a story. Many cookbooks, I find, are difficult to read cover to cover. Most of the time, I flip though the pages to see if anything catches my eye; I scan the table of contents, and read the parts that interest me. With Peterson's books, I can just start from the beginning.

It starts with the introduction, which explains his interest in writing a 600-page soup cookbook. He explains a revelation he had when occurred to him that sauces are just concentrated soups. One has more liquid than solid, and the other has more solid than liquid. Furthermore, both contain the same patterns in preparation.

The next sections are named 'Equipment' and 'Ingredients'. I have been cooking for over 15 years, so the 'Equipment' part isn't something I need to brush up on. Although, the 'Ingredients' section has some valuable information on things you would need to make ethnic soups. In fact I purchased some Asian ingredients at the grocery store so I could test a recipe, and knew to buy the 'hana-katsuo' and not the 'dashi-no-moto'. Or that I should get the summer Kimchee before I try the winter Kimchee.

'Ethnic soups', 'Cutting out the fat', and 'What to drink with soup' clears the way for the first chapter. They go over, in detail: What indigenous ingredients go in what kind of soup in different parts of the world in 'Ethnic soups'. Preparing soups correctly yields a very healthy meal when you follow the guidelines presented by the author in 'Cutting out the fat'. Red wines, white wines, and ice-cold beer have a place on your table, you just have to figure out which soup to serve it with in 'What to drink with soup'.

All the chapters read well. The book goes into great detail explaining procedures and definitions of recipes and soup names. I really like the 'Fish soup' chapter. I have yet to test one of those recipes, but I will.

I experimented with the 'Thai-style chicken and cellophane noodle soup' on page 113, in the 'Broths and Consommés' chapter. I make something I had no idea how to do. Since I have next to nothing in the Asian food category on my resume, I went that way. All the ingredients I needed were at the local Jewel-Osco grocery store and cost less then ten US dollars. It tasted great and I still have a 3-year supply of Thai fish sauce, or 'nam pla' left in the cooler.

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