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
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
'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.