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Nov 14, 2008 12:53 PM

Soup Cookbook Recommendations

I have a friend who asked me to recommend a book of soup recipes for her mom. (She knows I have a ton of cookbooks, but I don't really have anything to recommend that fits the bill.) She's specifically looking for a book with yummy recipes but not too demanding in terms of cooking skills and not having a bunch of expensive, hard-to-find ingredients. Her mom is widowed, lives alone, and doesn't really enjoy cooking that much now that she's only cooking for one. But apparently soup is something she's willing to make, and my friend is really concerned about her mom not eating right and is trying to help her any way she can.

Any suggestions?

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  1. I love my Book of Soups from the Culinary Institute of America. There are probably 5 recipes that are in my standard rotation, they are all pretty simple and everything I have made from it has been successful. I tend to make a different large batch of soup every week and freeze in serving portions so I always have a lot of choices and don't get too bored making (or eating) any one recipe.

    1 Reply
    1. re: GretchenS

      I own the CIA Book of Soups, but haven't dug into it. What are your fave five?

    2. I love the cookbook An Exaltation of Soups: The Soul-Satisfying Story of Soup, As Told in More Than 100 Recipes. It is a great cookbook with endearing stories and yummy recipes!

      1. Why not make a ring binder with reliable recipes gathered from friends and cookbooks and on-line, put in dividers for Vegetable, Beef, Chicken, Miscellaneous, Freezing Do's amd Don'ts, and custom design a cookbook with the specifics you want. When retyping the recipes to print out, your friend could add little Notes to the Cook for each recipe, if she wanted to alert her mother to a particular technique or brand name that she would recommend.

        I'm assuming friend doesn't live close enough to her mother to actually cook with her and stock up her freezer in the process. If this is a Christmas gift, or even if not, friend could make up a package of said cookbook/binder and a couple of cartons of decent, shelf-stable stock, maybe a container of bay leaves, a tube of tomato paste, a box of little pasta shapes just to jump start mom.

        That suggested, now you need to post a new ISO for easy, delicious, T&T recipes for mom! I'll be the first to post!

        3 Replies
        1. re: nemo

          I swear by Lydie Marshall's "Soup of the Day" - no bad recipes yet, and most of them are simple.

          Also, tell your friend to give Mom an immersion blender for Christmas - what a difference it makes to be able to blend your ingredients in the pot instead of ladling them into a food processor or blender!

          1. re: Marsha

            The immersion blender is a great idea! I'm going to check out all the book recommendations so far too.

            1. re: flourgirl

              I bought a very basic immersion blender on sale for $10 at Rite-Aid a few years ago - it's very convenient and works great. Even though everything's plastic but the blade, it is unharmed by piping hot soup. So there's no need to get a pricey model. Wrap a bow around the blender, a long-handled wooden spoon and a ladle. Or put them all in a nice, heavy-bottom 4-6 quart pot, if the recipient doesn't already have one.

              Look for a cookbook with large color photos of all or most of the recipes; the eye-appeal will go a long way toward motivating your friend's mother to actually make a pot. In similar circumstances, I gave a copy of one such cookbook, The Soup Bible.

        2. I like "The Moosewood Daily Special" cookbook. Half of the book is devoted to soups and half to salads. Many are vegetarian, but I've had a lot of success doctoring them with chicken stock and other chicken/meat ingredients if I'd felt like it.

          1. I really like the Daily Soup Cookbook. These are soups that are more like meals -- very hearty. Almost everything I've made has been great. A real wide range of recipes -- everything from mushroom barley to Senagalese peanut. Most recipes call for easy-to-find ingredients. But you will occasionally get a recipe that calls for something most supermarkets wouldn't carry (eg. avocado leaf in chicken lime soup).