Let me make it clear: I'm not well suited to living in New
England. I take after my mom, who grew up in a subtropical part of
China - I flinch when the frost comes creeping up the windows.
While my daughter runs around the house barefoot in a tutu and my
son fetches the wood in a T-shirt (no gloves), I huddle by the wood
stove, waiting for spring. I am a toucan in a family of polar
What I ought to know by now is that the remedy for winter is soup.
It's a one-pot meal, it's filling, it almost invariably feeds a
crowd, and its warmth penetrates to your bones in minutes. Pureed
soups are an excuse to use your immersion blender, if you have one,
because what day isn't better when you get to use your stick
blender? And nothing's as undemanding as soup when it comes to
ingredients. So long as you've got root vegetables and chicken or
vegetable stock in the house--in fact, so long as you've got root
vegetables and water--you can make soup.
But if you're not in the mood to wing it, there are a number of
good soup cookbooks on the market. Here are a few of the ones I'm
looking at these days.
Soup of the Day by Lydie Marshall A 2003 favorite, Marshall's book is primarily
a Mediterranean-influenced hot soup collection, with some salads
and go-withs at the end of the book. The ingredients are easy to
find, and because Marshall's a veteran cooking instructor, you know
her recipes will work every time. (This is the book that taught me
how to successfully soften chickpeas! - soak overnight in boiling
New England Soup Factory Cookbook by
Clara Silverstein and Marjorie Drucker The New England Soup
Factory is Soup Central in the Boston area, and their 2007 cookbook
is a great source for soups with assertive seasonings (sweet and
sour cabbage soup with dill, potato-watercress soup). There are
soups for every season here, almost all of them judiciously herbed
or spiced to awaken dull winter palates.
The Best Soups in the World by Clifford Wright You can count on globe-trotting Clifford
Wright to introduce you to soups you--even you!--never heard of:
kainuu fish soup from Finland, Palestinian freekeh soup, Blackfoot
bison and blackberry soup. Wright never lets exotic ingredients
prevent him, or us, from exploring a new dish--he just substitutes
whatever's handy, so we can travel around the world together
without ever leaving our kitchens.
Sunday Soups by Betty Rosbottom Cooking instructor Betty
Rosbottom's book is another seasonal soup book, this one full of
simple innovations--everyday ingredients combined in new, pleasing
ways, like Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Cider Cream or
Black Bean Soup with a Hint of Orange. The photographs alone in
this vivid little book are enough to warm up any dark January
Whichever soup you make, set an extra bowl aside for the
winter-hater in your family. We promise we'll pay you back by not
surprising you with our freezing feet when you get in bed.