There aren’t too many things that make a Michigan winter more bearable than soup. I love soup! Although, I tend to be a stick to the traditional kinds of soup girl. I love a good hearty Cheesy Potato Soup or a chock-full of veggies Vegetable Beef Soup. If I’m sick, I want some Chicken Noodle Soup–it’s practically medicine. But no matter what, when the snow starts flying, I start craving it. Okay, I crave it in the summer to. It is my ultimate comfort food.
**I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.**
Food-sharing is the hot new thing in the “getting dinner on the table” conversation, and in The Soup Club Cookbook, four busy moms share not only their formula for starting a soup club–which gives you at least three meals every month when you don’t have to worry about dinner–but also 150 fantastic recipes for soups and sides and storing tips for stretching those meals across the week.
The Soup Club began when four friends (who, between them, have four husbands and ten hungry kids and several jobs) realized that they didn’t actually have to cook at home every night to take pleasure in a home-cooked meal. They simply had to join forces and share meals, even if they weren’t actually eating them together. Caroline, Courtney, Julie, and Tina happen to be neighbors, but a soup club is for anyone: colleagues, a group of workout buddies, a book club. All you need are a few people who simply want to have more home-cooked food in their lives.
In a soup club each person takes a turn making soup—and sometimes other dishes for sides or for when everyone needs a break from soup, so if a club has four people, in a month each person will have dinner delivered three times—a dish that can start as a full meal and stretch into more dinners or lunches or even morph into a sauce. Soup is forgiving, versatile, and perfect for sharing; it can be spiced to taste, topped elaborately or not at all, and dressed up or down. It travels well and reheats beautifully. The Soup Club Cookbook also has dozens of tips for cooking in quantity and for tailoring soup to individual tastes and needs. Here, too, are simple guidelines for starting your own soup club, anecdotes, and a few cautionary tales that will inspire anyone to share food and eat well.
Recipes include quick and easies, classics, twist on favorites, and dozens of flavor-rich new crowd pleasers:
• Carrot Coconut and Chicken Chili,
• Senegalese Peanut Soup
• Faux Ramen
• Red Lentil Curry Soup
• Potato Cheddar Soup
• Sun Dried Tomato Soup
• Jeweled Rice Salad
• Cheddar Cornbread,
• Summer Corn Hash
• Soy Simmered Chicken Wings
Pros: There were a number of things that I loved about this cookbook. First of all, while I’m not sure it is something that will be happening in the near future, I love this idea of a “Soup Club.” On a more practical level (at least for me) I enjoyed this book and it gave me ideas of meals to offer to someone in church who may have had a surgery or just had a baby. What a great way to fill a need! I also enjoyed reading about the flexibility of so many of these recipes. It’s mentioned a few times, how forgiving soup can be! I probably needed the reminder. The recipes for making broth are something else that I find helpful in this book. Finally, I really enjoyed the anecdotes shared. So many of the stories and snippets within the pages made me feel like a part of this group of four ladies.
Cons: I tend to be the type of person that I know what I like and I think I know what I don’t like. In other words, I’m not the most open to trying new things. A number of these soups feel a bit “exotic” to me and not many of them seem to be variations on favorites (which I was hoping for more of). So, from that standpoint I was a bit disappointed, but I understand that as more of preference thing. I also found that the book tends to suggest buying various ingredients that I’m not familiar with or tend to be pricier (at least around here).
Also, the cookbook is very much designed to use in the “Soup Club” format. Most of the soups will make 8 quarts, which is quite a bit of soup. While they mention that the recipes can easily be cut in half or doubled (however needed) it would be nice to have either smaller quantities listed or listed the ingredients for various amounts.
My Thoughts: There are definitely a few things in this book I found that I would be willing to try and am excited about, however, once I do that, I might just pass this book on to someone who might enjoy it more. My suggestion to anyone considering purchasing this one would be to take the time and flip through it to make sure that there is enough there that you would be interested in.