Soup: A Way of Life

Front Cover
Artisan Books, 1998 - Cooking - 464 pages
3 Reviews
"Dora, my maternal grandmother," writes Barbara Kafka in her new book, "started the soup tradition that means most to me, which is odd as she was, by all accounts, a bad cook....I hope I am a better cook, and my life has certainly been easier, but I learned from her that a pot of soup is warmth and welcome for family and friends alike."

In this stunningly rich and wide-ranging book, Barbara Kafka gives the food we love perhaps best in the world a new vitality. Though the subject is so familiar to us all, her approach is totally original, just as it was in her award-winning Roasting: A Simple Art and Microwave Gourmet. In a wonderfully diverse collection of nearly three hundred recipes from all over the world--some traditional, some newly minted, many so simple they require no cooking at all, each of them very much a part of our spiritual and emotional lives--she offers up a lifetime worth of pleasure:

  • icy soups for steamy days (ceviche soup with ginger) and hot soups for cold days (winter duck soup)
  • rustic potages (great green soup) and elegant consommes (beef madrilene)
  • simple soups to start (Moroccan tomato) and complex soups that make a meal (beef short ribs in a pot)
  • fifteen-minute specials (mussels and tomato soup) and those that simmer all day (pot-au-feu)
  • a magical garlic broth, among other vegetable broths and bases, gives vegetarians hundreds of recipes to enjoy

    As always, Barbara's intelligence and talent for innovation have resulted in a vast body of ideas to make your life in the kitchen easy and interesting. Nearly thirty stocks are offered, as well as dozens of ways to use seasonal produce to cook and freeze soup bases for year-round fresh taste. You'll find cooking times for everything from dumplings and piroshki to noodles and pasta, simmering times for every possible cut of meat, and yields and blanching times for dozens of vegetables. There are easy-to-follow charts to answer every cooking question.

    And then there's Barbara's "memory pieces." Woven through the recipes, they form a book within a book, one family's personal and culinary history. They're fascinating and warming and enriching on their own. They also remind us why soup is a vital part of our lives. And why Barbara Kafka is a vital part of our cooking experience.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - snickerpants - LibraryThing

This book really is all about soup which seems a little too specialized at first. But there are a few really excellent recipes in here that make it worth owning. I'm not sure about all the other ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Lynsey2 - LibraryThing

I love this book. Every recipe has turned out yummy! Read full review


oats peas beans and barley grow 291
the soul of soup
from stock to soup

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About the author (1998)

Curried Onion Soup

The onions are not browned in this recipe. For a soothing soup, you can add a cup of heavy cream and additional salt to taste.

1/4 pound (120g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/4 cup (30g) curry powder

4 large onions, cut into chunks

4 cups (1 liter) Basic Chicken Stock (page 345) or commercial chicken broth

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon kosher salt, or less if using commercial broth

1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream, optional

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Stir in the curry powder and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

Pour in the stock. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the onions are very soft.

In a blender, working in batches of no more than 2 cups (500 ml), puree the soup until very smooth, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the jar. Scrape the puree back into the pan. The soup can be made ahead up to this point and refrigerated.

Heat the soup through. Remove from the heat and whisk in the lime juice, salt, and if using, the heavy cream

Makes 7 cups (1.75 liters) without cream; 8 cups (2 liters) with; 6-8 first-course servings

Garlic Soup with Poached Eggs

Let the bread sit at room temperature for several hours, or overnight, until dry.

Garlic Broth (page 86)

4 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Eight 1/4-inch- (.5-cm-) thick slices French bread, dried

4 eggs

Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

In a large deep frying pan, combine the garlic broth, salt, and pepper over medium heat. Arrange the bread slices around the edge of the pan, slightly overlapping them and leaving a circle about 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter in the center. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat so the liquid is at a lively simmer. Crack the eggs into the pan so they form a ring, without touching, toward the center of the pan. (If preferred, crack the eggs one at a time onto a saucer and slide them into the broth.) Cook just until the whites and the surface of the yolks are set, 3 to 4 minutes. Spoon broth over the tops of the yolks if they aren't submerged.

To serve, ladle the broth and bread into large warm soup bowls and top each with an egg. Pass Parmesan at the table.

Makes 4 first-course servings

Garlic Broth

This is really a base for other soups that can also be served on its own--but consider adding some jalapeno pepper, cilantro, and lime juice; or diced tomato, chopped parsley, matchsticks of zucchini, and thinly sliced basil; cooked peas and small leaves of spinach; lemongrass, curry leaves, and lime juice; or any other seasoning group that seems enjoyable.

3 small heads garlic, smashed and peeled

1 tablespoon olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste, optional

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste, optional

Cut the garlic cloves in half lengthwise and, if necessary, remove the green germ growing throughout the center.

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over low heat. Stir in the garlic cloves and cook, stirring often, until the outside of the garlic is translucent and cloves are soft, about 20 minutes. Don't let the garlic brown.

Pour in 9 cups (2.25 liters) water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 40 minutes. The garlic will be very tender. To eat the broth on its own, season with salt and pepper to taste; or use as a stock.

Makes 8 cups (2 liters); 8 first-course servings

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