Soup's on at the Library
If you love soup as I do, have I got a recipe for you! It’s one that begins the usual way, with a stock pot and a big spoon. But this one has a secret ingredient that will yield the most satisfyingly delectable, soul-warming soup you’ve ever ladled.
Although not a common herb, it’s readily available, planted in downtown Hastings, growing for more than a century and there for the taking by anyone.
If you haven’t guessed it by now, the secret ingredient you can throw into your cauldron is Hastings Public Library!
A visit to the library can have your soup of the day, “quick simmering” and “splendid” in “four easy, fresh and simple steps,” according to promises offered by some of the cookbooks you can check out.
Among the library’s collection of hundreds of cookbooks, there are at least a dozen dedicated just to soup; all tolled the library offers thousands of soup recipes. And if you think of soup recipes as “ideas” that you can build on, vary by your own preferences and by what’s in your pantry, then what goes into your chowder is limited only by your imagination.
New to the shelves is “Splendid Soups,” a comprehensive collection of 400 unique recipes that will bring exotic tastes and aromas from far corners of the world to your kitchen, challenging even the most discerning taste buds. The book features an exciting repertoire from some of the world’s finest cuisines, from the exotic Indian-style shrimp and coconut soup to pistou, a southern French vegetable soup.
The author, professional chef James Peterson, also shares his soup-making guidelines that can be used to personalize recipes and create your own delicious signature dishes.
Another recently-published book, “The Complete Book of Soups and Stews,” by Bernard Clayton, offers 250 recipes that are easy to follow and proof that soup making is neither time-consuming nor difficult, and in any case is well worth the effort.
If you 'knead' something more to accompany your bisque, check out “Soup of the Day” which includes bread recipes to complement any of its 140 amazing soups. Enjoy the book’s classics like New England clam chowder, and new twists on old favorites like bean and kale soup, which was a big hit recently on my table.
“Quick Simmering Soups” is a collection of 65 recipes that may be ready to enjoy in just 20-30 minutes without sacrificing flavor. Many are built on a chicken stock base, enhanced with fresh meats and vegetables.
Also appealing to busy cooks is “Four-Step Soup Recipes,” which promises quick suppers just a couple of paces away from opening canned soup. I’ve bookmarked a few recipes I want to try, such as red pepper velouté and a spicy shrimp soup. Also featured are directions to stir up some dessert fruit soups.
Seafood with lemon and other elegant dishes to fit any occasion are included in “Home Collection Soups,” part of a cookbook series by Le Cordon Bleu cooking school.
"Soup remains a faithful friend during all of life's occasions" notes Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette, Benedictine monk, cook and author of “Twelve Months of Monastery Soups,” a delicious introduction to the art of soup making. With
Hastings Public Library as your secret ingredient, just imagine what you can create!