Soup: A Way of Life

Overview


"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 ...

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Overview


"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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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Soup: A Way of Life is one of my favorite soup books. Written by the respected food writer and authority Barbara Kafka, this is a well-researched book with many interesting twists given to old favorites. Obviously a favorite topic of the author, the recipes are filled with tips and techniques.
Food & Wine
Nothing's more welcome than a bowl of soup and no one could have done a better job with this topic than Barbara Kafka.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kafka Roasting: A Simple Art; The James Beard Celebration Cookbook, ed. is known for her strong opinions and thorough probing of her subjects, and this encyclopedia of soup lore and nearly 300 recipes follows that pattern. The recipes are terrific. Who could argue with hearty Winter Duck Soup, refreshing Simple Celery Soup, festive Tortilla Soup, elegant Cold Pea and Mint Puree with Shrimp or a Spicy Peanut Butter Soup that can be served hot or cold? Meal-in-a-pot soups such as Turkey Soup Meal with Swiss Chard are particularly promising. The organization, however, is eclectic and prevents the book from being a fully functional reference work. Kafka starts off with soups that have been important to her family members and then divides them roughly by ingredients e.g., poultry, fish, vegetables. But since most soup recipes blur these boundaries, the divisions are confusing. Sour Cherry Soup ends up stuck in a chapter on vegetable soups subdivided into hot and cold, and Japanese Shabu Shabu lands in the meat chapter, although it contains plenty of vegetables. A section on stocks features five different chicken stocks alone, including Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Chicken Stock, which is recommended for only one recipe. The chapter on noodles, dumplings and other additions to soup is wonderful, and Kafka's humor is enjoyably sly a segment on using nonreactive cookware is labeled "Pot and Acid". With this much choice to page through, ranging from Garlic Broth to Stewed Eels Comacchio Style, readers will most often agree that, in this case, the path to the treasure is also the treasure.
Food & Wine
Nothing's more welcome than a bowl of soup and no one could have done a better job with this topic than Barbara Kafka.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781579651251
  • Publisher: Artisan
  • Publication date: 11/1/1998
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 1,340,719
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.78 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Few have done more to define how Americans prepare food than Barbara Kafka, whose IACP and James Beard award-winning books Roasting and Microwave Gourmet made two underutilized techniques central to everyday cooking. Ms. Kafka is a former food editor of Vogue and a frequent contributor to The New York Times. She lives in New York and Vermont. The author of Artisan's Soup: A Way of Life and Vegetable Love, Barbara Kafka's immense achievements were recognized once more in 2007, when the James Beard Foundation gave her its Lifetime Achievement Award. Her most recent book is The Intolerant Gourmet: Glorious Food Without Gluten & Lactose.

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Read an Excerpt


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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Table of Contents


Family Soups

Vegetable Soups

Bird Soups

The Meat of the Matter

Swimmers in Soup

"Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley Grow..."

The Soul of Soup

From Stock to Soup

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Recipe

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 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 L 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


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 1l 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 l without cream; 8 cups 2 l 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

Excerpted from Soup, A Way of Life. Copyright c 1998 by Barbara Kafka. Reprinted by permission of Artisan.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2000

    Soup: A Way of Life - A so-so Cookbook

    I'm a collector of cookbooks and a lover of good soup. I love photographs of recipes because half the appeal is the appearance of food. I found this book lacking in photos. I work full time and am the mother of 2, which of course means I have little time to spend in the kitchen. I found many of the recipes to be time consuming. Also my children didn't care for most of the dishes I made from this book. It is a nice large book with many recipes some of which I do like. I might recommend it to a friend if it was on sale.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2000

    i like soup ! its the best

    i like it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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