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Splendid Soups: Recipes and Master Techniques for Making the World's Best Soups Hardcover – October 9, 2000

45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Everyone loves soup, the world's most versatile dish. James Peterson's Splendid Soups, first published in 1993 and now updated, celebrates that fact with stunning comprehensiveness. Offering almost 300 tantalizing recipes ranging from the most pristine consommés to the heartiest peasant stews, the book also provides extensive technical information, tips, and serving suggestions that make it a true soup tutorial. The book's "ultimate goal," says Peterson, "is to give the reader the tools with which to invent," an aim he realizes with clarity, warmth, and precision. It's hard to imagine a cook who wouldn't embrace this authoritative yet companionable work.

The recipe range is vast. In 10 chapters that cover all the soup bases, including yogurt, bread, and fruit mixtures, Peterson offers an encyclopedic dish array. Among the entries new to this edition are Roast Garlic and Acorn Squash Soup, Thai-Style Hot and Sour Blue Crab Soup, and Dried Fruit Soup, a traditional Swedish specialty. Especially noteworthy is Peterson's introductory section on ethnic soups; a section offering strategies for reducing a soup's fat content (don't let meat broths boil, which homogenizes fat and liquid); and advice on what to drink with soup. With 40 color photos taken by the author, an equipment guide, and a useful chart for soup improvisation, the book is better than ever and a must-have for any kitchen library. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

Tremendously informative and stubbornly opinionated, master chef Peterson updates his classic soup tome by stirring new recipes and more international ingredients into the pot. Before getting to the recipes, readers are treated to a detailed remedial education in ingredients, featuring Peterson's humorously fussy explanations of dried and fresh herbs. The tried-and-true leek stands alongside the trendy galangal root as a soup essential, as Peterson enlarges the intermediate cook's familiarity with international cuisines. Peterson also seeks to re-educate readers on the proper methods for composing bouquet garni, making a roux and improving the flavor of the commercial broths they will insist on buying. He wisely intersperses his suggestions for technique alongside relevant recipes, making valuable information accessible for the busy cook. The recipes are roughly organized by ingredient and include the vast range of vegetable soups in some unusual combinations (Water Chestnuts with Watercress, and Sweet Potato with Chili and Lime). Other noteworthy concoctions include Spicy Brazilian Fish Soup with Coconut Milk; Shabu-Shabu; and Duck and Sherry Soup. Most of Peterson's recipes are not for the fat-phobic; whether he's extolling the virtues of heavy cream over milk and yogurt or encouraging readers to add a few pats of butter to any bowl of soup they order in a restaurant, Peterson throws caution to the wind. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (September 22, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471391360
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471391364
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Peterson is an award-winning food writer, cookbook author, photographer, and cooking teacher who started his career as a restaurant cook in Paris in the 1970s. He is the author of fifteen titles, including "Sauces," his first book and a 1991 James Beard Cookbook of the Year winner, and "Cooking," a 2008 James Beard Award winner. He has been one of the country's preeminent cooking instructors for more than 20 years and currently teaches at the Institute of Culinary Education (formerly Peter Kump's) in New York. He is revered within the industry and highly regarded as a professional resource. James Peterson cooks, writes, and photographs from Brooklyn, New York.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

132 of 136 people found the following review helpful By E. Tarditi on December 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I was introduced to Splendid Soups in my second semester of culinary school - my chef told the class that "if you follow the directions, there's not a bad soup in the book"- and she was so right! You really don't need to be a chef to use this book - as all of my friends and family who I've given it to for gifts can attest! Very clear directions for each recipe, good discussions on when Peterson likes to serve each soup, great advice on how to play with each recipe to make it more your own (and great advice on "fixing the soup" if you aren't completely happy with the recipe exactly as followed) and even a wonderful section in the back with resources, patterns for improvising soups, and fundamental knowledge of how to make the fun extras, like flavored butters and croutons. I write for the Dollar Stretcher (a frugal living webzine) and I've recommended this book to thousands of people, without reservation. If soup is part of your weekly menu (and for those of us trying to save money on food so we can buy more books, it is!) this is the first, last and best reference to have on your shelf. Many of the soups are very down-to-earth - try the wonderful French Onion (p.169) or White Bean and Vegetable Soup (p.197) or the Mushroom Veloute (p.163-164) if you want soups that freeze well and save tons of money from the grocery bill. There are also lovely soups for when company comes (like the Duck Consomme) and a whole section on Fruit Soups (which any child will love!). Perhaps my favorite thing of all about Splendid Soups, after the recipes, of course, is how Peterson tells you how he discovered each soup (hitchhiking to Paul Bocuse's restaurant for a meal that began with Foie Gras and Truffle Soup), mistakes he's made while preparing some (like buying a pumpkin too big for his oven)- you get to live vicariously though his background information. In all, a splendid book.
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70 of 70 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A hefty, comprehensive, door-stop of a book, this "soup-lopedia" includes every soup I'd ever had a hankering to make--"Sopa de Ajo"--Spanish-style garlic soup with an egg in it (I craved it after a trip to Madrid) and Dried Fruit Soup (which my Scandinavian grandmother made when I was growing up)--and every other broth-based dish under the sun.
The histories of the soups and ingredients are so thorough and so fascinating that I felt like I was in a cooking class being taught by a wise, likeable teacher--and the photos of the soups were mouth-watering, and gave me serving suggestions.
An A++ book--I'm giving it to several people for Christmas!
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74 of 78 people found the following review helpful By speak04 on October 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I am a self-described soup addict. I make soups at least once a week year round, even when the weather in my hometown is well above 100 degrees! This book is an excellent book, great for someone who has spent a lot of time making soups and is willing to put the time and effort into getting the ingredients, and doing the chopping and cooking that is required. It has nearly every soup imaginable in it and is great for coming up with great ideas for your own new recipes. However, the reason I can't give it 5 stars is that, as others have mentioned before, it does not go into intimate detail in the instructions, it includes some hard-to-find or largely unfamiliar ingredients, and some of the recipes are difficult. If you are a beginner, you should probably stay away from this book. If you are soup obsessed like me, this book is well worth buying and will become an invaluable source of information for you.
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134 of 147 people found the following review helpful By Luculo on March 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
First of all I have to say that I am spanish and I am not writing in my mother tongue. So I have to apologise in advance for my poor English skills.

When I read a review I like to know who write it in order to guess what he expected to find in the book and what sort of judgment he is going to give us.

I am an Spanish Food Engineer. I am not a professional chef but, I dare say, I am an advanced amateur cook.

I read the cookbooks form cover to cover at least twice. I underlain it and even it compare the recipies with other books.

I dont want a compilation of recipies that I left in my shelves for checking a recipe from time to time.

What I expected to find in this book was:

1-A classification of soups.

2-A correct description of the techniques for cooking the soups.

3-A collection of really splendid soups. I dont mind how many recipies the book has, but I mind the quality of each recipe.

I want a perfect recipe for each soup. Whether I like or not the soup, once I have cooked it, it depends on my personal taste.

So with this in mind, here is my review.

1-The book is organized by ingredientes (meat soups, fish soups, vegetable soups..). It makes easier to find a recipe if you have some ingredientes in the refrigerator and you wants to know what to do with them. But it should be arranged by technique as the book "Professional Chef" (CIA) does (consommes, hearty broths, cream soups, puree soups and bisques).You cant remember all the recipies but you can remember the techniques. This is the most didactic way of organize the book if you want to read it from cover to cover.

2-The general description of the techniques are omitted.
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