All souped up
James Peterson doesn't just write good cookbooks, he writes definitive cookbooks - not boring compilations, but innovative, expansive, highly personal books with extraordinary breadth and depth. Splendid Soups, an excellent example of the Peterson approach, is an updated version of his solidly splendid original, made even better with the addition of 50 new recipes and 40 of his own full-color photographs. Peterson has organized his array of 400 recipes by main ingredient - vegetable, fish, shellfish, meat, poultry, bread, fruit - with an extensive chapter on broths and consommes. He ladles out intriguing info on national and regional cuisines, ethnic flavor clusters, serving suggestions, variations and detailed discussions of individual ingredients. As you're drawn deeper into soups, you'll see that they can involve a near infinity of combos, ranging from the homey to the elegant, from Watercress Soup, on the table in 15 minutes, to slow-simmered Pot-Au-Feu that provides an entire meal. A super book from a gastronomic souper-man.
Sybil Pratt has cooked up this column for more than five years.