Book Review: Soup Night

Title: Soup Night: Recipes for Creating Community Around a Pot of Soup
Author: Maggie Stuckey
Format: e-ARC from NetGalley
Genre: Cookbook
Rating: 4/5

A neighborhood in Portland, Oregon has a tradition of “Soup Night” – think a giant potluck, but soup related, with each person attending bringing their own bowl and spoon to save the host the trouble of cleanup. I love this idea – I think most people would want to live in this neighborhood and have this relationship with their neighbors. The author says that there are similar events across the country and includes profiles of several. Reading the profiles made me jealous of all those people. I love where we live, but our condo building is huge and has a pretty high turnover. Neighbors don’t really know each other. The book does include a chapter of tips on how to start your own soup night, but it’s really geared towards a more neighborhood-centric model, rather than a giant apartment building.

This book is a combination of how to start and maintain a soup night and collection of recipes from various soup nights across the country. Season based chapters include recipes for soups, breads, salads, and desserts. Many recipes have meat in them, but there is a good variety of vegetarian soups (and some recipes have a “for vegetarians” modification). Each recipe explains what you can do ahead and what can be doubled or tripled. This would be a great cookbook for anyone who often feeds large groups of people, whether a big family or a potluck. There are some unusual recipes (especially for cold fruit soups), but the vast majority of the soup, bread, and dessert recipes are comfort food that would be appealing to any large group of people.

Here are my recipe highlights:

Fall

  • Pear-Blue Cheese Soup
  • Granny Smith’s Sweet Potato Soup (with apples of course)
  • Sweet Corn Chowder
  • Hot and Sour Soup
  • Havana Banana Black Bean Soup
  • Pumpkin Seed Flatbread
  • Nana Mac’s Nova Scotia Oatmeal Bread
  • Cardamom Pavlova

Winter

  • Surprise Beef Stew (the surprise is the coleslaw you mix in at the end)
  • Neely’s Potato-Cheese Soup
  • Lentil Soup Times Four (four different variations on lentil soup)
  • Liz’s Award Winning Chili (not my award, sadly)
  • Edamame Corn Chowder
  • Pita Crisps
  • Carolina Cornbread
  • Asian Noodle Salad
  • Mimi’s Double Chocolate Brownies

Spring

  • Pot Sticker Spinach Soup
  • Blue Flower Soup (Cauliflower and Blue Cheese)
  • Tuna Chowder
  • Crab-Apple Soup (not crabapples, but crab and apple)
  • Cream of Sherried Mushroom Soup
  • Skillet Flatbread
  • Spinach Almond Salad
  • Cuban Flan

Summer

  • Strawberry Gazpacho
  • Cold Tomato-Yogurt Soup
  • Smoked Salmon Corn Chowder
  • Brunswick Stew (although this version has chicken – I always heard Brunswick Stew had to have squirrel)
  • Pistachio-Chicken Minestrone
  • Vegetarian Eggplant Chili
  • Chilled Cucumber Soup with Shrimp
  • Fruit Soup Fit for a Princess
  • Blueberry Orange Cornbread
  • Ariana’s Pink Potato Salad
  • Double Blueberry Tart
  • Raspberry Tart

 

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