For me, the one thing that matters about a cookbook is: is it *inspired* or not? The ones that are not may have one to a few usable recipes, almost by accident, but the majority are either based on stale ideas, or they are too heavy, due to their use of meat, fat, sugar, or other such ingredients.
This book far surpassed my expectations. The recipes are original, hearty, satisfying - and low-fat. One of these soups with some bread and cheese makes for a simple and delicious weekday meal.
Most of the soups we've tried from this book have come out very well. We got off to a good start with Garlicky Cream of Celery Soup (p. 39). Examples of other successes: Cream of White Vegetables (p. 15; this worked fine with Chinese white radish/daikon; turnip is unavailable in Taiwan) - very smooth, soothing and flavorful; Gingered Pumpkin-Apple Soup (p. 25) - I'm not sure I'll put the apple in next time, but we all enjoyed the complex flavors of this one; Cream of Broccoli Soup with Whole Wheat Pasta (p. 96) also wasn't bad, even with plain macaroni shells. The Moroccan-Style Vegetable Stew (p. 26), with pumpkin, chickpeas and couscous, was very unusual and quite tasty. I was less impressed with the Tomato-Rice Soup with Snow Peas (p. 93) - this ended up something like Campbell's tomato rice, but then but I did make some substitutions, like white rice for brown. And I probably should have let the Curried Cauliflower-Cheese Soup (p. 84) thicken more before serving. You can skip the Sauerkraut Soup (p. 36) - this was edible, but didn't much appeal to any of us; too heavy on the sweet and sour, and not very satisfying. Still, I'm very gung ho about continuing to try out the other recipes. Well over half the recipes look doable to me in our environment, and that's a remarkably high ratio. I have found no other soup cookbook that can compare with this one. The recipes that work - and that has been most of them so far - are excellent, and just our style.
The book not only gives individual recipes but in fact teaches a *method* for making good vegetarian soups, i.e. pureeing cooked vegetables for a thick and hearty but not too rich base. Organizing the recipes by the seasons makes it easier to find a soup suited to the weather.
P. 27 has a recipe for 'Squash and Corn Chower', but that's the only typo I've spotted. The pencil drawings and quotes are quite charming. I haven't yet tried the bread and other 'accompaniments' recipes in the back, but they look intriguing.
In short: if you like soup but not meat, and are looking for ideas for simple but very good meals on the light side, this book is an outstanding choice.