You can tell that autumn is approaching as there is a veritable windfall of books offering up recipes for good winter warmers like soups (even though, of course, soups can be enjoyed all year round).
This fairly thick book is no exception, promising the soup lover 75 different soups and breads to accompany them, with inspiration drawn from all around the world. An obvious combination, you will hopefully agree, yet something often overlooked by other soup-orientated recipe books where, perhaps, a few breads might be given as a bit of an afterthought to serve up with the soup "main course."
Here the recipes solely do the talking, aided by some nice photography (of course!). Introductions and arty "theme-setters" are kept to a minimum. First you get the basics, the building blocks for many soups and breads and then everything is split into four big chapters, one for each season. A word of caution, you would be well advised to browse sequentially through this book at least once and resist the temptation to just dip in and out. Many nuggets of good, actionable information can be found and it is worthy of a read.
Of course, something has to come along and burst a bubble of perfection. Our usual niggles, in other words, namely the lack of a clear preparation and cooking time and the reliance on sole U.S. measures. Why, why, WHY! One can sort of forgive the false economy of not giving each recipe its own colour photograph, one can understand differences over design but think of a harassed or uncertain cook, give them a break and also remember that there are foreigners who might buy your book and be unfamiliar with cups and ounces as measures. This pre-release review copy was missing the index and the usual other stuff found at the end of a book so we don't know if one should be insulted by the inclusion of a conversion table or not. Hopefully there is a very detailed usable index to aid navigation and cross-reference otherwise you are sunk!
The range and selection of recipes is quite pleasing, although the instructions are rather terse and perhaps less beginner-friendly. All in all a fairly pleasing attempt with some pleasant packaging, but the higher the price the fussier the buyer can justifiably be and thus this overall package might be slightly-overpriced - it might come solely down to whether you "click" with it or not and whether you particularly need another soup-orientated book or not.
As it is, we will give this book the benefit of the doubt as it is sufficiently different to make it a warranted four YUM (star) thing but with the various omissions and quirks it might not deserve a five YUM award. In any case, it is worthy of closer consideration.