THE SOUPS OF FRANCE
Lois Anne Rothert, Chronicle Books, . . Chronicle, $50 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-3342-4
Of the 84 soups, potages, marmites and more that Rothert draws from 17 Gallic regions, some are unusual twists on tradition (Cabbage Soup with Walnut Oil) and others have stood for many generations (Potage Crecy or Cream of Carrot Soup), although even the latter she tweaks by adding a bit of optional curry powder. Arranged in six chapters, the soups feature Fresh Vegetables; Dried Beans and Grains; Fish and Shellfish; Meat and Poultry; Game and Wild Delicacies; and Cheese and Eggs. Most of those in the first two sections—such as Leek and Potato Soup and Lyonnaise Rice and Onion Soup—are sublimely simple. Coming along later, Calais Crab and Seafood Soup and Beef, Sausage, Ham and Rabbit Soup are considerably more challenging. Even so, directions are clear and unambiguous and the results from a few hours in the kitchen promise a tableful of happy eaters. On the easier side, it would be hard to resist Garlic Cream Soup with Snails, which takes those little creatures to new heights of savory richness. Butter and cream, of course, are frequent components, although not excessively so. While the price may be steep considering the many soup books available, this is an admirable collection, nicely designed and with striking photos by Don Smith.
Reviewed on: 08/05/2002