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Sip some soup while checking out these cookbooks

By Susan Triplett
Rowan Public Library
The shift in the seasons to cooling temperatures and lengthening evenings often brings a welcome switch of mealtime choices.
Add the incentive of a painful economic slump, and the timing is nearly sublime for return to a supper classic: The pairing of a full-bodied soup with fresh, fragrant bread.
Rowan Public Library invites you to explore its hearty collection of bread and soup cookbooks. RPL also subscribes to an array of excellent magazines which typically include a worldly cuisine of stocks, soups, muffins and breads of all descriptions. Come on in and take a chance on getting downright inspired.
The library’s breadmaking how-to books include volumes devoted to quick breads. These may not only hook the novice baker but also soothe any baker’s angst about time shortages. As one such book, “Fast Bread,” by Howard Early and Glenda Morrison, inventively offers the delights of Beer and Cheese Muffins, Potato Crackers and even Baked Boston Brown Bread, to name but a few. Recipes are generally geared for total prep and bake times combined of no more than 30-40 minutes and use easy to find or on-hand ingredients.
At the other end of the bread manuals, the aspiring baker can delve into more complex and time-consuming selections which focus on yeast breads. Some of these books, such as “The Laurel Kitchen’s Bread Book,” by Laurel Robertson, and “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice,” by Peter Reinhart, render their offerings philosophically and with equal parts care, attention and joy. Sidebars providing detailed definitions, measuring equivalents and bakerly musings are helpful and entertaining.
Robertson’s book starts off with “a loaf for learning” and it is just that. The Reinhart book presents recipes for many favorites, including sourdough, brioche, stollen and French and Italian breads. “Baking with Julia,” based on the Julia Child PBS series, offers a particularly inviting section on rustic or artisanal breads, loaves resplendent with earthy and herbal flavors, crackling crusts and moist interiors. The library’s holdings address the other half of the bread and soup duo with a similarly diverse selection. “The Wooden Spoon,” by Marilyn More, bursts with home-style soups, chowders, stews, chilis and gumbos.
This book provides a very readable, easy format and a fine complement of basic soup terminology. Recipes often call for leftovers or on-hand ingredients, such as in the fixings of Tomato and Bread Soup. The author includes an unusual assortment of fruit-based soups.
“Soup’s On!” by Janet Lembke, walks the reader through 60 ó yes, 60 ó flavorful soup concoctions with clear instructions and colorful photos. Information about substitutions as well as the origins of different types of soup is also provided and narrative sections are kept simple and to the point.
A recent issue of Cook’s Country magazine reproduces a rich, reader-supplied recipe for Hearty Vegetable Soup which can’t be beat for a minimum of time and fuss. Try pairing this with one of the rustic bread loaves or some quick bread muffins.A meal of soup and bread can indeed be both an appropriate seasonal choice and an asset to the family food budget. This is fundamental creature comfort fare, yet so much more. Gathering around a duo of such satisfying substance can grace family mealtimes with shared food truly for the soul.
See you at the library for a bon appetit of breads and soups.
Computer classes: South ó Oct. 28, 11 a.m. online auction buying.
Web site: For a listing of all library programs at all library locations, www.rowanpubliclibrary.org.

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