Celebrate the Joy of Soup with Lethbridge Public Library

Andrea Bourque-White, Library Assistant, Lethbridge Public Library

When I started dating my husband, he wasn’t a fan of soups. He grew up on canned soups that were bland and lacked hearty sustenance. In his mother’s defense, though, they were easy to prepare and quickly fed four active boys. Over the years and many recipes later, I’ve converted him into a soup fan, which I encourage everyone to become. As such, the Lethbridge Public Library’s Joy of Cookbooks program is celebrating the joy of soup this month. 

This often under-rated meal can be quick to put together (even when made from scratch) and is a great way to use up ingredients you have on hand, or that can easily be picked up at the store. You don’t need anything fancy to make a batch of soup, though, one of the current trends is to make your own broth or stock using meat/poultry bones and vegetables, which can seem daunting. However, many cooks such as Rebecca Katz, cookbook author of Clean Soups, shows that it can be easy to make stock/broth that is flavourful, doesn’t have high levels of sodium, and are packed with nutrients and minerals that will nourish your body while filling up your belly.

Soups are customizable based on what you’re craving and what you have available. Why not make use of those healthy seasonal ingredients from the farmer’s market? Or save money by using inexpensive grains and pulses? Or clean out the leftovers and odds and ends from your fridge and pantry? Turn ordinary ingredients such as chicken, rice, and lemon into a delicious bowl of Avgolemono (Greek soup) with Roslyne Buchanan’s recipe from The Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers Cookbook (edited by Sharon Hampton).

We don’t often think about how spices such as ginger and turmeric, or even lemongrass tea can be added to soups for a punch of flavour; plus, can also help to soothe tummies that might be feeling under the weather. The Coconut and Lime Sweet Potato Dal from Claire Tansey’s latest cookbook Dinner Uncomplicated has tonnes of flavour from a combination of rich coconut milk, a hint of lime, and lots of warm spices such cinnamon, curry, and chili flakes.

Don’t forget that you can take your soup to the next level by serving it with a variety of garnishes: fresh bread for sopping up the last dredges of the bowl, crunchy herbed croutons, savory bacon bits, creamy goat cheese, buttery toasted pumpkin seeds…the options are endless.

When making your soup, don’t be tempted to just throw all of your ingredients into the pot at once. It saves on time but, like with any recipe, certain ingredients need more time to cook than others. You certainly don’t want an unexpected mouthful of raw or overcooked ingredients.

I hope this inspires you to try a new soup recipe and share it with your loved ones, as soup is the ultimate comfort food that shows you care.

The Library’s Joy of Cookbooks is currently meeting virtually on the Library’s Facebook (facebook.com/lethlib) and Twitter (@lethlib) pages. Join us each week for new recipes, cooking tips and tricks, and culinary discussions. And visit our website lethlib.ca to explore our cookbook collection for yourself.