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April 28, 2010

Cookbook: The Soup Peddler's Slow & Difficult Soups

Soup Peddler cookbook 

I've always had a soft spot for career changers and soup makers. David Ansel, author of The Soup Peddler's Slow & Difficult Soups: Recipes & Reveries, is both: a computer guy in Austin, Texas, who quit his job and, lacking a plan or money to pay the rent, started selling soup to a small group of friends and neighbors. Word spread, the group expanded, and David found himself pedaling his cobbled-together yellow bicycle all over town every weekend, towing a little trailer filled with the soups he made in borrowed restaurant kitchen space. The book introduces you to the character of the Bouldin Creek community, and to the characters who live there, many of whom have shared their favorite soup recipes with The Soup Peddler. Every soup tells a story, and in this charming and often hilarious book, the stories will make you fall in love with the recipes before you taste one single spoonful of soup.

Slow & Difficult Soups includes 35 interesting soup recipes, many of which are vegetarian and most of which, despite the title of the book, are not difficult at all. I had planned to make a soup for you, but I got so caught up in the reveries that I forgot to choose a recipe. So, I'll leave the choice to you.

Which of these soup recipes shall we try?

  • Bouktouf, an Algerian vegetarian soup made with potatoes, zucchini, cilantro and lemon
  • Soupe au pistou le Montilles, a French vegetable, bean and pasta soup, with garlicky basil pesto
  • Shorbat rumman, a Middle Eastern split pea soup with lime, mint and pomegranate
  • Ukranian borscht, with cabbage, potatoes and, of course, beets
  • Chao tom, a Vietnamese soup with rice, bok choy and shrimp
Leave your choice in the comments, and I'll get to work. 

I'm so glad to have The Soup Peddler's Slow & Difficult Soups in my cookbook collection. I know you'll love it, too.


Posted by: Paul | April 29, 2010 at 01:57 AM

I'm for the one with pomegranate.

Posted by: Milton | April 29, 2010 at 03:09 AM

bouktouf is my choice.

Posted by: lobstersquad | April 29, 2010 at 04:55 AM

bouktouf. with that wonderful name, it must taste pretty great too

Posted by: Robyn | April 29, 2010 at 06:37 AM


Posted by: deb | April 29, 2010 at 06:43 AM

bouktouf please. sounds exotic and different!

Posted by: Pauline | April 29, 2010 at 07:26 AM

Soupe au pistou is my choice. Can you go wrong with garlicky basil pesto??

Posted by: Colleen | April 29, 2010 at 08:34 AM

bouktouf - sounds like I'd make it again and again...

Posted by: Elizabeth Brooks | April 29, 2010 at 09:31 AM

au pistou, but I'd really like them all since all sound marvelous!

Posted by: Wendy | April 29, 2010 at 09:54 AM

I'd go with the wisdom of the crowd-bouktouf ---my husband is a vegetarian and loves potatoes so could be a winner in my kitchen.

Posted by: Teresa in North Carolina | April 29, 2010 at 12:08 PM

The Vietnamese soup sounds good to me!

Posted by: Kirsten | April 29, 2010 at 12:49 PM

Lovely, lovely lovely post! Your love of soup came through so brilliantly! I am torn between the bouktouf and the shorbat rumman (I'm so intrigued by pomegranate right now). But both look amazing!

Posted by: CJ McD | April 29, 2010 at 08:46 PM

Chao tom,

Posted by: April in CT | April 29, 2010 at 09:10 PM

I'm voting Chao tom!

Posted by: Judy | April 30, 2010 at 08:04 AM

What a great story! My vote is for Shorbat rumman - what an intriguing combination of flavors!

Posted by: Kalynskitchen | April 30, 2010 at 10:09 AM

They all sound good, but soupe au pistou would be my choice because I have pistou in the freezer that I need to use!

Posted by: Carole Ziegler | April 30, 2010 at 03:55 PM

•Soupe au pistou le Montilles sounds the best to me but they all sound really good..I look forward to trying whichever recipe you choose.

Posted by: susan g | May 1, 2010 at 04:33 PM

Borscht -- there are beets in the fridge waiting for a recipe...
I bought this book after hearing about it on NPR, and I love it. I've made Armenian Apricot Soup (with red lentils -- and pears instead of apricots): excellent. And excellent reading.

Posted by: Susan H | May 28, 2011 at 03:29 AM

•Soupe au pistou le Montilles would be my first choice - second choice would be the Bouktouf with a substitution for the zucchini

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  • I'm Lydia Walshin, a longtime food writer who lives and cooks in a real log house. If I could, I'd eat Chinese noodles, grapes, ice cream and soup every day.
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