Friday 6 October 2006

The Secrets of Jesuit Soupmaking: A Year of Our Soups by: Brother Rick Curry S.J.

The Secrets of Jesuit Soupmaking
A Year of Our Soups
Brother Rick Curry S.J.
Penguin Compass
ISBN: 014219610X

“There is something so comforting about soup. It touches something deeply rooted in our lives.” p. 5. This book is a journey around the world and through the year.

The soups are divided into church seasons: Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. It is filled with interesting stories and anecdotes from Curry’s travels and from Jesuit history and lore.

The recipes are great and the tales make them nourishing for the soul as well as the body. With soups from around the world and tales of travels, life, loss and joy, the book will be a pleasure to read. Savor the words of wisdom as you enjoy the soups.

Rick Curry entered the Society of Jesus in 1961. In the last forty years he has been an actor, baker, teacher and author. He founded the National Theatre Workshop of the Handicapped, a nonprofit acting school for persons with disabilities. With both a masters and doctorate in arts, he has created the first residential center for arts for persons with disabilities.

What I love most about this book, is how the author opens up to us, his life, travels and his religious order Te Society of Jesus or, as they are more commonly known, Jesuits. Curry shares stories about the Jesuit community, but he also makes the distinction between myth and truth; he quotes a brother Jesuit John Courtney Murray who stated: “A myth is that which never happened, but is forever true.” In this book he tries to capture that spirit with both the soups and the stories. He tries to capture the learning and memory of Jesuits around the world.

Nice thing about the recipes, they are all accessible. There is nothing worse than picking up a cookbook and having to find out what the ingredients are and traveling all over to track them down. These recipes do not fall into that category; any student could find the items at the local grocery store. The meals are easy to prepare, and with such a great variety, could give you a new soup a week for more than a year. Many of the soups also offer variations for even greater variety. For example, there is a recipe for basic Chowder that has variations for Clam, Crab or Corn. In comparison to Soup Crazy, a cookbook by What’s for Dinner? Host Ken Kostick, all of these recipes are accessible to the average student’s kitchen. You won’t need special pots or utensils, or a dictionary to figure out what the instructions mean.

This book will help keep you warm in body and in spirit. It would be a great addition to a student’s kitchen or even any soup-lover’s bookshelf. Pick it up and give some of the soups a try - your stomach will thank you. If you want a real challenge he also wrote a book called Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking, and what could be better than homemade bread and soup for supper on a cold fall evening.

(First Published in Imprint 2006-10-06 as ‘Soups for the Soul’)

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