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Soup’s On – A Culinary Reading Challenge

April 1, 2008 – March 31, 2009

UPDATE April 8, 2009:

I failed badly on completing this challenge – although I have tons of cookbooks and enjoy cooking, I found myself sticking to my old favorites this year due to a busy work schedule and a new puppy. I am still determined to cook from some of the new books I’ve accumulated in the last few years – but it won’t be for this challenge!


Sharon at Ex Libris is hosting this one – and although I tried to resist, I have discovered I am a hopeless addict when it comes to certain reading challenges…and this one combines cooking (which I LOVE). What’s a girl to do? So, I’m joining in the fun. Here are the rules:

Select six cookbooks to read (you don’t have to read each individual recipe…just enough to give an overview of the book) and make at least one of the recipes. These can be any cookbooks of your choice – brand new ones, old stand-bys that you can’t live (or cook) without, or even heirlooms. You do not have to decide on the cookbooks ahead of time (unless you want to, of course). Then post your reviews either here or on your own blog. If you want, you can even post pictures of your creations along with your reviews!

I have my favorite cookbooks of course:

  • Beth Hensperger’s Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook
  • Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking (which is more of a series of vignettes with recipes interspersed)
  • Ranck and Good’s Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook
  • Rosso & Lukins The New Basics Cookbook
  • Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (my old standby from my early 20s when I didn’t know the difference between a saucepan and a fry pan)

I might give you a review of those…but I decided since this was a challenge, I should pick cookbooks from my shelf that I’ve bought but never read, nor from which I’ve made a thing. I found five (which means, I guess, I will need to buy a new cookbook before the challenge is over *sly grin*):

  1. Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger (reviewed April 20, 2008; rated 4/5; read my review)
  2. Smith & Hawken – The Gardeners’ Community Cookbook, by Victoria Wise (reviewed April 13, 2008; rated 5/5; read my review)
  3. Best Recipes from American Country Inns and Bed & Breakfasts, by Kitty and Lucian Maynard
  4. Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by Marcella Hazan
  5. Great Good Food, by Julee Rosso


  1. March 30, 2008    

    So glad you are joining the challenge, Wendy! It sounds as though we have similar tastes in cookbooks – I have the Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook (Beth Hensperger) and the Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook (Ranck and Good). I’m so looking forward to everyone’s reviews! I know I will be adding a ton of new-to-me cookbooks to my collection 🙂

  2. March 31, 2008    

    I love Hensperger! I haven’t found a bad recipe in that cookbook EVER. Thanks for having me in the challenge 🙂

  3. pam pam
    March 31, 2008    

    I wasn’t planning on joining any more reading challenges (I can barely keep up with the few that I do), but this looks very, very doable!

  4. April 1, 2008    

    Pam: I wasn’t planning on more challenges either *laughs* But, like you, I thought this one would be easy to do 🙂

  5. April 1, 2008    

    Actually Sounds like a fun challenge and a great way to actually use cookbooks rather than let them pile up. Have fun with it!

  6. April 3, 2008    

    Love2Read: Thanks! I think it will be a fun challenges!

  7. April 4, 2008    

    Hey! I just got my first slowcooker, and that Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook looks like exactly what I’ve been needing. Thanks! Hope you enjoy the challenge.

  8. April 4, 2008    

    Yay, Dewey! Hope you like the book 🙂

  9. April 4, 2008    

    Oh my god, I love Laurie Colwin. She was an amazing writer! And she has really good, revolutionary things to say about baking bread….

  10. April 4, 2008    

    Ah, Laurie Colwin was my favorite food columnist and I grieved her early death. I saved all her food columns from Gourmet magazine in a binder – they are wonderful. Her cookbook: Home Cooking is fabulous, as is the sequel: More Home Cooking. She also wrote such great short novels – and I have all of those as well. Glad to hear from another Colwin fan!

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