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Always a good time for a nice, steaming bowl of soup—Twelve Months of Monastery Soups by Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette

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I love soup. I mean I really loTwelve Monthsve soup, anytime of year. When I was in 5th or 6th grade, one of the questions we were asked for the little photocopied “yearbook” we received was, “What’s your favorite food?” I don’t remember if I caved and went with pizza like all the other cool kids or if I bravely recorded the truth, my Mom’s (formerly my grandmother’s) delicious made-from-scratch chicken soup. To this day, Mom’s chicken soup is the best; I could eat it every day and never tire of it. I really love soup.

Soups were on my mind when I borrowed Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette’s Twelve Months of Monastery Soups. It’s not often that I borrow cookbooks from the library. I already have a ton of untested recipes to try at home, but this one caught my eye. Maybe I was drawn to my image of a monk’s simple meal, a steaming bowl of soup with some crusty bread on the side. Or maybe I was just in the mood for soup.

There are recipes here, as the title suggests, for every month of the year to coincide with when ingredients are in season. Since borrowing it, my family and I have enjoyed several of the January selections–Mushroom Soup a la Marie-Louise, Artichoke and Potato Soup (Artichokes in soup? Who would believe it would be so yummy?), and Chickpea Soup a la Provencale. All were delicious and invigorating. The ingredients are simple and earthly. Nothing I couldn’t pronounce or wouldn’t know where to find in the grocery store. And the fragrance! Simply the delightful scent of home cooking in my kitchen. I felt like such an inspired gourmand, wearing my colorfully striped apron and listening to classical music while I sautéed the onion, celery and carrots for the mushroom soup. A nice touch are the quotes and tips scattered throughout the book.

Not sure what I’ll try in February (I’ve renewed the book for another 3 weeks). Will it be Old-fashioned Cream of Leek, Country Mushroom and Sour Cream Soup or Ravioli Potage? Who cares?! It’s all delicious soup!