“Mr. Sunday’s Soups”

“Mr. Sunday’s Soups”

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“Mr. Sunday’s Soups” by Lorraine Wallace, John Wiley & Sons Publishing, December 10, 2010, 240 pp., $19.95.

In the forward, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace wrote for his wife Lorraine’s new cookbook, “Mr. Sunday’s Soups,” he offers some soft glimpses of their blended family life (when they married, Chris Wallace had four children, Lorraine had two) and how meaningful it’s been to gather together for meals. He and his legendary father, Mike Wallace, the famed CBS 60 Minutes interviewer, got to know each other best as they got older, sitting around a kitchen table in New York or at the Wallace family summer home in Vineyard Haven.

Chris Wallace writes: “The times when we really talk — are at the table. For all the Wallaces, meals aren’t just when we eat. It’s where we congregate, catch up, and have our best conversations. It’s where we live the traditions of our family.”

It is a theme Lorraine Wallace carries throughout her book, with posed photographs of the family, notes about friends and various helpers, and asides about this and that one’s flavor favorites. Fitting, because the premise of Ms. Wallace’s collection of soup recipes is based on the fact that she served a different soup every Sunday just after 11:30 am, when husband Chris returned from hosting “Fox News Sunday,” before their son Remick dashed off for his various sport activities, and the family scattered. It was a ritual that developed a reputation, gained a name, “Soup Sunday,” and apparently, created a pause in everyone’s routine that brought the family together.

Although Ms. Wallace is not a professional cook, she is an accomplished vegetable, herb, and flower gardener, knowledgeable in organic ingredients. The soup cookbook was done with help from Brigit Binns, a professional food editor and writer with 23 cookbooks (nine for Williams-Sonoma) to her credit. Accompanied by scrumptious-looking photos by Alexandra Grablewski, she has compiled just under 80 recipes, impressive for their variety and tasty ingredients.

The recipes are both old favorites — some with surprising touches — and others ethnic or new fangled. In all cases, the ingredients are listed to the side, and the step-by-step instructions are clearly explained. In each case, no matter how fancy a soup might sound, the directions make it seem easy to make. There are many instances when the recipes include tips, such as what to do when you forgot to soak the beans overnight, or how much in advance you can prepare the soup.

They are grouped first by season. Fall includes Pumpkin Pear Soup, a soup that’s served at the restaurant in the U.S. Senate; Carrot Soup with Sage and Popcorn; along with staples such as Butternut Squash, Turkey and Wild Rice, and Chicken Noodle. Winter’s selections include Beef Barley, Irish Stew, French Onion, and Mexican Albondigas. For Spring, there’s Broccolini-spring Onion, Chicken Garlic Straciatella, Greek Lemon Soup, and a Salmon Chowder made with (among other things) bacon, celery root, new potatoes, and lemon zest.

The sections begin with an introduction by Ms. Wallace that introduce a special friend or cook, and provide background and tidbits of her personal life.

The last three sections of “Mr. Sunday’s Soups” are Friends and Family Favorites (21 Club Chilled Senegalese Soup) Game Day Favorites (an assortment of chili dishes and Baked Potato Soup) and a section on the basics of making beef, fish, chicken, and vegetable broth. Everything one needs.

Ms. Wallace writes, “Every soup you will read about in this book has its own story. Each comes from a trip or a new food passion of mine. They come from our family’s experiences — and sharing them has created new experiences.”