Soups from the Kitchen of The American Academy in Rome
By Mona Talbott
Photographs Annie Schlechter
Much more than a collection of remarkable soups, Mona Talbott's Zuppe is also a wise and gentle tutorial on the "the beauty and delicious rewards of frugality" and how the humblest foods can be the most profoundly satisfying. In addition to 50 recipes, Talbott shares approaches and techniques that can change the way a cook thinks about economy, improvisation, and using all the flavors and nutrients inherent in each ingredient.
Inspired by the traditions of the "cuisine of the poor" that has been the source of so many brilliant Italian dishes, Talbott's recipes waste nothing, employ the concept of arrangiarsi ("making do"), and skillfully transform leftovers.Organized seasonally, Zuppe also serves as a practical guide to using the bounty of farmers markets throughout the year, from the Cucumber and Yogurt Soup with Mint (served over crushed ice) of summer to the Fresh Cranberry Bean, Escarole and Tomato soup of autumn. Even in the depths of winter, a cook will be energized by the prospect of Talbott's mellow and sweet Chickpea, Pumpkin and Farro Soup, or the simple-to-make yet luxurious Celery Root Soup.
Talbott's imaginative creations and variations on traditional Italian soups have all the finesse of a master chef, yet Zuppe will surely take its place among classic cookbooks not only because of the the recipes' excellence, but because of Talbott's responsive approach to our times. As she comments in the introduction, "Wholesome, egalitarian and economical, soup is the perfect food for our modern lives."
About the Author
After culinary school Mona Talbott was hired by Alice Waters to work at Chez Panisse. She later worked at Eli Zabar's Vinegar Factory and E.A.T. stores in New York, consulted for Hillary Clinton and for Bette Midler's New York Restoration Project, and as a chef for Annie Leibovitz. She has written articles and recipes forThe New York Times, Saveur, and Organic Style. She was chosen by Alice Waters to be the Executive Chef of the Rome Sustainable Food Project in 2006.
About the Photographer
Annie Schlechter has been working as a photographer since 1998. She lived from September 2009 to June 2010 at the American Academy in Rome. Her clients include The World of Interiors, House Beautiful, The New York Times Magazine, Real Simple, W magazine, Travel & Leisure, and many more.