Noodle Soup Book Review

Noodle Soup Book Review

Title: Noodle Soup: Recipes, Techniques, Obsession
Author: Ken Albala
Published: December 20, 2017, University of Illinois Press
No. of Pages: 200
Cover Price: $21.95 Paperback, $9.99 Kindle

Ever wonder where noodle soup originated? Ken Albala wondered, and did enough research on the subject that no one else needs to do it. Albala presents all that research - actually everything you could ever want to know about noodle soup – in Noodle Soup: Recipes, Techniques, Obsession, which is an excellent cookbook with dozens of variations of noodle soup from everywhere around the world.

Although Albala has no problem using dried pasta in his noodle soups, he prefers homemade noodles when time permits, and in this cookbook, teaches us to make noodles from not only wheat flour, but also from other unique ingredients, including pig’s blood, Cheetos, potato chips, and acorns. He even explains how he made them from cricket flour once and strongly suggests that we don’t make that version. Personally, I plan to stick with the more pedestrian varieties like German Spaetzle, and Polish Kluski, as well as traditional homemade pasta that I run through my hand-crank pasta machine.

I love the international varieties of noodle soup that are included in this book, and am especially intrigued by the Fregola, which is a baked pasta from Sardinia; it is in my queue of pastas to make from this book. The book has several ways to make broth, including the trendy bone broth, and dozens of recipes for clear soups using broth and vegetables, poultry, and meats. As a big fan of caramelized onions and French onion soup, I did make the Onion Noodle Soup and it was fabulous with noodles, cheese, and onions.

The recipes in this book are not written in the traditional way – I guess it’s because Albala is a college professor and not a traditional food writer (although he has written other cookbooks). They are, however fairly easy to follow, and the prose in the book is well-written and fascinating. Albala’s sense of humor comes through which makes for fun reading. The one negative about this book is that there aren’t enough photographs of the dishes. In this modern day, there is no excuse for not including pictures of every dish. The photos that are included are excellent – there just needs to be more.

All told, Noodle Soup: Recipes, Techniques, Obsession would be a nice addition to a comprehensive recipe collection, and noodle soup lovers will welcome the recipes and new ideas, as well as the facts, history, and trivia.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.

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