I’m a sucker for a good mnemonic.
“My very educated mother just served us nine pizzas” was the first thing I learned. It’s a way of remembering the planets in our solar system, in order of proximity to the sun (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and — believe it best — Pluto).
My other favorite mnemonic is “King Philip Called Out for Good Soup.” This is used to remember the order of the taxonomy (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species).
Which brings me (in a very roundabout way) to the subject of this column: soup. Not just any soup – a good soup. Because January is International Soup Month, and if you need soup inspiration, we’ve got you covered.
We have an extensive collection of cookbooks at the library, full of classics and modern hits. Feeling adventurous? Check out Vegan Fake-Out for a hot and sour soup recipe that “will tickle your taste buds and awaken your senses with a touch of fresh chilli” or Chaat: Recipes from Indian Kitchens, Markets and Railways for a Thukpa (Chicken Soup with noodles) which “delivers the same comforting aspects of the chicken soup we know and love, but with a twist”.
Want to cook together with the terroir? Try the tomato and squash soup from Molly On The Range: Recipe Sand Stories From An Improbable Life On A Farm. Or open Niqiliurniq: A Cookbook From Igloolik and try making their Arctic Char Chowder: “a hearty, creamy, hearty meal, a soul-warming soup.” Or you can head outside for food once you’ve picked up Cooking Wild and discovered their chilled green pea soup with purslane.
Looking to incorporate new ingredients? Try the Meatball Chrysanthemum Soup from Kim Thuy’s Secrets From My Vietnamese Kitchen, or the Tomato Matzo Ball Soup with Pickled Garlic Chives from Modern Kosher: Global Flavors, New Traditions. You can also grab The Baja California Cookbook and try your hand at a historic Caguamanta recipe – an old baja turtle stew, made with ray wing (I don’t know what half of those words mean – and the other half, I wish I hadn’t made him known).
Cookbooks aren’t the only option we offer. We also have wonderful cooking magazines, none better than Cook’s Illustrated, my favorite magazine of all time. We also have an amazing selection of online magazines (accessible through the Libby app) which includes familiar magazines like Bon Appetit and Saveur and Cooking Light, as well as niche titles like Paleo Recipes and Plant-Based Recipes and Simply Bread.
Need cooking instructions? Our online learning platform Gale Courses offers cooking lessons. And if you want to teach your little ones to cook, we’ve got a great selection of children’s cookbooks below to help.
Want to support the library? Grab a copy of our library cookbook, Pairings, on sale now for just $15!
And one last helpful tip: if you’re dreading showing up at the library and you’ve forgotten the names of all the cookbooks I’ve mentioned in this article, just create a short and simple mnemonic for VFCMOTRNCWSFMVKMKBCC.
Avi Silberstein is a children’s librarian at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every two weeks. If you want to learn more about the library’s programs and services, sign up for our monthly newsletter on our website or by calling us.