07 January 2023

Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread by Crescent Dragonwagon (Weekend Cooking)

Cookbook cover showing a drawing of soup and bread with flowers on the borderHappy new year to all of you! I hope your holidays and holiday cooking were fabulous.

Today I want re-introduce you to one of my favorite cookbook authors. I first wrote about Crescent Dragonwagon on my blog in 2009! One of the cookbooks I raved about was her wonderful Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread cookbook. I bought my hardcover edition in 1992, when the cookbook was first published by Workman. Over the years, I am still cooking from Soup & Bread, and my copy has a permanent place on the kitchen bookshelf, where only my most-loved and most-used cookbooks live.

Last fall, I was surprised and thrilled to learn that the University of Arkansas Press published a 30th Anniversary Edition of the Soup & Bread cookbook so a whole new generation of cooks can fall in love with it. Thanks to them and to Crescent for sending me the updated edition.

Oh, um, let me step back a minute. The recipes in Soup & Bread are so good and so solid that the only major change to the new cookbook is a new introduction, in which Crescent tells us more about the history of the Dairy Hollow Inn, her life since the inn closed, and her thoughts on contemporary ingredients and ways of eating, and information on the Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow.

Don't skip the intro, because this is where you'll find tips for converting recipes to gluten-free, vegetarian, and/or vegan and tips for working with store-bought produce. After that, the anniversary edition is a reprint of the near-perfect original cookbook.

If you've been around for a while, you know I'm always on the look-out for lunch ideas. Even after 38 years of working from home, I have few go-tos. Here's where soup--and this cookbook--comes to the rescue. I've learned that if I make a pot of soup once a week and save it specifically for lunches (and the occasional, "oops we need something for dinner" nights), we're eating well all year round. This is why Soup & Bread is in steady use at my house.

So what's inside the covers of the cookbook? First up are the chapters on stocks and flavor boosters (what we now call umami). I admit, I don't always make my own stock, but when I do, I'm usually starting with one of Crescent's recipes. The following chapters focus on chicken, fish, vegetables, a basic soup with variations, bean soups, gumbos, dairy soups, fruit soups and nut soups. But don't stop reading there! Soup & Bread ends with a bread chapter (yeast, muffins, rolls, biscuits) and a salad chapter (with some excellent dressings).

I was looking through my stained and well-used Soup & Bread cookbook this week and thought I'd share some recipes and proof of how often I use it.

  • The Mushroom Barley Soup recipe page is so stained, the page is wrinkled.
  • One of the places Soup & Bread opens up to is the Italian-Style soup recipe, perfect for using summer veggies and herbs.
  • Another crease in the book is at the Cuban Black Bean Soup. I've written in instructions for making this in my pressure cooker.
  • I have three big stars on the page for Greek Lentil and Spinach Soup with Lemon.
  • I have notes on almost all the ingredients for the Harira recipe. I remember wanting to make it but not really having all the needed ingredients in the house; I recorded my substitutions.
  • There's a permanent bookmark at the Greek Navy Bean Soup recipe.
  • There's another crease at the Cream of Leek, Herb, and Garden Lettuce Soup. It's a godsend when there's just too much lettuce in the house or garden.
  • The page for Rabbit Hill Inn Oatmeal-Molasses Bread has flour in the spine, and I've made some notes for using a machine for kneading and for making 1 loaf and 3 loaves.
  • Finally, I found the well-used page with the Whole-Wheat Butterhorns recipe. The notes on that page include when I served them to guests.
I can't recommend The Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread Cookbook by Crescent Dragonwagon more highly. Any cookbook that stands the test of time--30 years!--in my kitchen and in kitchens everywhere, deserves a place in yours too. No matter your dietary concerns, you'll find plenty of recipes to nourish you and your family and friends. Take advantage of this anniversary edition so you too can have a pot of soup simmering on the stove.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)


Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 1/7/23, 7:34 AM  

This sounds like a cookbook that has received much love in your house.

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 1/7/23, 8:05 AM  

I love finding her books when I am out book browsing. Just her name alone makes one want to know more about her!

gluten Free A_Z Blog 1/7/23, 9:27 AM  

I used to love to find old cookbooks , but I have to admit that I use the Internet mostly for my recipes. Any cookbook with soup I would love.

Tina 1/7/23, 10:00 AM  

That's a wonderful recommendation. I like some of the recipes you've mentioned in your post and am intrigued by the Greek navy bean soup.

Mary R. 1/7/23, 10:31 AM  

This book brings back memories of my first job as a librarian. Ms. Dragonwagon used the library where I worked for some of her research and this book seemed great to me, but as a single 20-something I was unlikely to bake bread or make pots of soup with any regularity. I may need to treat myself to the anniversary edition now that I am in a very different season of life.

Jackie McGuinness 1/7/23, 11:18 AM  

Darn! I can't find an e-version at the library. I might have to buy it...
I like soups too for lunch. I have the Christmas turkey stock in the freezer at the moment. I also have the lamb bone stock in the freezer to which I had also added the vegetable water from the potatoes and other vegetables I had boiled for mash during the week.
I am cooking ham tonight so looking forward to a pea soup.
Now that the holidays are over and there is room in the freezer I will go back to collecting all the vegetable bits and pieces for adding to stock.
Ends of onions, stalks of other vegetables.

Jackie McGuinness 1/7/23, 11:28 AM  

P.S. I did find it at the bookstore. I am also looking at some of her recipes online which sent me down a rabbit hole about making cornbread for soup this week!

Vicki 1/7/23, 2:20 PM  

I love soup and breads so I'll be looking for a copy of this!

KCsewer 1/7/23, 4:21 PM  

CD's Spanish-style Pea soup from the original Soup & Bread cookbook is one of my best soup recipes of all time.

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