Soup’s on (the bookshelf)
January 11, 2013
ASPEN – While Jennie Iverson is technically the author of “Ski Town Soups,” she feels more like a curator of recipes.
“Like an art curator who tries to pose the art in the best light possible, I tried to position the recipes in the best format I could see fit and really make them shine,” said Iverson, who lives in East Vail with her husband Ross and two sons, Hunter, age 6 and Grant, 4.
“The boys love soup,” Iverson said. “We donated a copy of the book to the VMS auction; we were dropping it off with the director and unprompted, Grant goes ‘did you know, I love soup?'”
The self-published book came out in September and Iverson has two upcoming events, one at Gorsuch in Aspen Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. during Soupsköl and another on Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. at Aspen’s Explore Booksellers.
Iverson’s love for soup began after she took a soup cooking class when her boys were young.
“I just love making soups,” she said. “I love the simmering time and how creative you can be with them. I started making tons of soups and pureeing them with an immersion blender. The kids would drink them through a straw.”
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That love of soup, combined with Iverson’s affection for ski town life and culture – she grew up in a “skiing family” in Minnesota – got an idea simmering in Iverson’s head for a coffee table-caliber cookbook.
“I wanted it to have a travel and lifestyle feel as well,” Iverson said. “Rustic yet sophisticated, with kind of an Old World, European flair to it.”
During the summer of 2011, Iverson began reaching out to restaurants and resorts, asking for recipes and photos. In all, she worked on the project for a year and a half before the first shipment showed up on her doorstep.
Many Aspen chefs and restaurants took part in the cookbook, including the J-Bar at Hotel Jerome, EightK Restaurant at the Viceroy Snowmass, Cache Cache Bistro, Merry-Go-Round, Ute City, chef Clark Church (previous owner of Garnish in Aspen and four-time Soupsköl champion). The book, which retails for $29.95, also includes a write-up on Soupsköl.
“I feel honored and blessed by the caliber of chefs in the book,” Iverson said. “We’ve got competitors from Bravo’s Top Chef, Food Network’s Iron Chef America and we have the last six winners from Aspen Soupsköl competition. There’s (recipes from) James Beard nominees, semi-finalists and winners, too. I feel like these top notch chefs get asked to do things a lot, and the fact that they decided to participate really ramped up the quality and sophistication of the book.”
Iverson has two favorite recipes in the book. First is the Hungarian mushroom soup from Deno’s Mountain Bistro in Winter Park – “It’s creamy and velvety with the earthy flavors of mushrooms and sherry and brandy – it’s so good,” Iverson said. Next up is the five onion soup from St. Bernard’s in Brighton, Utah.
“It is really, really rich and there are lots of layers of flavors,” she said. “You can make it into a French onion soup as well.”
One of Iverson’s neighbors in East Vail, Andie Andersson, owns a local catering company with her husband Mats, called The Tall Swede. So far Andersson has made three recipes from the book so far, she said.
“The cream of roasted potato soup was excellent. All the kids had second helpings,” Andersson said. “What we really love about the book is there is a beautiful picture of each dish with the recipe that gets you motivated to make it. It’s a must-have cookbook for every Vail ski or soccer mom. There are some very easy recipes and they’re all crowd pleasers.”