I develop all my soup recipes with the home cook foremost in mind, and from every comment I hear, I have come to the conclusion that most cooks find making homemade soup stock before proceeding with a soup recipe a real imposition—maybe even a deterrent. Almost all cookbooks use stock as the essential ingredient for a good soup recipe, which at the outset excludes the earnest but busy cook, or forces him or her to settle for an inferior commercial soup base.

The good news is that you can make a delicious soup from one of my soup recipes using water as “stock.” I’m the water Soup Recipe Girl, and mighty proud of it! Until recently, I used to trick my untrickable mother (who fed us wonderful soups made with chicken or meat every other night: then again, that was practically our dinner) and tell her a soup recipe she liked was made with stock, and she would invariably exclaim triumphantly, “Ha! See what a difference it makes?” Trust me. If I could make a convert out of her, you should be no problem at all. You will never miss homemade stock in any of my soup recipes.