"It's on its fourth printing," Wallace says. "Twenty-five thousand copies. I'm stunned."
Her book's trajectory has something to do with its lovable enterprise - soup for all seasons - and a built-in nationwide audience. Husband Chris was skeptical at the very idea of a book two years ago, yet he grooved the fastball that is "Mr. Sunday's Soups" (Wiley). Catchy title, and fitting: As anchor of "Fox News Sunday," he proclaimed his wife to be the show's Power Player of the Week in mid-January, conducting the interview in their Kalorama kitchen.
"She cooked well when I married her," he says, referring to the 1997 event that blended his four children and her two from their first marriages. The offspring now range in age from 21 to the mid-30s. Offering a different, quick soup each week was Lorraine's warm way of feeding a famished spouse just home from work and a son headed for a day of sports.
Her repertoire grew. Family favorites were established as the grown children came home for the holidays. Chris's famous TV journalist dad, Mike Wallace of "60 Minutes" fame, became a fan as well.
Lorraine Wallace, 51, did not cook growing up in Middleburg, but she heeded her British mother's example of using seasonal, home-grown ingredients. As a young mother, Wallace sought out organic produce to make baby food for her kids. These days, she's a regular at the FreshFarm Market in Dupont Circle. More Sunday karma.
Chris Wallace seems most impressed with Lorraine's ability to deconstruct any restaurant dish the couple may enjoy - a talent his wife modestly confirms. "He will take me out, and two days later, he's eating what we had," she says.
A quick scan of Wallace's recipes in the book yields soup standards and riffs. Closer inspection finds special touches. She'll compose a salad to scatter across or enrich the center of a bowlful; the treatment proves to be a masterstroke for her garlicky, bright-green spinach puree. Lightly dressed, tender baby spinach leaves and watercress, bursts of cherry tomato and Parmesan shavings lend texture and wink at the soup's main ingredient.
The majority of "Mr. Sunday's" soups boast plenty of vegetables, although Wallace is especially keen to tout her chili with the flavors of Buffalo wings delivered via ground turkey, hot sauce, canned tomatoes and crumbled blue cheese. It's a keeper for a family full of sports fans who like to eat while they watch games on TV, she says. She also asked permission to feature friends' recipes she had long admired.