Meredith Deeds, author of "300 Sensational Soups" offers these suggestions:

Sauté the vegetables before adding them to the stock. This brings out the sweetness and flavor of the vegetables.

Season the soup at the end of cooking. This takes it from being just OK to sensational. Add salt and pepper, of course. Acid is an important element in cooking. A touch of lemon juice or vinegar can often take something with a flat flavor and bump it up to make other ingredients shine.

Garnish the soup before serving. Even chopped fresh parsley works, as does a crouton. Garnishes are easy and make ordinary soup special.

Soup can be more than a main course. Try a dessert soup -- which is light, refreshing and unexpected. "300 Sensational Soups" includes a whole chapter on dessert soups, including one for an orange and muscat soup with mascarpone.

Most soups are better the next day. The flavors continue to marry and blend and become more complex as they sit.