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October 2006 Cookbook of the Month: Cast Your Votes Here

October brings shorter days, cooler weather, and the end of the autumn harvest. Since in many parts of the country it's still nice enough to be outdoors during daylight hours, I thought we could choose a cookbook that emphasizes one-pot cooking. These recipes are hearty, filling choices that reheat well and can simmer on the stove for a long time without a lot of checking. Cleanup is minimal.

Both books employ braising as a technique: one focuses on it more while the other employs it in some recipes. Even those cooks who are experts at braising will, I hope, be encouraged to try some combinations they haven't before. (And personally, I have a brand new enameled dutch oven I can't wait to break in.)

Our choices are:
-- ALL ABOUT BRAISING by Molly Stevens. This cookbook goes into great detail about the technique of braising, and also includes a wide range of recipes (not only meats, but vegetables and seafood as well).
-- SOUPS, STEWS, AND ONE POT MEALS by Tom Valenti. This cookbook focuses on one pot cooking and includes soups, stews, chilis, pastas, etc. A lot of traditional recipes (such as macaroni and cheese or beef borguignon) are updated with more modern ingredients and streamlined to be cooked in one pot.

So there you have it, folks. Please post your votes here until midnight (PST) Thursday the 28th of September. I'll announce the October cookbook on Friday and begin setting up the threads.

And one final note-- since we got a late start in September, if some hounds would like to continue cooking from Marcella Hazan's Essentials, please feel free to do so. We'll leave those threads open for now.

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  1. My vote is for Soups, Stews, and One Pot Meals, but I'm sure All About Braising will win anyway! I checked out All About Braising once before and just wasn't inspired, but maybe that will change once everyone starts cooking from it.

    1. OMG, I knew I should have gotten SSO when I saw it on sale today. I'm going to tentatively vote for it and hope it's still at the store when I go back next week.

      1. Does your last sentence mean that the threads will eventually be closed? I was wondering about that...

        I'm fine w/ either book. I have AAB and just requested a copy of the Valenti book from my library. Thanks for leading us on this wonderful group project!

        1. My vote is for All About Braising. I like how there are recipes for short braises as well as longer ones. Some of the recipes look like I can throw together dinner v. spending all day waiting for the dish to finsih (I can do that on a weekend).

          Regardless, I am in either way

          Thanks for giving us focus and direction Redwood2bay.

          1. My vote is for All About Braising. It's good for experienced cooks 'cause it has a wide range of tasty-sounding dishes and for the novice braiser, lots of discussion of technique to inspire confidence.

            1. I'm not familiar with either book and will happily do which ever is chosen.

                1. I would pick All About Braising since I already have that one.

                  Sarah C

                  1. I'll pass for October. Neither book appeals, they are just rehashes of things that are in many other books.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Candy

                      I'm with Candy on this one. I have far too many other books with greater appeal. See you all in November.

                      1. re: cheryl_h

                        If you are in the Bay Area, it could well be extremely warm here then. Braising could be miserable.

                        1. re: wally

                          Well in Indiana we are still running the air-conditioner. We've had a few cool days. But again that is not a book I need and braising is just a natural all winter and just a part of cooking I do with a natural instinct. BTW the kale I braised and reported on laszt weekend was a wonderful thing.

                        2. re: cheryl_h

                          Sorry to hear that you won't be participating this month, cheryl and Candy, but I understand. Not every cookbook is for every cook--

                          Please keep an eye out for the November voting, which will happen October 10th. We look forward to having you with us again next month.

                          1. re: redwood2bay

                            Is this something new from Chow or Chowhound? Or are you just a regular poster?

                            1. re: theotherhalfofdh

                              redwood2bay is just one of us with a great idea. Here's how it started:


                              1. re: theotherhalfofdh

                                Thanks, JoanN. Yes, just a regular hound who seriously underestimated how much time it would take to keep up with all the threads. But the cookbook of the month project has been fun so far, join us!

                        3. They both sound perfect for the season. I vote for AAB since I have already purchased it.

                          1. I think AAB sounds great and can't wait to join this initiative! What a great idea!

                            1. Since I already have AAB (in fact, planning on making the Sausages & Plums Braised in Red Wine, and the Bacon and Leek Tart this weekend!), that's my vote. However, Valenti's book sounds great too and I'd be interested in that also.

                              1. I've requested AAB from the library, but the other one looks good as well. Both look like excellent choices now that the cool weather is upon us.

                                1. all about braising gets my vote, i've checked out a few recipes and it sounds very autumn-y and warm!

                                  1. I'll vote SSO since I just invested in my first crock pot, but I'm excited to join either way!

                                    1. My vote's for One Pot Meals!

                                        1. I would like All About Braising.

                                          1. Another vote for All About Braising!

                                              1. AAB, because I have it.

                                                1. when will the final decision be made? so we can go out and get the book? it's september 28!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: ceeceee

                                                    Redwood2bay says above that votes will be taken til midnight Thurs. and that she will announce the outcome Fri. and set up respective threads. I haven't tallied, but it seems pretty close. Thanks again, R2B!

                                                  2. ok, great...i can make a trip to B&N over the weekend!!!
                                                    yes and thanks redwood bay, great job!

                                                    1. I vote for AAB but will do either one. Thanks RW2B!

                                                      1. I'm for SSO, as it's right up my alley

                                                        1. I'm going to put in a vote for AAB. I think after all I've seen on this site about that book I might have to get it no matter what.:)

                                                            1. AAB, please. Just ordered it.

                                                              1. I'm ready to braise!

                                                                1. All About Braising. Available at my Library.

                                                                  1. I am new and would like info on how to get involved with this, if my vote counts, One pot meals.

                                                                    Please respond to let me know how to access last months cookbook, is it on the web?

                                                                    1. May I offer a suggestion? I participate in a craft forum in which members will start a project-a-long, so to speak, where the OP starts a craft project and invites others to do the same project and compare notes. Each project has its own thread.

                                                                      What I think would work well is for each cookbook to have its own thread (and leader). That way, there's only one person/leader per project/book and no time limit. People could start a cookbook that they felt enthused about or join in (or not, as the case may be). Ideally, this kind of thing would have its own forum, so right under the Home Cooking forum link you could find the Cookbook-a-long forum link(or however it would be titled).

                                                                      Just a thought!

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Kiyah

                                                                        Kiyah, such a helpful suggestions!

                                                                        It might be just the thing for participants who want to concentrate on one specific chef/cookbook, or technique and help each person interested focus there.

                                                                        I also like your suggestion about one person (leader) per thread so that no one feels overwhelmed any given month or actually has a cookbook preference. How does your crafting forum communicate each months leader/choice to the entire forum separate from the activity thread? Very helpful.

                                                                        Question to others: Will the results/experiences of those who participated in Sept choice post on the Sept thread or will a new thread be created for that?

                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                          All communication is done with the thread. The poster simply posts with the title of the project. For example, someone who wanted to do Bayless's Mexican Everyday would just title their thread "Bayless's Mexican Everyday cookbook-a-long (or whatever)" and then, in the message, describe the details. Then it can run as long as there is interest in it.

                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                            While I agree it would be great to have a separate forum for the Cookbook project, one thread per book wouldn't work. Even the five threads on "Essentials" was unwieldy (Redwood will even be adding another next month just for reviews of recipes Hounds have already tried). For example, the pasta thread has almost 100 posts alone:


                                                                            1. re: Rubee

                                                                              Rubee, I think just about any idea has a shot at working, but I don't believe it is necessary to over think this projects setup. Suggestions are only that.

                                                                              What I am finding a tiny bit daunty is locating each thread connected to this projects ongoing results. I had no idea the pasta thread existed.

                                                                              Thanks for the reply.

                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                One thing that might help is bookmarking the threads, and turning to "my chow" to find them. I always forget to do this but it really is a cool feature and that way you'll have all the various threads about Marcella, or All About Braising, or whatever in one place.

                                                                                1. re: yumyum

                                                                                  THAT is so helpful, tyou yumyum

                                                                        2. Just a heads up to Boston hounds: ABB is in the remainders at the Book Fair.

                                                                          Also spotted in remainders today: Mangoes and Curry Leaves; Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet; Frank Stitt's Southern Table; Bouchon; French Laundry. Couldn't take any more temptation, and had to skeedaddle so don't know what else was recently put out.

                                                                          I love that place.

                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                          1. re: mirage

                                                                            Oh mirage -- you wicked wicked poster! I made a solemn pledge not to buy another cookbook until I'd worked my way thru Molto Mario (great so far) and the New Spanich Table (a cookbook you want to curl up with in bed, chock full of information.) Now you tell me this. Oh geez. Oh my.

                                                                            1. re: yumyum

                                                                              Believe me, I know! Despite a similar vow, I came home with Southern Table and Mangoes and Curry Leaves (already owned ABB, HSSS, and Bouchon.) Rapidly running out of space!

                                                                              1. re: mirage

                                                                                Those are excellent additions. Love both of them. They are also just great reads too. Curl up and just dive in. Both are fascinating.

                                                                            2. re: mirage

                                                                              How much was ABB at New England Mobile Bookfair? Trying to decide whether or not it is worth my while to buy this book v. using the library's copy. (If I love the library copy, it will go on my xmas list).

                                                                              Also, were there numerous copies on the remainder table?

                                                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                $12.98 and there were, maybe, 10? Gotta hurry!

                                                                            3. I'd vote for AAB, since I just bought it!

                                                                              1. Hello, hounds!

                                                                                It looks like our choice for October is All About Braising by Molly Stevens. Thanks for your votes.

                                                                                I'll be posting all the new threads in the next two days. Keep an eye out for them! And happy braising--

                                                                                1. I'll join in if its SSO - its too early in the year for extensive braising.