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Cookbook of the Month: In Search of a New Organizer Who Can Start in March

Hello, hounds,
I hope the new year finds you all well and busily enjoying the fruits of the season. Here in the Bay Area, I am preparing for a return to a full-time job-- a second full-time job, that is, in addition to caring for two young children. Although I've been happy to see how many people have participated in the Cookbook of the Month threads, I've been disappointed in my own contributions. I simply haven't had enough time, and now I expect to have even less.

This is a new year, though, and I'm hopeful that I'll be doing more cooking and less organizing. As part of this, I'd like to ask if any hound here is interested in taking over the cookbook of the month project. If you've read the threads I've posted, you've seen the work involved. I'm planning to tally the voting and post the threads for February but then step down.

This is certainly an evolving project with many voices eager to contribute. It could be the purview of several hounds with distributed responsibilities-- but I'll leave this to someone else to decide. I plan to turn this over to one person primarily and let that person decide where to go.

A caveat here: once the chowhound mods see this post, they may step in with their own ideas and suggestions. They've been very lenient with me and pretty much let me drive the car. I'll let you know if I hear from them about this, or they may choose to post here, too.

Thanks to all of you for your enthusiasm and participation. This has blossomed into a much larger effort than I thought it would all those months ago. You've introduced me to some great cookbooks and given me great notes on recipes to try. I hope to be cooking alongside you more in the months to come--


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  1. Redwood,
    hats off to you and much gratitude for your brilliant idea of us cooking together and then spearheading organizing the cookbook of the month project. It's been great fun -- some months better than others -- but hey, that's part of just jumping in and see who joins in!

    I'd like to see the cookbook of the month project continue on, if others are interested and motivated. Since no one yet has volunteered, I am willing to step in to volunteer to organize for the next 3-4 months. But I want to know: do fellow hounds want to see this project continue, and also is anyone interested in colaberating w/ me on this?

    2 Replies
    1. re: NYchowcook

      I would definitely be interested in continuing this project. I think NYChowcook would make a great coordinator.

      Thanks so much Redwood for all your hard work, and for coming up with such a great idea.

      1. re: NYchowcook

        I would also be interested in continuing this project. I've discovered cookbooks that I wouldn't have seen otherwise. This project has definitely given focus to my cooking. It's also helped me become more organized in planning my meals. And, it's forced me to cook things that I wouldn't generally gravitate to. Plus, there is always something to learn.

        I see Candy's point about the verbose cookbooks. Me, I just skip the stuff in the beginning (or the end) and jump right to the recipes.

      2. I can do that. I am just usually diametrically opposite to what the group wants. Been cooking too long I guess. I don't want overly verbose books. Too much intro (60-80 pages makes me nuts) over explaining also makes me close a book and not buy. I am a fan of the very straight forward and elegant book

        1. Yes! Continue. First, a great huge thanks to RWB!

          Now I'm wondering if there can be a couple of choices for cookbook of the month. I mean running simultaneously. How much work is it to keep this going and would it be that much more difficult to add a second cookbook?
          Especially if the book chosen is a specialty - like desserts only. If that's the case, couldn't we have another cookbook for savory dishes?

          4 Replies
          1. re: oakjoan

            I like the simplicity of one book at a time, oakjoan. To double the number of threads would make a jumble, I think, that would cause otherwise interested readers to lose some enthusiasm. More thoughts on this from anyone?

              1. re: oakjoan

                I like the simplicity of one book also.

                1. re: oakjoan

                  I prefer one book at a time as well.

                2. Thanks so much for spearheading this project, redwood2bay. You have done an amazing job of organizing. I'm not in a position to help coordinate right now, but I just wanted to go on record saying that I hope the project continues in some capacity. I haven't consistently participated in cooking as much as I would have liked, but I'm always reading right along.

                  I agree w/ those who suggest that we keep it at one book a month. I feel like the months go by so quickly that trying to cram two books in would be overwhelming (at least for me).

                  That said, I've thought that people might want to start "unofficial" cookalongs if there's a book they'd really like to cook from that probably won't be considered for COM anytime soon. For instance, since Martha's cookbook didn't get chosen, there was still a thread that got started that I and others were able to share notes about.

                  I personally like to have threads organized by cookbook; it fits w/ my little brain. Thanks again for all your efforts!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Carb Lover

                    When I said 2 cookbooks, I wasn't saying that folks should cook from both (unless they wanted to). I tend to be much less interested in single theme books (Baking, canning, braising, etc.) and would have really liked an alternative since two of the chosen books have been single topic-esque.

                    If it's overwhelming, of course we won't do it, but the work would only be for the Captain of the Ship who set up the thread posts. 2 books would be no problem for any participant, since she/he could choose one or the other or neither.

                    1. re: oakjoan

                      this method of looking at cookbooks makes me want to have *lots* of simultaneous books up -- like the Rose bakery thing we were talking about, oakjoan

                      I'm not asking for anybody to administrate that -- just enjoying the way of interacting on different books/recipes

                      I'm also really fond of old threads from previous months still being "in play"
                      both for when I'm not cooking at the same rate
                      or I'm not into whatever is up that month

                  2. I would be willing to help organize as well- my e-mail is on MyChow page, so let me know if there's anything I can do. I've been pretty bad about cooking along, but I'm always following along!

                    1. Thanks everyone for the kind words. Special thanks to NYchowcook and Katie Nell for offering to take the reins. Let's wait another day or two to see if anyone else is interested in stepping up-- then we can decide among ourselves how to do this.

                      I'm glad there seems to be sufficient interest in keeping it going. One book a month seems to be plenty right now-- just in terms of keeping folks focused, not overloading the organizers with work, etc. There will always be some cookbooks that won't appeal to some hounds, and for that month, those hounds can just sit out or start other threads, as Carb Lover mentioned.

                      Then again, soon this won't be my ship, so you may have a different response. But one of my main responsibilities while organizing this, I think, was to narrow down our choices from the huge range of options available. There are always a lot of great ideas out there, but folks have limited time and attention. I've always tried to follow the course that would work for the most people, even if it wasn't what I would necessarily have opted for in a perfect world.

                      1. Sorry, guys. Was called out of town on a family emergency. Just checking in on dial-up, so not delving very deeply. I'd be happy to help out, but don't know when I'd be able to jump in. Even if emergency resolves in the few weeks or so, and I expect it to, I have plans to be out of the country from mid-April til the end of May. I should have a good bulk of time available after that and would be happy to do what I can to keep this going.

                        I've added my e-mail address to my profile, but since it's my main adress I'd prefer not to leave it up for too long. I've made note of Katie Nell's address; perhaps, NYChowcook & Redwood2Bay, you could make note of mine?

                        Count me in, just not for a few more months yet.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: JoanN

                          Joan, I don't see your email address in your profile. So I posted mine.

                        2. I have posted part of my cookbook collection [443 so far and counting] that you can look at here:


                          I am still adding as I unpack from the remodel. I'd love to do it or be considered for a later opening. Needless to say I love cookbooks and cooking.

                          1. Im new to chowhound and have not yet participated in cookbook of the month- I am very excited about the whole idea- Did you decide on a new organizer? Its such a wonderful idea! :)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: gastronomy

                              Information coming soon! Tune in on Saturday!! ;-) (That's so mean of me to leave you hanging, but I'll give you a hint- the organizer is closer than you think!)

                            2. ohhh im so excited!!!!!! I will be tuned in on Sat (considering since i have discovered chow I am on every day!!!) :) Very excited to start testing some recipes.....

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: gastronomy

                                In case you hadn't seen this thread - the cookbook for February is Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet:


                              2. Oh i so did not see that thread!!!! Thank you so much! :) I would love to start cooking through the book!