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February 2007 Cookbook of the Month: Cast Your Vote Here

Thanks to all the hounds who offered suggestions. The general hound opinion favors an Asian cookbook to coincide with the Lunar New Year during this short month. I've managed to whittle down your many good suggestions to three.

Please cast your vote for ONE of the following:
-- HOT SOUR SALTY SWEET by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
-- LAND OF PLENTY by Fuchsia Dunlop

I'm going to leave this thread open for votes until midnight February 14, 2007. I'm trying to leave a little extra time for folks to explore these books-- they are very different, so take a look at them at a bookstore or library if you can before casting your vote.

Thanks for participating!

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  1. I assume you meant to say January 14, not February 14, correct?

    1 Reply
    1. I vote for HOT SOUR SALTY SWEET by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid - and plan to cook along this time - haven't been able to for awhile!

      1. All three are great.

        Not a suggestion, but just a point of information, the great Fushia Dunlop has her new book out: Revolutionary Chinese about the food of Hunan. Jessica's Biscvuit already has it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: SilverlakeGirl

          I just got it, about time someone did a really interesting book about the Hunan Province. I am intrigued but haven't had a chance to use it yet.

        2. Hhmmm... the only one I could find in all 13 of my libraries was "Hot Sour Salty Sweet", so these could be difficult for everyone to find.

          1. Any of the above. I've used The Key so much it is falling apart and it is my 2nd. copy. Cheap publisher just glued it together. It is a great book but all 3 are terrific.

            1. Irene Kuo. I have all 3 books and so far this is my favorite.

              1. My vote is for "Hot Sour Salty Sweet." My library has all three available and I don't have a strong preference. So, I'm going for the one that is available to others at a local library.

                1. Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet! I love this book, haven't made a ton from it, but what I have was very good. Great Larb Gai and stews. And it's a great book to just read.

                  1. My vote goes to Irene Kuo.

                    1. Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet.

                      1. -- HOT SOUR SALTY SWEET

                        1. Chinese cooking,? ...and only one book is by an Asian???

                          I vote for...- THE KEY TO CHINESE COOKING by Irene Kuo

                            1. I don't understand the "hsss!" Since the response isn't TO anyone, I can't tell if TG is hissing CFD or Fleur. Please explain more about this cryptic "HSSS"

                              My problem with The Key is that it sounds like a basic-type book. Is this correct? I'm more interested in unusual recipes that I've never tried before. Chowhound is a pretty sophisticated site re cooking, and many of us (I imagine but may be wrong) already have some knowledge of Asian cooking. Actually, I don't know what cuisine Hot, Salty is about, or is it more than one.

                              Did you ever read such a back and forth, wishy-washy message? Sheesh. Sorry.

                              6 Replies
                                1. re: oakjoan

                                  HSSS: H= Hot, S= Sour, S= Salty, S= Sweet, took me a minute too, I thought Gloaming was being pissy! ;-)

                                  1. re: Katie Nell

                                    Sorry folks, I was just being lazy. Wasn't having a hissy fit or anything.

                                    1. re: TheGloaming

                                      LOL! I got it pretty quickly, but only because I'm used to folks abbreviating their votes. I did see the possibility for confusion, though.

                                  2. re: oakjoan

                                    HSSS covers Southeast Asia (China, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, etc).

                                    As it's the only one out of the three that I already own, that's my vote, but of course, interested in them all.

                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                      The Key is a book in two parts. The first half teaches basic techniques like velveting. The second half is full of excellent and varied recipes. She also gives tips on varying the recipes. It is an excellent cookbook and reference.

                                    2. I was interested in the Kuo book but my library system doesn't carry it, so I'll go for Land of Plenty.

                                      1. I always do what Carb Lover does. Okay, so that's a total lie, but this time I do agree with her. I also tried a couple of recipes from the Dunlop book and they were both delicious - especially the cumin lamb rice dish.

                                        One vote for Land of Plenty.

                                        PS: You can also see a Dunlop video from BBC online....maybe more than one. I also like her writing style AND it's at my library.

                                        Another plus - UKTV has a website with several recipes from LOP, including the lamb polo and fried green beans.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                          Oakjoan, you crack me up. I guess neither of us want to "hsss" for next month. ;-) Speaking of COM, I better get Zuni'ing before Jan. is over!

                                        2. none of the above in the Brooklyn Public Library system . . .
                                          which is why I buy so many cookbooks. phooey. I'm moving to Cali asap.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: pitu

                                            I must apologize - I grabbed the a copy of land of plenty already.

                                            BTW my vote is for that, since I already grabbed it. :-)

                                          2. The Key to Chinese Cookimng is out of print but I just checked Amazon and it is available used for under $10.00

                                            Irene Kuo taught at the China Institute in NYC and presents her instructions clearly and succintly. Even if it does not become our book of the month it is a book well worth owning.

                                            1. I vote against the kuo book, because I can't get it out of my local library system. I'm agnostic on the other two. I have requested both from the library, but won't have a chance to review them before a permanent vote needs to be counted!

                                              1. Irene Kuo's book is the best introduction to technique and a broad range of recipes I have ever seen.
                                                Not impressed with HSSS as a book to cook from, but it's very interesting to read.
                                                Love Sichuan food but and the Dunlop book is a good intro to it - but have owned it since it came out and have only cooked a few things from it. (Also just got the Hunan book.)
                                                My vote is for The Key to Chinese Cooking.

                                                  1. We've left a lot of leeway for process issues for cookbook of the month to be discussed on Home Cooking, but a voting thread is not the right place for those discussions to happen. We've moved some discussion of process issues with book choice over to the Site Talk board where they won't get quite so tangled up in the discussion. You can read and respond to them here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                                    1. Hard call, but I'm voting for Fuschia.

                                                      1. I think Hot Sour Salty and Sweet and Land of Plenty are both excellent, but I am going to vote with prunefeet and go for Land of Plenty. I like the fact that it is so focused and really helps to understand that the different provinces in China have very distinctive styles. Doesn't hurt that Sichuan is one of my favorites - Hunan being next.

                                                        1. land of plenty. like the idea of being focused, and would like feedback and advice on sichuan cooking more than vietnamese or southeastern asian, which seems pretty straightforward. plus, i'm so lazy. HSSS is just too heavy a book to drag back and forth from the library.

                                                            1. Another vote for Hot Sour Salty Sweet, a great book.

                                                              1. And the February 2007 cookbook of the month is...
                                                                Hot Salty Sour Sweet by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.

                                                                Thanks to everyone for voting and for the lively discussion.
                                                                Happy cooking!