February 2008 Cookbook of the Month: Your Suggestions, Please
- JoanN Jan 5, 2008 01:02 PM
February is Mardi Gras. And although there are other holidays that month, we have not yet chosen as Cookbook of the Month the kind of book that could pay tribute to that one. Keeping in mind that Mardi Gras is celebrated not only in The Big Easy but also in other Gulf Coast regions as well as Brazil, Central America, and the Caribbean, there are some exciting cookbooks to choose among in addition to ones that are specifically Cajun and Creole. For instance, Alabama has a long history of Mardi Gras, so Frank Stitt’s “Southern Table,” although Provençal-influenced, might be considered as might “The Book of Latin American Cooking” by Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz. And, of course, there’s Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse, the Dooky Chase and Commander’s Palace cookbooks, the new book “Crescent City Cooking” from Susan Spicer and the old classic “Creole Gumbo and All That Jazz.” I don’t mean to limit your suggestions to these titles, just to indicate the range of possibilities.
I’d like your help in winnowing down the field to just two or three such titles for us to vote on. What book would you like to cook from to celebrate Mardi Gras?
PLEASE NOTE: In order to make it easier for participants to scan others’ suggestions and for me to tabulate the results, I’d appreciate it if you would make your recommendations in the following format:
TITLE (in all caps), Author: Description of the book or reason you are recommending it (optional)
If you want to second or third a title that someone else has already mentioned, please repeat the title, typing it in capital letters. Just saying “I agree with the above” may well get lost and your choice might not get counted. And the more often a particular title is mentioned, the greater the chance it will be among the finalists.
I’ll post the two or three most recommended books on Sunday, January 13th and we’ll begin the voting for February Cookbook of the Month on Monday, January 14th. I’m looking forward to seeing your suggestions. And, as always, thanks for participating.
Here, for those of you who are interested, is the list of Cookbook of the Month titles to date with links to the master threads.
Sept - Marcella Hazan, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
Oct - Molly Stevens, All About Braising
Nov - Rick Bayless, One Plate at a Time
Dec - Dorie Greenspan, Baking from My Home to Yours
Jan - Judy Rodgers, Zuni Cafe Cookbook
Feb - Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, Hot Sour Salty Sweet
March - Leite's Culinaria
April - Claudia Roden, Arabesque
May - Suzanne Goin, Sunday Suppers at Lucques
June - Edna Lewis, Country Cooking
July - Nigella Lawson, Forever Summer
August - Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby
Sept – Patricia Wells, Vegetable Harvest
Oct – Julia Child
Nov – Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins, The Silver Palate Cookbook
Dec. – Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook AND Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook
Jan – Paula Wolfert, The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen
I would be happy to cook from a New Orleans book. I have Gallatoire's, but that's probably a bit hard to come by. If there's a big push for Emeril or Prudhomme, I'd go along. I do hate to see us pass up the "Chocolate for Valentine's Day" opportunity, however. I could certainly do a month of chocolate!
Just a random comment - bought a prudhomme book last year on ebay - recently I started to browse in it and realized that its recipes involved oceans of butter, cream and other fats. Im hardly a fat-phobe but are hounds are going to want to cook this sort of thing? btw Fat Tuesday comes quite early in Feb this year.
Even before clicking on this post, I was coming to stump for CHEF PAUL PRUDHOMME'S LOUISIANA KITCHEN. I just made gumbo from it tonight, and was reminded again of how good his recipes are. However, I also got Susan Spicer's CRESCENT CITY COOKING for Christmas, and some of the recipes look like a lot of fun, so I'd love to do either.
re: jen kalb
The Cajun Seafood Gumbo with Andouille Smoked Sausage has no butter in it; just vegetable oil for the roux. The Chicken and Seafood Jambalaya has 2½ tablespoons of fat and serves 8 as an appetizer. The Red Beans and Rice with Ham Hocks and Andouille Smoked Sausage has no added fat at all. Julia Child’s recipe for Fillets of Sole Meuniere uses 4 tablespoons of clarified butter to cook the fish and an additional 4 to 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. And many of us, at least on occasion, will eat a butter cream frosting. We each have choices to make. If you wanted low-fat Prudhomme, you’d have been better off buying “Chef Paul Prudhomme's Fork in the Road.”
I had a copy of Fork in the Road, the book Paul P wrote when he became ill with heart disease, but I gave it a friend who had a heart attack and had to learn to cook low fat dishes. Now I'm older and more inclined to think about how to cut the fat in our diets I wish I had that cookbook back! I might try the library. But this might answer an earlier poster who was concerned about the oceans of butter in cajun and creole cuisine.
FORK IN THE ROAD is a vastly different book than LOUISANA KITCHEN. When I met Chef Prudhomme at a book signing in 1991 he was so big he couldn't walk. He had to use an electric wheelchair to get to where we were waiting. A few years later I saw him on TV and it looked as if he had lost 200 pounds. Still the happy and vibrant personality,,,,obviously he practiced what he preached. He signed my books:
I would love to cook from a New Orleans book. Going to Jazz Fest in May and it's not too early to get in the mood. I support Susan Spicer's CRESCENT CITY COOKING. It's New Orleans cooking with a little different twist. I've made one thing from this book (a semolina cake with a sour cherry compote and a pistachio cream sauce) and it was unbelievable. Really different and good. Everyone just loved it. So I have very high hopes for the rest of this book.
I know I am one of the lone voices begging for Frank Stitts book, but it is is fine with so few losers it just has to make it sometime. It is truly one of my favorites and most of my cooking group uses it regularily. Can't go wrong here peeeps!
A gentle reminder - please help JoanN with this thread by following her request for making recommendations:
"PLEASE NOTE: In order to make it easier for participants to scan others’ suggestions and for me to tabulate the results, I’d appreciate it if you would make your recommendations in the following format:
TITLE (in all caps), Author: Description of the book or reason you are recommending it (optional)
If you want to second or third a title that someone else has already mentioned, please repeat the title, typing it in capital letters. Just saying “I agree with the above” may well get lost and your choice might not get counted. And the more often a particular title is mentioned, the greater the chance it will be among the finalists."
I would also like to endorse Susan Spicer, Crescent City Cooking. Got it for Christmas but haven't made anything from it yet, still reading. Her restaurant Bayona is our favorite in New Orleans.
I have to say that I think this has the lowest response of any COTM post. I think the topic is not appealing to many.
My vote is one I've had for a long time, but can't remember if I've ever cooked from it, so February would be a good opportunity. I like the variety - from Sopa de Albondigas and Huevos Rancheros, to Gumbo and Etouffe.
CHEF PAUL PRUDHOMME'S SEASONED AMERICA
CHEF PAUL PRUDHOMME'S LOUISIANA KITCHEN
CHEF PAUL PRUDHOMME'S FORK IN THE ROAD
CHEF PAUL PRUDHOMME -- chef focus, all of his books
I'd love to cook more from either (or both) of these books. I adore the Barbecued Shrimp recipe from LK, although I always use way less butter than he calls for (I use more broth instead). I love the complex mixes of spices tailored to each dish that he calls for (progenitors of his premade Magic mixes).
How about doing any Prudhomme book, not limiting it to a specific one, like the Juila Child focus?
Can I jump in again? For people who may not be enthusiastic about a Mardi Gras based book, think about the Susan Spicer book. It is Louisiana and New Orleans inspired, but not slavish to it. In leafing through the book, I saw that many of the recipes are not based on the "trinity" with peppers. So her recipes are not the usual standards, but still influenced by the area. Just a thought.
You may have misread my post. I am enthusiastic about this subject - I also think it's a clever idea.
I just don't have any suggestions for a specific book since I haven't cooked from any of the above authors. I have no basis of knowledge to wax poetically about any of the cookbooks. Instead, I see this as an opportunity to explore a new cuisine/author. Kind of the way the Rick Bayless COTM caused me to learn about cooking mexican food instead of just eating it in a restaurant.
That's why I am looking forwards to the VOTING thread v. the SUGGESTION thread.
I would love a suggestion for a Central American cookbook! (I don't have any such suggestions, but will endorse the books below)
GULF COAST KITCHEN: bright flavors from Key West to the Yucatan
by Constance Snow
FRANK STITT'S SOUTHERN TABLE -- a pioneer and I'd love inspiration to wade into the book
CRESCENT CITY COOKING by Susan Spicer
FWIW I was just telling DH I'd like to explore Creole... I did a quick check on chapters.indigo.ca and both:
CHEF PAUL PRUDHOMME'S LOUISIANA KITCHEN(but unfortunately not Fork in the Road) and
SUSAN SPICER'S CRESCENT CITY COOKING are available...
I'm wondering which of the two have a lighter take (in terms of fat and calories not spice) on their food? Trying to ahem watch the scale go down not up.
Well, that's my $0.02 :)