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Feb 22, 2008 12:25 PM


The votes are in. Here are the provisional results. Several posts mentioned, e.g., “Jamie Oliver” without clarifying that this was a vote. I decided that those were NOT votes (see below).

DUNLOP 11 votes (6 voters just wrote “Dunlop” stating they didn’t care which book or without specifying which book). The votes for a specific book are: Land of Plenty - 2 votes, Revolutionary Chinese - 3 votes

BATALI - 8 votes. I had mentioned “Molto Italiano” and several responses mentioned this book. Others just said “Batali” or “Molto Mario”. Since I’d mentioned Molto Italiano, I’m assuming the “Batali” votes were for that book.



JAMIE OLIVER - 5 votes (If someone wants to check this out, please do. Oliver is mentioned in several responses without any reference to voting that I could see).

No other book/author got more than 4 votes.

I’m holding off on posting a run-off message until I get any info on the questions I set forth above.

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  1. Ay Joan - we do make your life complicated don't we. My DUNLOP vote is for REVOLUTIONARY CHINESE (HUNAN), in case I was unclear!

    1. Here's another complication. My

      DUNLOP vote goes to LAND OF PLENTY.

      4 Replies
      1. re: beetlebug

        maybe if we do Dunlop we could include both books. That would simplify, since its unlikely we will have another Dunlop month anytime soon.

          1. re: MMRuth

            I would vote for that too. For those of us that use only library books, having an option would be useful but it doesn't seem so broad as say all of Julia Child was, so we would be more likely to overlap recipes.

        1. re: beetlebug

          Edited to say, it looks like I'll have more luck with REVOLUTIONARY CHINESE, as my library has more copies, but am interested in either of the Fuchsia Dunlop books, and would be up for doing both in one month.

        2. I have REVOLUTIONARY COOKING and LAND OF PLENTY. I'd be happy with either. I'll Still be cooking out of Saha and Pure Desert.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Candy

            I think it would be great to compare and contrast the two cuisines, so I vote for REVOLUTIONARY COOKING and LAND OF PLENTY. Wonderful idea, Jen Kalb.

            1. re: Candy

              What have you made out of Saha that you like? Do NOT make the weird vine leaves with mushrooms and pistachios -- they went out!

            2. Well - I guess I'm passing this month but I'll follow along to see what people have cooked as I have in past months. This is really a very interesting way for me to learn what's going on in kitchens in other parts of the country. I marvel at the level of expertize revealed in these monthly cookbook threads and I am constantly inspired by those who attempt and indeed succeed in creating epicurean home meals.

              14 Replies
              1. re: Gio

                Gio, do none of these work for you? The voting has not yet even begun and I think the cookbooks you suggested are still in the running --I think Joan just needs to know which specific Batalli book you're interested in!

                I personally have a somewhat restrictive diet right now (and, in summer, I have a boatload of produce from my CSA to use up so I have to be heavily vegetable focused during the summer months), but I think I can make almost all of the potential cookbooks work for me this month, with the possible exception of the Dunlop books, which I am simply not that familiar with.


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Oh - maybe I spoke to soon. OK - I'll wait. Thank you for the poke in the ribs TDQ. I needed that. BTW: I'm not familiar with the Dunlop books also. But I do like Mexican.

                  1. re: Gio

                    Dunlop's books are chinese cuisine - LOP is sichuan and the other one is Hunan.

                    1. re: beetlebug

                      Oh gosh.... I was thinking Diana Kennedy. What a dufus....I always confuse the two. I guess I should quit now. Thanks.

                      1. re: Gio

                        I love Diana Kennedy, and was thinking that she would be a great choice for May, with Cinco de Mayo and everything. I need to cook something besides her enchilada recipes.

                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                    Not to push Fuchsia's books (I just love that first name), but I first saw her online at the BBC website. I think one can still get her video cooking segments there. There are a number of recipes online....probably for most of the cookbooks we choose here, so one needn't buy every book or even get it out of the library.

                    1. re: oakjoan

                      And, FWIW, I'd be happy to dig up a bunch of online links as I have for past COTM books.

                      1. re: oakjoan

                        I've been poking around online for some of Dunlop's recipes (sadly, you can't "preview" her books on Amazon) and I think I can get several of the ones I've seen fit my currently restricted diet, which is great. (And they look good, too, in addition to the fact that Fuschia is indeed a really lovely name.)

                        But, two questions, 1) there are sure a lot of ingredients in her recipes I'm unfamiliar with--I'm worried I might get bogged down in where to buy these ingredients and/or how to use them--does that become an issue in these COTM threads? 2) some of her recipes I saw on the BBC website used metric measurements, rather than "standard" measurements. Do you know if her cookbooks also use metric?

                        Sorry for the dumb questions, I've never done COTM before...

                        Thank you!


                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          The Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook that I have is not metric. Also, in terms of using metric recipes - I've not found it as much of a pain as I thought I would. My liquid measuring cups have both cups and ml marked on them, and I just use a scale (which is very handy to have anyway, if you don't) for everything else.

                          In terms of ingredients - I've not looked through myself yet and fortunately can readily find things in NYC - but I was very surprised that in Eastern North Carolina I found an amazing Asian food store - so there might be one in your area as well, that you just aren't aware of yet. To me, that's been part of the fun of some COTM books - scouting out new ingredients and learning how to use them.

                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            There are many metric conversion tables on line. Here's just one:

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              I hope you love COTM as much as I do. I've explored cuisines and techniques that I normally don't gravitate towards.

                              As for the ingredients in Dunlop's books, there may be an initial period of buying various sauces (such as chinese black vinegar, chinese black beans, sichuan peppercorns) and other sundries. However, the cost of these sauces are relatively inexpensive or can be substituted with other ingredients. For example, I bought a bottle of chinese black vinegar for $1.09 (it's a big bottle too) but have never bought shaoxing wine (I sub sherry instead).

                              Granted, I live in the NE where there are a lot of Asian stores. But, I suspect MSP has a few Asian stores for you to shop in given the growth Asian American population in the area.

                              Lastly, as for how to choose and use the ingredients, in Dunlop's LOP, she has an extensive section before and after the recipes about which brands to buy or how to look for certain ingredients. In that book, the same ingredients appear in recipe after recipe.

                              Here is a thread from last year about LOP.


                              1. re: beetlebug

                                Okay, now I'm really excited about the Dunlop books. beetlebug, thank you for the link to your thread. One of the things I've missed most while I've been on my diet are my favorite Szechuan restaurants, particularly their dan dan noodles, ma po tofu, and fried green beans. I was so excited to see the green bean and ma po tofu dishes in your link. Maybe the way to fit these kinds of foods into my diet (right now the way to fit them into my diet is...not having them at all because I know they are way too oily at my favorite restaurants) is to cook them myself so I can control the fat and sugar content. I researched some Chinese cookbooks when I first went on my diet, but so many of the recipes called for sugar, so I kind of gave up, deciding these foods would just have to stay off-limits for the short-term because I did not want to go down the artificial sweetner road. Dunlop's recipes (at least the ones I've found online) really do not seem to call for a lot of sugar.

                                Also, I don't know why the sudden panic that I wouldn't be able to find the ingredients--I know of at least three terrific Asian groceries within about a ten minute drive of my home or office. I love the idea that Dunlop has a section on ingredients --it is helpful to know what you're looking for--and I assume that multiple recipes draw on some of the "special" ingredients, which is one advantage of cooking from the same cookbook all month.

                                Finally, thank you for the reassurance about the metric conversions. I do have a food scale, if it comes to that.

                                Am going to go reserve both Dunlop cookbooks (as well as Batalli's, in case it wins) at my library right now.

                                Thank you everyone. I am not a very confident cook (on the other hand, I am a very confident eater! Ha!) My New Year's Resolution was two-fold: not only to eat healthier and lose weight in 2008, but to become a more confident cook and expand my repertoire of healthy recipes I can draw on. I think any of this month's COTM candidates will fit nicely into my resolutions.

                                EDIT: and, oh, wouldn't be fun if we can figure out how to get those videos on the BBC site to work!


                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  Excellent! I just logged on to post for you that I was at Whole Foods this morning and noted that they also have loads of Asian ingredients, and so the one in St. Paul is likely too as well. Of course, I'm sure Asian markets are cheaper.

                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                    Thanks for the tip! It's good to have another shopping option!


                      2. Okay, I'm narrowing my suggestions down to:

                        LAND OF PLENTY - DUNLOP


                        MOLTO MARIO - BATALI

                        (and Ana Sortun's Spice for a month later this year)

                        Thanks OakJoan for dealing with us crazy Homecooking CHs!

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: Rubee

                          Yes, I am amazing, don't you think? And you are all a bunch of ill-mannered LOUTS, I tell you, LOUTS! Sad to say that Joan N and Carb Lover have forced me into this job. I can't tell you the number of times they've spray painted my car, posted anonymous messages to the Chowhound authorities, etc.

                          So now I'm managing the COTM and are they satisfied? HAH!

                          Oops, was I out long?

                          I love this site and the people who post on it!!!

                          Best, Oakjoan

                          1. re: oakjoan

                            You crack me up, oakjoan! I hope that spray paint wasn't too hard to clean up. Good thing you agreed to do it, otherwise we would have had to move to the next level of harrassment (holding your cookbooks hostage or something).

                            It looks like you have clear top 2 choices w/ Dunlop and Batali. You could have a vote between just those 2 or include a 3rd and/or 4th. The beauty of being coordinator is that you get to decide!! Me--I'd go crazy and wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night... :-)

                            With full appreciation,
                            Carb Lover

                            1. re: Carb Lover

                              Dunlop is a clear favorite, yes, but but Batalli is only 1 point ahead of the #s 3 & 4 (Supernatural Cooking or Flex Table) which have 7 points each.

                              I wonder if #3 & 4 are splitting the votes from people like me who are looking for lighter kinds of meals (I'm still sticking firm to my New Year's Resolutions --gosh, we're not even out of the first quarter, too soon to abandon them--and it's Lent: double whammy!).

                              I think four books are too many for a run-off vote, though. Maybe, hold a vote between #1, #2 and flip a coin (or oakjoan, just decide) for whether #3 or #4 should be in the run-off? Then, just have a 3 cookbook run-off, Dunlop, Batalli, and the winner from the #3 vs. #4 coin toss?

                              (And, yes, I agree, oakjoan is a sweetie for taking this on...)


                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                Maybe, this month have it be Dunlop v. Batali

                                and next month, it will be Supernatural Cooking v. Flexitarian Table?

                                Thanks, oakjoan, from beetlebug, an ill mannered lout.

                                1. re: beetlebug

                                  I think this is a great suggestion. Supernatural Cooking v. Flexitarian Table would be great for April, when we start getting some spring vegetables in at the Farmer's Market.

                                  But whatever oakjoan decides works for me. Thanks for all your hard work, oakjoan!

                                  1. re: DanaB

                                    I like this idea, too, Supernatural Cooking vs. Flexitarian Table for April, if that's something oakjoan wants to do. I'm kind of getting excited now about the Dunlop books after doing some research on them. I think they are the kind of books I would be a little timid to try on my own, but might find more approachable if others were trying it too.


                          2. re: Rubee

                            If we do Mario Batali, maybe participants can cook from either Molto Mario or Molto Italiano? I already have Molto Italiano and am not inclined to go out and buy another, similar book from him, when there are so many other cookbooks on my to buy list.