August 2008 Cookbook of the Month: Your Suggestions Needed
So Oakjoan has handed her sceptre over to me for the next six months, starting with August. I’ll try to post the September suggestions thread at the beginning of August, so that posters have more time to find/order books, etc. I note that a number of posters were interested in THE GLORIOUS FOODS OF GREECE (yes, that is an example of how to post your suggestions) in July but, as always, the field is wide open. And, as with other COTM organizers in the past, I’ll be refraining from chiming in on the suggestions/voting threads, but not the cooking.
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 Stewpot” 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, depending on how the suggestions tally up, on July 15th and we’ll begin the voting for August Cookbook of the Month. My thought is to keep the voting period itself limited, so that posters will have more time to get the books. I’m looking forward to seeing your suggestions. And, as always, thanks for participating.
Here is where we stand right now:
• THE GLORIOUS FOODS OF GREECE by DIANE KOCHILAS (with one poster including MEZE by the same autho
• THINK LIKE A CHEF, Tom Colicchio
Two Votes Each:
• THE ART OF MEXICAN COOKING or THE ESSENTIAL CUISINES OF MEXICO (I'm combining Kennedy votes here)
• THE CRADLE OF FLAVOR
• INTO THE VIETNAMESE KITCHEN & VIETWORLDKITCHEN.COM
• THE SOUTH AMERICAN TABLE by Maria Baez Kijac
• THE RIVER CAFÉ EASY books by Rodgers and Grey (ITALIAN EASY in the States I believe)
• PLEASURES OF THE VIETNAMESE TABLE by Mai Pham
I'm not listing the books that got one vote. I note that we have 4 votes total for Vietnamese cookbooks.
If you decide to make any more suggestions or change your current one(s) for any reason, it would make my life easier if you reply to this post, rather than to other ones on the thread!
Could we combine the Vietnamese ones? It seems to me that people who have, say Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, are unlikely to want to buy the other one, and vice versa. I don't think I can justify having two Vietnamese cookbooks in my life! It might also be an interesting experiment in comparing the two?
I'd love to do THE OTTOLENGHI COOKBOOK but I don't think it's widely available in the States yet. So my other recommendations would be THE RIVER CAFÉ EASY books by Rodgers and Grey (ITALIAN EASY in the States I believe), which make use of fresh, seasonal ingredients and are great for summer. I'm also interested in Vietnamese, but would prefer PLEASURES OF THE VIETNAMESE TABLE by Mai Pham which is excellent.
Thanks for taking this on, MMRuth, and thanks to oakjoan for her successful tenure! The list of previous cookbooks is impressive! I'm reminded that I should really buy Arabesque...
My suggestions for next month:
THINK LIKE A CHEF, Tom Colicchio
I have this book but haven't really delved into it. Some nice seasonal recipes that aren't too fussy or time-intensive. Great tips/refreshers on techniques and fundamentals.
THE ART OF SIMPLE FOOD, Alice Waters
I was skeptical of this book when I checked it out from the library. After so many books, what does Waters really have to add? I really like the format and find myself requesting the book again every time I'm forced to return it since someone else has requested it. Probably a sign that I should buy it. The pizza dough recipe is THE ONE I've been searching for my whole life...
INTO THE VIETNAMESE KITCHEN + VIETWORLDKITCHEN.COM, Andrea Nguyen
Candy's suggestion reminded me that I'd love to take this one off my shelf and put it to more use. Some may feel that Viet food may be too narrow or intimidating, but Andrea's recipes are very accessible, super detailed, and clearly-written. Her website recipes would be good for those who don't have access to the book.
A few more for consideration:
THE SOUTH AMERICAN TABLE by Maria Baez Kijac
MEMORIES OF A CUBAN KITCHEN by Mary Urrutia Randelman
PLEASE TO THE TABLE by Anya von Bremzen
I'll second CRADLE OF FLAVOR by James Oseland.
Well greetings, and hearty thanks for taking up the sceptre, Queen Ruth!
I'll chime in for CHEZ PANISSE VEGETABLES by Alice Waters
The doyenne, instigator/revolutionary promoter of fresh, local, seasonal vegetables.
What could be more perfect that August's bounty of vegetables, guided by the master?
Thank you for that great introductory post. I have not yet participated in COTM, but it sounds interesting and I'd love to give it a try. So here goes for my vote.
THE INSTANT COOK by Donna Hay. As the song goes, "Summertime, and the livin' is easy." I don't want to get into anything too complicated in the heat and lazy days of August, but I still want to eat good meals. I don't yet own this book, but I've researched it, and it looks perfect for August - uncomplicated meals that aren't dumbed down. Some examples of the recipes are: Tomato, Spinach and Crisp Prosciutto Soup, Baked Risotto with Bacon and Peas, Chicken Roasted on Eggplant and Tomatoes, Lamb Baked on Figs and Fennel, Oregano Veal Chops with White Bean Salad, Spicy Roast Vegetables with Hummus, Pumpkin, Onion and Blue Cheese Fritatta, Thai Red Pumpkin Curry, Blueberry and White Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate French Toast, Toasted Sponge Cake with Pears. I've only read a few of the recipes, but they look pretty good to me. So that's my vote.
TO PROSPECTIVE PARTICIPANTS (cribbed from Oakjoan, but I think it’s a great idea):
I have been thinking that there needs to be an introductory paragraph or two each month so that people who come across this for the first time understand what the set-up is. So here goes.
The cookbook of each month is chosen in a two-part election (1st round and runoff), then the book with the most votes (duh, eh?) becomes the COTM for the next month. Anyone can join in with comments, descriptions, stories, pitfalls, etc. No need to join anything, just get the book (most of our COTMs have been available in many libraries) and start cooking and posting. We also post links to recipes online in case you don't want to or can't get the COTM. This makes it easy to cook along.
You may substitute ingredients because you're following a diet or because you forgot to buy, e.g., cloud ear mushrooms, or just because you want to see what happens when you add cement instead of corn starch to a pudding recipe.
The folks who've participated in this project so far are quite charming and funny and smart. We all enjoy discussing the recipes and locating unusual ingredients. Start by suggesting a favorite or untried cookbook or by commenting on one discussed in the suggestion thread. Don't be scared! We've all had, shall we say, less than perfect experiences cooking from the various books.
For those who may be new to Cookbook of the Month, here's a list, with links to master threads, of all selections since inception:
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 & 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 & 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
Feb – Frank Stitt’s Southern Table
Mar - Fuchsia Dunlop, Revolutionary Cinese Cookbook and Land of Plenty
Apr – Simon Hopkinson, Roast Chicken and Other Stories
May – Peter Berley, The Flexitarian Table
June - -Penelope Casas
July - Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone