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Jul 9, 2008 09:49 AM

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.

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  1. 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

    1. Would love to do Greek with wonderful August tomatoes and recipes designed for sharing and entertaining..


      1 Reply
      1. re: Rubee

        And, of course, eggplants will be in season. Any good Greek or Middle-Eastern book will get my vote.

      2. MMRuth,

        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.

        1. I would love to do Mexican in August, and I'd suggest a Diana Kennedy book, either THE ART OF MEXICAN COOKING or THE ESSENTIAL CUISINES OF MEXICO.

          1. 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?