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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:

    **2006**

    Sept - Marcella Hazan, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/325712

    Oct - Molly Stevens, All About Braising
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/330177

    Nov - Rick Bayless, One Plate at a Time
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/339027

    Dec - Dorie Greenspan, Baking from My Home to Yours
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/347476

    **2007**

    Jan - Judy Rodgers, Zuni Cafe Cookbook
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/355995

    Feb - Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid, Hot Sour Salty Sweet
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/366679

    March - Leite's Culinaria
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/376081

    April - Claudia Roden, Arabesque
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/387069

    May - Suzanne Goin, Sunday Suppers at Lucques
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/397079

    June - Edna Lewis, Country Cooking
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/406983

    July - Nigella Lawson, Forever Summer
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/416938

    August - Chris Schlesinger & John Willoughby
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/427007

    Sept – Patricia Wells, Vegetable Harvest
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/437177

    Oct – Julia Child
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/446374

    Nov – Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins, The Silver Palate Cookbook
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/456241

    Dec. – Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook AND Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/465358

    **2008**

    Jan – Paula Wolfert, The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/474978

    Feb – Frank Stitt’s Southern Table
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/485291

    Mar - Fuchsia Dunlop, Revolutionary Cinese Cookbook and Land of Plenty
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/494660

    Apr – Simon Hopkinson, Roast Chicken and Other Stories
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/505153

    May – Peter Berley, The Flexitarian Table
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/514822

    June - -Penelope Casas
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/524513

    July - Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/534325

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

      THE GLORIOUS FOODS OF GREECE along with MEZE by DIANE KOCHILAS

      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?