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November 2008 Cookbook of the Month: Your Suggestions Needed [Ends TODAY]

MMRuth Oct 7, 2008 04:05 AM

Once again it's time for your suggestions for COTM! When you recommend a book, please try to mention if you've cooked from it or not, why you recommend it, etc. , I don't mind lots of chatter on books - in fact, I think it is good and helpful - but please use all CAPS for your actual suggestion.

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 but preferred)

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 leave this thread up until October 14th, and plan to do what I did last time, which is not to have a run-off vote, unless two books are hopelessly tied. 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.

P.S. I'm going to repeat my comment from last month:

"I want to make one observation, as posters think about their suggestions for November. It seems to me - and I've gone back and reviewed many of the COTM threads - that the most successful months have been those where we've ended up using books that some posters have used a lot and love, rather than those when we've tried a book that may sound interesting, but that posters who've made the initial recommendations for them haven't actually used (which I know I've done - no finger pointing here!). This isn't meant to impede posters from making recommendations, but just food for thought, so to speak. "

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  1. MMRuth RE: MMRuth Oct 7, 2008 04:07 AM

    A list of past COTM:


    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 – Deborah Madison, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

    Aug. - Diane Kochilas, The Glorious Foods of Greece

    September - Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table by Mai Pham and Into the Vietnamese Kitchen by Andrea Nguyen

    October - Mario Batali: Babbo, Molto Italiano & Simple Italian Cooking

    1. JoanN RE: MMRuth Oct 7, 2008 05:57 AM

      FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT by Rick Moonen

      On yayadave’s recommendation, I took this out of the library. I had barely cracked it open before I knew I just had to own it—and I already have three dedicated fish cookbooks on my shelves. I’ve only tried one recipe so far, a baked bluefish with a clams-oreganata topping, and it was excellent.

      I know many of us will be into heavy-duty preparations for Thanksgiving in November, but I think fish would be a good respite. If people think it’s too limiting, perhaps it could be paired with another single-subject book, such as soups or vegetables or even a get-a-head-start-on-Christmas baking, preserving, or gift-giving book.

      6 Replies
      1. re: JoanN
        Gio RE: JoanN Oct 7, 2008 06:05 AM

        It's so funny you mention that book JoanN... on yayadave's recommendation I bought the book and have made one dish - a roast hallibut - which was terrific. Now you've given me something to think about. In another thread someone mentioned the New England Soup Company book and now that sits on a CB shelf as well.... perhaps the two?? Or, revisiting one of the past books?? Not nominating, just typing out loud.

        1. re: JoanN
          LulusMom RE: JoanN Oct 7, 2008 09:27 AM

          I seem to remember a month or two ago this came up as a suggestion (one I like very much) and we decided that it was too new to be in most libraries. I could very well be confusing this book with another. I do remember that this book sounded wonderful to me.

          1. re: LulusMom
            Gio RE: LulusMom Oct 7, 2008 09:33 AM

            LLM -
            I Love Fish Without A Doubt. It's so user friendly and the recipes seem very easy to make. I'm all for uncomplicating life! As for the soup book, it's seasonal and I've already marked off almost all the Autumn soups and some Winter ones as well. It seems to me the slow cooker could come into use here, too.

            1. re: Gio
              LulusMom RE: Gio Oct 7, 2008 10:07 AM

              Oh, I'm all for Fish Without a Doubt, I just had a memory that when it was voted on a month or so ago, some felt that we should wait until it was more widely available. We eat a LOT of seafood in this house, and given the good reviews the book has gotten, I'm dying to get my hands on it.

            2. re: LulusMom
              JoanN RE: LulusMom Oct 7, 2008 10:10 AM

              It *is* fairly new; published in June of this year. But Amazon has copies at nearly half price and the Manhattan library system has 15 copies. I took it out of the library about a month ago, so I don't think it would be difficult for people to either borrow it or purchase it somewhat inexpensively.


              1. re: JoanN
                LulusMom RE: JoanN Oct 7, 2008 10:20 AM

                Great. I just checked my library, and even in this small town they have a copy "in processing" (meaning it should be on the shelves soon). OK, you've sold me. FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT.

          2. j
            Jane917 RE: MMRuth Oct 7, 2008 07:53 AM

            Alice Waters The Art of Simple Food
            Kasper and Swift The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper

            4 Replies
            1. re: Jane917
              Gio RE: Jane917 Oct 7, 2008 09:06 AM

              If you're suggesting these two books, they will be counted if you type the TITLES in CAPS....

              1. re: Gio
                The Dairy Queen RE: Gio Oct 7, 2008 09:46 AM

                I would also love THE ART OF SIMPLE FOOD, Alice Waters (have not cooked from it--though I keep meaning to).

                Thank you!


                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                  greedygirl RE: The Dairy Queen Oct 7, 2008 11:13 AM

                  I got the Chez Panisse Cookbook out of the library, and liked it. This one isn't published here until the end of the month though.

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                    Carb Lover RE: The Dairy Queen Oct 7, 2008 10:25 PM

                    Another suggestion for THE ART OF SIMPLE FOOD.

                    I've only made a couple of recipes from it, but the pizza dough recipe is "the one" for me after trying countless variations. I love the Chez Panisse books, but this Waters book seems to be the most accessible and practical for me. The format is easy to use, and while the recipes aren't particularly new or innovative, they represent important "basics" that I believe every good cook should have in her/his repertoire. Given that the upcoming holidays are about excess and lots of cooking, I'd welcome the simplicity of this book in November.

              2. greygarious RE: MMRuth Oct 7, 2008 10:34 AM

                THE MAPLE SYRUP COOKBOOK, by Ken Haedrich (Storey Publishing, 1989, 2001 - paperback, 138pp, $10.95) This little treasure has over 100 recipes, most of them particularly appropriate for the harvest and holiday seasons. Every recipe I've tried has become a standard favorite. Obviously, most are for breakfasts, sweets and baked goods, but there are soups like Sweet Potato-Bacon Bisque, wonderful Maple Balsamic Salad Dressing, pork and chicken recipes, and sides like Winter Squash Spoonbread.

                Interspersed throughout are interesting details about the history and manufacture of maple syrup, how to choose the right grade of syrup for your purpose, etc.

                I can't think of a better resource for cooks looking to find a new addition to their Thanksgiving and Holiday dinners.

                1. greedygirl RE: MMRuth Oct 7, 2008 11:12 AM

                  KITCHEN DIARIES by Nigel Slater

                  I'm not sure how well known Nigel Slater is in the States, but he's something of a food god over here. He is often known simply as Nigel, for he is one of those mythical cooks who is known by their first name). He is the long-standing food columnist for a Sunday newspaper and writes like a dream. He is emphatically not a restaurant cook, but a home cook with a heart - and his recipes always work. They are wonderfully simple, without being boring, and a joy to read. I have several of his books, but this is the one which is most widely available in the States at the moment, being the most recent.

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: greedygirl
                    poptart RE: greedygirl Oct 7, 2008 07:04 PM

                    OOH! I have been wanting to buy that that book very badly....l second KITCHEN DIARIES!

                    1. re: poptart
                      greedygirl RE: poptart Oct 8, 2008 12:24 AM

                      I forgot to say - the focus of this book is very much seasonal cooking. It's basically a year in the sainted Nigel's kitchen.

                      1. re: greedygirl
                        poptart RE: greedygirl Oct 8, 2008 09:10 AM

                        I am in the midst of reading "Toast" and have his book "Real Food Fast". Saw "Kitchen Diaries" recently at Borders and now I am definitely going to go back to buy it.

                        1. re: greedygirl
                          MMRuth RE: greedygirl Oct 8, 2008 09:20 AM

                          How does his cooking vary from Hopkinson's?

                          1. re: MMRuth
                            greedygirl RE: MMRuth Oct 8, 2008 09:37 AM

                            Simpler and less cheffy, I'd say. I think Simon H is quite classical in his technique, while Nigel is much more relaxed. He says: "I have always felt that a recipe should be something to inspire, remind and lightly influence rather than a set of instructions to be followed, pedantically, to the letter."



                            1. re: MMRuth
                              JoanN RE: MMRuth Oct 22, 2008 07:11 AM

                              I had read "Toast" and was charmed. I picked up "Kitchen Diaries" at the library yesterday and am charmed again. I've only read through a few months so far, but his recipes are very accessible, relying on great ingredients at their peak rather than those that are unusual or hard to find.

                              I haven’t cooked from it yet, but in many ways it seems to me to be quite similar to Hopkinson in that the lists of ingredients are comparatively short and the preparations not at all complicated. Greedygirl’s assessment that many are less “cheffy” seems spot on to me. And he uses significantly less offal than Hopkinson.

                              The US edition has been fully Americanized in terms of recipe ingredients, but not so in the text. I don't see this as a problem in terms of preparing a recipe, but I didn't, for example, recognize the name of a single kind of apple or many of the types of grapes he mentions.

                              1. re: JoanN
                                greedygirl RE: JoanN Oct 22, 2008 10:03 AM

                                I'm so glad you like Nigel, Joan. He's such an institution here, it would be nice if he was a bit better known in the States. He's a brilliant writer, as well as a good cook, don't you think?

                        2. re: greedygirl
                          NYCkaren RE: greedygirl Oct 8, 2008 10:25 AM

                          Are Nigel's books generally available here in the U.S.? Does anyone know? I'd be happy to vote for him for COTM if I thought I could get "Kitchen Diaries," for example, at the library.

                          1. re: NYCkaren
                            JoanN RE: NYCkaren Oct 8, 2008 11:03 AM

                            Just checked. The Manhattan library system has 5 copies. I reserved one of them. Four to go. Hurry.

                            1. re: JoanN
                              greedygirl RE: JoanN Oct 8, 2008 11:21 AM

                              Also I checked on Amazon.com before nominating and there are lots of copies on Amazon for less than $20.

                              1. re: JoanN
                                greedygirl RE: JoanN Oct 8, 2008 02:06 PM

                                You're so organised!

                                1. re: greedygirl
                                  JoanN RE: greedygirl Oct 8, 2008 02:22 PM

                                  My local library is very convenient, but so teeny tiny they never have *anything*--especially recent (read: within the past five years) cookbooks. I've just gotten into the habit of reserving online anything that interests me the moment I read about it. And Nigel Slater was on my radar since my London-resident BF has referred to him before.

                              2. re: NYCkaren
                                poptart RE: NYCkaren Oct 8, 2008 12:17 PM

                                They had 2 copies at a local Borders (Boston area).

                            2. yamalam RE: MMRuth Oct 7, 2008 05:15 PM

                              How about some Latin American sabor? If you don't have at least one Hispanic in your extended family, statistics say you will soon:) Latin food lends itself to mass quantity preparation for big holidays too...

                              DAISY COOKS by Daisy Martinez. She has a lot of recipes online, they are delicious, and my PR aunties-in-law have given her versions of their memorized family recipes the thumbs up.

                              CAFE PASQUAL COOKBOOK by Katherine Kagal. Mmm, nothing better on a fall day some good green chile enchiladas. There are a few Cafe Pasqual books, so it could be a combo like this month.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: yamalam
                                oakjoan RE: yamalam Oct 8, 2008 07:10 PM

                                yamalam: When I first saw Daisy's program, I didn't like her cause she was too hyper. Then I watched a few more and fell in love with her and her wonderful food.

                              2. Rubee RE: MMRuth Oct 7, 2008 06:35 PM

                                A NEW WAY TO COOK by Sally Schneider

                                600 recipes which span the globe. She promotes cooking healthier, but it's not a diet book - more on techniques to up the flavor. Winner of both IACP and James Beard Foundation Awards.


                                8 Replies
                                1. re: Rubee
                                  poptart RE: Rubee Oct 7, 2008 07:05 PM

                                  This is an excellent choice as well. I own a copy and would love to have a reason to focus on cooking with it. Just made some roasted fruit from one of her recipes...wonderful.

                                  1. re: poptart
                                    Carb Lover RE: poptart Oct 8, 2008 07:27 AM

                                    As MMRuth requested, please put the title in all caps if you want your suggestion to be seen/count. For general chit chat about a book, lower case is fine.

                                    Rubee, I had never heard of A New Way to Cook before but my library does carry it. It also has Schneider's The Improvisational Cook (2006) which generally has good reviews on Amazon. Do you know much about it? I'll have to check it out!


                                    1. re: Carb Lover
                                      Rubee RE: Carb Lover Oct 8, 2008 12:27 PM

                                      Not familiar with The Improvisational Cook, but thanks CL, will have to check it out.

                                      I've had great success with recipes from A New Way to Cook. I just went through quickly (checking for the food-splattered pages) for some recipes I remember being winners:

                                      Mushrooms with Sake and Lemon in Papillote
                                      Baked Penne with Mushroom Ragu and Ricotta Salata
                                      Corn Soup with Chiles, Lime and Cilantro Cream

                                      Her Foolproof Turkey really is foolproof, and uses an Alice Waters brine. I love the section on marinades and rubs and, as I've mentioned on hummous threads on this board, I'm a fan of her technique of adding ground toasted sesame, coriander, and cumin seeds to my hummus - friends always ask for the recipe.

                                      1. re: Rubee
                                        The Dairy Queen RE: Rubee Oct 8, 2008 01:02 PM

                                        Ooohh--thanks for the tips. I'm going to go home and tag those recipes. I will confess that I find the book a tad overwhelming/intimidating. I feel like I should start at the beginning, but that seems like the boring section. I don't know why I feel like I shouldn't just dive into the middle like I do with other cookbooks...


                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                          Rubee RE: The Dairy Queen Oct 8, 2008 01:12 PM

                                          No, I know exactly what you mean. I think it's because there are so many recipes, and there aren't a lot of pictures to get your attention.

                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                            greedygirl RE: The Dairy Queen Oct 8, 2008 01:19 PM

                                            I've had this book for ages and have hardly used it as well. It's just so darn huge!

                                    2. re: Rubee
                                      The Dairy Queen RE: Rubee Oct 8, 2008 05:09 AM

                                      I would love to do A NEW WAY TO COOK!


                                      1. re: Rubee
                                        Gio RE: Rubee Oct 8, 2008 07:44 AM

                                        I bought this book brand new from Alibris for 10.00$ !! Haven't cooked from it yet but.....

                                        As usual I'm torn between 2 books. This one and the fish book. Someone's going to have to persuade me. (@_@)

                                      2. Candy RE: MMRuth Oct 7, 2008 09:28 PM

                                        THE NORTH AFRICAN KITCHEN -FIONA DUNLOP.FISH MAJOR URK!

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: Candy
                                          Carb Lover RE: Candy Oct 8, 2008 07:36 AM

                                          Looks like this was just published this year, but my library has it so I just requested it out of curiosity. Have you tried some recipes from it already, Candy? Is Fiona related to Fuschia??

                                          1. re: Carb Lover
                                            beetlebug RE: Carb Lover Oct 8, 2008 08:46 AM

                                            That's funny. when I read Candy's post, I thought it was Fuschia as well. Then I looked at the title and realized it probably wasn't. then I wondered the same thing, are they relatives.

                                            1. re: beetlebug
                                              Gio RE: beetlebug Oct 8, 2008 09:49 AM

                                              She's a food and travel writer, I found via Google. Born in Sydney Australia but currently living in London.
                                              Here's her web site:

                                              I read Candy's post early this morning and I had a major brain shut down over the last 3 words.
                                              It took me this long to realize she does not like fish...... LOL

                                              1. re: Gio
                                                LulusMom RE: Gio Oct 8, 2008 11:08 AM

                                                Oh, THAT is what that meant! Thanks for explaining. really funny. Sorry Candy, didn't get it at first.

                                                1. re: Gio
                                                  Candy RE: Gio Oct 9, 2008 12:16 PM

                                                  I don't dislike all fish but I am pretty particular. A book just devoted to fish just does not appeal.

                                              2. re: Carb Lover
                                                Candy RE: Carb Lover Oct 9, 2008 12:12 PM

                                                I made the Tagine with Dried Figs and Apricots last week. Fab. I want to cook ,my way through the book.


                                            2. ChefJune RE: MMRuth Oct 8, 2008 09:48 AM

                                              Here's another vote for FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT! I've been cooking from it a bit for a few months, and have loved everything. Would ehjoy trading notes and stories with other hounds on the subject. And fish is such a good antidote to all the heavy foods that the holidays seem to bring with them every year. We always try to eat lokts of fish in anticipation of all the "stuff!"

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: ChefJune
                                                Jane917 RE: ChefJune Oct 8, 2008 08:20 PM

                                                OK, I will try again. I did not capitalize my first post, so my votes go to:

                                                THE ART OF SIMPLE FOOD, Alice Waters
                                                THE SPLENDID TABLE'S HOW TO EAT SUPPER, Kasper and Swift

                                              2. NYchowcook RE: MMRuth Oct 9, 2008 06:29 AM

                                                I'd love to try a new cuisine. I've dabbled in South American via:

                                                THE SOUTH AMERICAN TABLE: the flavor and soul of authentic home cooking from Patagonia to Rio de Janeiro, by Maria Baez Kijac. Kijac has been favorably compared to Diana Kennedy and Madhur Jaffrey. Recipes are accessible, and there are lots!

                                                I keep meaning to dive into Marcus Samuelsson's THE SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE; A discovery of the foods and flavors of Africa.

                                                10 Replies
                                                1. re: NYchowcook
                                                  LulusMom RE: NYchowcook Oct 9, 2008 08:22 AM

                                                  I like the idea of something new and different myself. I had recommended (sight unseen) the Samuelsson book last month. Have you looked at it? Does it seem interesting? I certainly like the idea of trying something completely different.

                                                  1. re: LulusMom
                                                    NYchowcook RE: LulusMom Oct 9, 2008 12:33 PM

                                                    Yes, it's a beautiful book, and is very enticing. I bought it and tagged the chicken and peanut stew, and squid w/ tomato-corn soup. I'm also eyeing the butternut squash, peanut, clam and spinach stew (malata)
                                                    I find Samuelsson fascinating -- Ethiopian by birth, adopted and raised by Swedish parents, and chef of Scandinavian cuisine at Aquavit in NYC.
                                                    I'll cook from it in the next couple days (so I can avoid getting on Ruth's S*** list, recommending a cookbook w/o having used it!

                                                    1. re: NYchowcook
                                                      Rubee RE: NYchowcook Oct 9, 2008 01:21 PM

                                                      Ha - I know. I really wanted to suggest Ana Sortun's "Spice", but haven't cooked from it. In fact, I have a lot of books I haven't cooked from yet so MMRuth's new rule will at least motivate me to try a couple of recipes from them...

                                                      I'd love to a Marcus Samuelsson book at some point also; I've been wanting to buy his Aquavit book for some time.

                                                      1. re: Rubee
                                                        MMRuth RE: Rubee Oct 9, 2008 01:26 PM

                                                        To clarify - it's not "a rule" by any means - I think the only rule we have is the all caps one (grin). Just (a) an observation on my part that those months tend to be more successful and (b) asking that those who have cooked from books that they recommend tell us a bit more about it, so that voters can be more informed.


                                                        1. re: MMRuth
                                                          oakjoan RE: MMRuth Oct 10, 2008 12:51 PM

                                                          MMR: I agree that this is a good observation and like to hear from folks who have a book and can give a description. Helpful.

                                                  2. re: NYchowcook
                                                    Chimayo Joe RE: NYchowcook Oct 9, 2008 01:42 PM

                                                    I'll second THE SOUTH AMERICAN TABLE by Kijac.

                                                    1. re: Chimayo Joe
                                                      yamalam RE: Chimayo Joe Oct 10, 2008 10:05 AM

                                                      THE SOUTH AMERICAN TABLE by Kijac

                                                      Cool, I already have that one. There is a whole chapter on ceviche:) I've tried two or three recipes and they've come out well. It's a very encyclopedic book - South America spans a lot of different cooking styles and cultures, but that might be perfect for COTM. No pictures though:(

                                                      1. re: yamalam
                                                        The Dairy Queen RE: yamalam Oct 10, 2008 10:22 AM

                                                        Could we do a South American Combo like with did with Vietnamese? I bought "ART OF SOUTH AMERICAN COOKING" by Felipe Rojas-lombar because Mark Bittman had it on his list of 50 cookbooks he didn't want to live without. At the time (about 10 years ago, I think) Bittman said it was the best, and more or less, only, such book out there. I checked it out from the library and was so charmed by it, that I bought a copy.


                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                          oakjoan RE: The Dairy Queen Oct 10, 2008 12:54 PM

                                                          I just checked my 2 local libraries and they both have the South American books.

                                                          Will check the rest of the books suggested here.

                                                          1. re: oakjoan
                                                            greedygirl RE: oakjoan Oct 10, 2008 01:13 PM

                                                            Both are pretty much unavailable in the UK. :-(

                                                  3. t
                                                    thecitycook RE: MMRuth Oct 10, 2008 01:29 PM

                                                    I enthusiastically agree with the suggestion of FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT by Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore. I did a review of it on TheCityCook.com in June and have single-handedly given a bunch of copies as gifts. It's great for both beginners and also anyone who's already skilled with cooking fish and shellfish.


                                                    I'm also a huge fan of the recently released FAT by Jennifer McLagan but maybe we can save that for next month!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: thecitycook
                                                      oakjoan RE: thecitycook Oct 10, 2008 05:26 PM

                                                      I just checked on Amazon and found that Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries is sellng for $17.50, so I vote for KITCHEN DIARIES by Nigel Slater.

                                                    2. Gio RE: MMRuth Oct 13, 2008 08:38 AM

                                                      FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT
                                                      A NEW WAY TO COOK

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