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Nov 10, 2008 08:34 AM

December 2008 Cookbook of the Month: Your Suggestions Needed [Ends 11/14]

Just realized I needed to put this up! Sorry for the delay.

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. One thought that I'll throw out there - since December is a busy month for people usually, this might be a good month to go back and cook from previous books as was discussed in an earlier month's suggestion thread.

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 November 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. 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 Chinese 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

    November - Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food

    2 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Hmmmm...not a lot of suggestions so far, though pikawicca's sounds intriguing to me. I would love to explore some former COTM's (I would love an excuse to buy "All About Braising!" ) particularly those from 2006 and 2007, before I started participating. I worry a little about losing the cohesive feeling of cooking in community if we're all scattered over 2 1/2 years worth of books. Maybe I'm over-thinking it (as usual).


      1. re: MMRuth

        I'm going to go for the COTM-Revisited, and love the idea of doing it for two months. I haven't had much time to cook these past couple of months (I'm back in school), but should in December and definitely in January when I'm on break. My nominations for authors are DUNLOP, GOIN, RODEN and RODGERS

      2. We haven't done an Eastern European book. Now that hearty eating season has begun, I'd be up for Polish, Hungarian, etc.

        1. I'd like to nominate Ina Garten's BAREFOOT CONTESSA'S BACK TO BASICS. I know it's a new book, so maybe we could also include one or two of her other books. The book seems to have some great recipes that would work well in the weeks leading up to the big holiday rush. And to be honest, I can't believe we haven't done any of her books yet.

          1 Reply
          1. re: CeeBee

            I'm surprised too that CH has never done a Barefoot cookbook because I have been steered by this board to her recipes so many times. I think her style is perfect for the Decebmer holiday parties and so I'm nominating BAREFOOT CONTESSA PARTIES (as it is available in my library- Back to Basics wasn't on their list.)


            I've had this book since publication in 1999. It's a book written by two friends who respect each other and the food they cook. It's not so much a book of recipes as it is a book of suggestions. Yes, the recipes are there but for each dish J & J have their own methods and techniques.

            There are classic French dishes and some "down home" comfort food. The he said - she said format is both fun to read and intriguing in it's individual description of each dish. They do not always agree on everything. I've made a few dishes from the book - one is a sensational eggplant and zucchini gratin for which I used Jacques' recipe. I think there are many recipes which would be perfect for the upcoming holidays...and beyond.

            The photographs are memorable: there's one of just their hands.... Julia's hand resting on the table and Jacques' hand covering hers. It's so evocative. I love this book!

            1. I'm all for the idea of doing PREVIOUS BOOKS during December. I know that things get crazy around here, and there isn't that much time for cooking. but it would be fun to have a chance to look at some of the older threads and check out the books I missed.