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December 2008/January 2009 COTM: Sunday Suppers at Lucques & The Zuni Cookbook.

[Edited per MMRuth request.]

So, it was quite close, with Zuni coming first, followed quickly by Lucques. You're welcome to check the math if you think this might not be right, but TDQ and I came up with the same top two. For those who are interested, All About Braising came in third, but was six or so votes behind Lucques.

Master threads for these books:

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

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

In terms of posting, I think it's best that we just use the old threads. While 'My Chow' may still be a bit wonky, you can favorite them and you'll see when there are new posts by checking your favorites, and, of course, the threads will show up with 'new' next to them on the Home Cooking board when anyone posts to them. Now I have to go call my husband to tell him his girlfriend's book is one of the two (Goin) - he really wanted a vote and I had to hear a rehash about how terrible Vegetable Harvest was, and all about the 'pureed nothing' that I served him one night that was the straw the broke that camel's back!

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  1. I think using the old threads is a marvelous idea. This way, I can reference them before I embark on a dish.

    But, maybe the mods can sticky the original mother threads? And, maybe the titles can indicate the original COTM month and year, as well as Dec/Jan 2008/09?

    2 Replies
    1. re: beetlebug

      I'll look into the idea of stickying the mother threads - I think it's a good one.

      1. re: beetlebug

        We have to go ahead to do this - thanks again for the suggestion.

      2. Quick question, I am slightly confused, are we doing just those two books or Stevens as well?

        Thank you for counting all the results MMRuth!

        2 Replies
        1. re: newfoodie

          Just these two - I just wanted to mention that Stevens was quite close.

        2. This is going to a very interesting month.... I have the Rodgers book and have ordered the Goin, but I really want the Stevens book too. Guess I'll just have to give myself an early Christmas present. I'm looking forward to really getting into the Zuni and with all the reading I've done about the Luques suppers I can't wait to start.

          Many thanks for making sense of the next two month's COTMs, MM!

          5 Replies
          1. re: Gio

            Gio, you sound just like me. I don't have Stevens AAB, but I really want it. I've put it on my Christmas list and hope Santa is good to me. Well, Santa is always good to me, but I fear Santa thinks I have too many cookbooks already... (and Santa might be right, but that's not really the point!)

            I actually own both Zuni and Lucques because they have been so highly-spoken of on this board, but I've never cooked from them. Even though I didn't vote for Lucques, in hindsight, I'm glad it won because, after some more thought, I realized I'd probably never cook from it (or Zuni) without the nudge from/companionship of the terrific COTM-hounds! So I am really, really looking forward to Dec/Jan!

            My local library doesn't seem to have a copy of Stevens. I did go look at it at a bookstore last night, and somehow, it just didn't call to me enough to make me want to buy it. Yet. :)

            ~TDQ

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              I love both books and the thing they have in common is that the recipes are accurate, well written and delicious.

              I think the level of detail that Zuni goes into is phenomenal. And, her technique and philosophy is very similar to Waters. But, Rodgers is a superior writer and explainer of how to get the top notch results. She really explains how long something needs without having to look things up in other sources. Waters lacks the precision of timing and finishing temperatures of meats.

              Lucques is also great. And, while I do think Zuni recipes can be used for entertaining, it's more casual. Zuni is comfort food done exceptionally well. Lucques is company food and is written as such. Each of Lucques recipes serves 6 and the results are just a touch more refined than Zuni.

              I can't really compare the two because it's comparing apples to oranges. But, both have been deemed worthy of being on my very limited cookbook shelf.

              1. re: beetlebug

                Thank you beetlebug, for reinforcing how exciting the next two months should be! I have to say, I've been intimidated by the length of Rodgers' recipes, even though I've heard from you and others that her recipes are long because she's so thorough... And Lucques, well, I bought Lucques at a time of year I just didn't want to be indoors cooking or prepping or whatever. Now that the the long, dark days of winter are here, I have plenty of time to putter around my kitchen to play with Goin's recipes.

                I CAN'T WAIT!

                (And P.S. and even though I'm really enjoying Waters, I know exactly what you mean about her occasional lack of precision in AoSF...)

                ~TDQ

                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  Make the Zuni kale soup, TDQ. No ingredients that you have to sub to reduce the fat, simple and surprisingly delicious.

                  The active part of the Zuni recipes is no longer than average recipes -- all that info really helps teach technique and bumps up the quality of what you make. It's a great window into what makes some chef food better than an uninformed home version.

                  1. re: pitu

                    Sounds great, thank you! I will look into that--it sounds like something I would definitely be interested in!

                    ~TDQ

          2. There's one copy of the Zuni Cookbook in the whole of the London library system! Better go ahead and order it I suppose.

            2 Replies
            1. re: greedygirl

              Better order it!

              EDIT: P.S. to MMR and everyone in general I like both the ideas of using the former threads and arranging to have those threads "re-stickied" so it's easy to post to them. Thanks again, MMR!

              ~TDQ

              1. re: greedygirl

                GG, you MUST order Zuni. It's a keeper even if you only do the roasted chicken with bread salad recipe. Oh, but there are many others.

              2. Thanks for all your hard work MMRuth. I'm really happy about being able to do three of my favorite books for two months also, great idea!

                6 Replies
                1. re: Rubee

                  Oops - it's only two books, just to be clear. I only mentioned the Braising book, since it was a favorite as well, but it definitely came in third. You can still cook from it, of course!

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    MMR, just a thought (I think you're doing a fantastic job, so, no worries there), but to eliminate additional confusion, perhaps you might consider sending the mods an email with an edit of your original post mentioning that, although Stevens' AAB came in third, we'd previously decided to limit the books to two this time, so, Stevens is not officially one of the books for Dec/Jan, only Zuni and Lucques? Or something more elegant, as you always are... Hopefully the mods will be kind enough to make such an edit if you ask nicely (as I'm sure you would if you decided you wanted to have them make such an edit for you).

                    ~TDQ

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        Whoops, sorry. I'm always a step or two behind. :) Thanks again!

                        ~TDQ

                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                        I had actually thought I would concentrate on one of this month's books for December and then move to the second book for January all the while interspersing the Stevens braising book between the two.

                        Who's on first, BTW?

                      3. re: MMRuth

                        Oops! Thanks for the clarification...

                    1. Even though I didn't vote for the Zuni book, after looking over some of the old posts I'm really excited about it. I'm also really glad we've got 2 months to work with these two books. What with the holidays and various trips (family and just my husband out of town), I wouldn't have had much chance to cook without the longer time span.

                      1. I'm looking forward to it, too! When we did Goin the first time, it was spring, and now we can focus on the fall/winter dishes. Should be fun!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: DanaB

                          Yes - I think that's a great point. And, I didn't cook during the Zuni month, so I am hoping 'Santa' brings me a copy! Sometimes 'Santa' comes early to our house though, and sometimes 'Santa' doesn't realize what he has bought until weeks later!

                        2. I am thrilled to get a chance to cook from these books as part of COTM, thanks so much for organizing this.
                          I turn to these books often for inspiration, but i missed out participating when they were last featured here. Should be a fun two months, especially with all the great winter friendly recipes!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: rabaja

                            I got an added bonus after checking Lucques out of the library...I found a recipe for a great tartesque thing that I'm going to make to bring to Thnxgiv even though it's in the Spring Menu section. Thank you Suzanne Goin! It's tarte au fromage with lemon cream and blueberry compote. My Meyer lemon tree has just begun to offer up ripe fruit and I found some blueberries from Argentina that tasted pretty good when I tried them.

                          2. Good morning. The threads for these two books are "stickied" for the next two months.

                            Happy Cooking!

                            MMR