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**March COTM** vote: Ottolenghi or Fish?

Hounds! It's that exciting time when we get to vote for one of the top two contenders from this month's suggestions for COTM. Our choices for March 2009 Cookbook of the Month (as nominated in the suggestions thread) are:

THE OTTOLENGHI COOKBOOK by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
and
FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT by Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore

Please see the suggestions thread for in-depth discussion of each book, as fellow hounds have contributed copious and illuminating comments on content, style, and accessibility of each book, including nods to specific recipes:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/595572

Here are the links to Amazon pages on each book; I often turn to the customer reviews as I gauge a book that is new to me:

THE OTTOLENGHI COOKBOOK
http://www.amazon.com/Ottolenghi-Cook...

FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT:
http://www.amazon.com/Fish-Without-Do...

VOTING PROCEDURE -- Please cast your vote with TITLE OF THE BOOK in capital letters so that I can tabulate with ease. Voting will be open until the end of the day on Thursday February 19. Feel free to add commentary if you wish! Looking forward to seeing the results, and even more to cracking one of these open to start cooking!

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  1. We can't move over the votes from the other thread, but are "posting" them here:

    Candy - "OTTOLENGHI"

    alwayscooking - "OTTOLENGHI. If I can use online recipes if the book doesn't arrive in time."

    themags - "OTTOLENGHI"

    6 Replies
      1. re: foxy fairy

        To Candy, alwayscooking and themags - we just want to confirm that those were indeed "votes" for the voting thread and not just suggestions. If we got this wrong, please post here to correct.

        Thanks!

            1. re: The Chowhound Team

              Yes, a vote for OTTOLENGHI please - thanks CH Team!

          1. re: The Chowhound Team

            FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT if you're still counting...

                  1. FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT. Thanks Foxy Fairy.

                        1. FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT

                          for the main reason that Ottolenghi is not available in the library in at least two major cities or the surrounding areas. (Boston and NY)

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: beetlebug

                            I think in a few months, when the Otolenghi book is more widely available, it will get a lot of support.

                              1. re: beetlebug

                                Me too, I own the book already (thanks to greedygirl's suggestion). But I think it is more fair to wait until more people can get their hands on it, and I'm really excited by Fish without a doubt (making my second thing from it tonight).

                          2. FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT. Took it out of the library last night.

                            1. FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT

                              Because I can't get Ottolenghi from the library yet and I'd rather have the book in hand than try to make do with on-line recipes. I hope in the future that we will choose books that are readily available on both sides of the Atlantic. I'm sorry that no matter which of these two books are chosen, some people will be left out.

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                Just to clarify, Fish Without a Doubt *is* available in the UK..--perhaps not in libraries, but Amazon.co.uk has a number of secondary sources selling copies of the book at a discount and that ship from the UK.

                                http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-list...

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  Possible to get isn't the same thing as readily available, that's all I'm saying.

                                  1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                    It's more than just "possible to get." Although it may not be in UK libraries, it is available from a number of different local sources at a 25% or greater discount with local shipping charges and delivery times.

                                    In general, though, I agree with you.

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      The cheapest is actually only around a 10% discount. It's not possible to get this book for less than £20 in the UK as far as I can see. That's just too much to buy sight unseen when I already have a couple of Rick Stein books.

                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                        I hear you. We in the States can’t get Ottolenghi for less than £25. I’m not paying that either.

                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          Wow! I got my Ottolenghi for $31. Isn't that less than 25 pounds? Don't know what the exchange rate is these days. It came today, brand new and gorgeous!

                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                            Just over £20 I think. Similar to what it would cost me to get a book imported from the States.

                                            Are you in love already?

                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                              As of 2:00 p.m. on Saturday (2/21) there are still several copies of the Ottolenghi cookbook available on Amazon U.S., all the the $30-$40 range. Some of them are shipped from the U.S. I just got mine yesterday from New Jersey. It's new.

                                            2. re: oakjoan

                                              The pound is at $1.44 to $1.00 US

                                      2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                        Ottolenghi also has a website with many of their recipes.

                                    2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                      there will always be some people left out, through self selection or relative unavailablity of the book where they are. the imost mportant thing is to have the fair and open process that has been developed here so that over time everyone can participate in the choice. I guess one alternative would be to add a fish book that is more avaialble in the UK to the monthly menu.

                                      the Ottolenghi book looks interesting but its only 2 months old. Hopefully a US version will come out too in time. In any event I hope we can consider it again. down the road - might be good for the summertime.

                                      1. re: jen kalb

                                        I think the US version came out 2 months ago - the UK version came out in May.

                                    3. Re-vote as my original seems to have not counted.
                                      I am not yet familiar with either book, but it seems "Ottolenghi" is not available, so I go for "FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT"...at least I can buy that one.

                                        1. I will keep the voting open until the end of the day today (Thursday February 19), Pacific Time -- so that's about eight more hours. Please keep the votes coming! thanks!

                                          *foxy*

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: foxy fairy

                                            One day vote?? Not everyone checks every day. If I'm pressed for time, I only check the list of threads I'm already commenting on...
                                            I thought the vote was on the other thread, combined with the suggestions...
                                            (/shrug)

                                            THE OTTOLENGHI COOKBOOK + website

                                            p.s. I just posted a link in the suggestion thread to this voting thread. No worries - FISH is nice too! I know it's your first month admin'ing this
                                            : )

                                            1. re: pitu

                                              I couldn't agree more, pitu. I wanted to give it more time BUT I opted to give people time to order/access the winning book. So I actually had this up for two days, the 18th and the 19th. Believe me, I wanted to have it up longer, but people need to be able to get the books. I started the whole process later than normal this month because I didn't actually have access to all of the moderating info until a little bit into the month :) In future months I'll start the initial suggestions thread on the very first of the month. Thanks!

                                              *foxy*

                                              1. re: foxy fairy

                                                Yes - and as I said on the other thread - that was my fault!

                                          2. FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT

                                            And, if it wins, I will photocopy some recipes for Greedygirl and bring them to London with me.

                                            5 Replies
                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                and I can photocopy a batch and mail them! Maybe we can do batches ...

                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                  Remember, too, that there are at least 19 recipes from the book online:

                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5955...

                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                    Thanks for that - I'll make sure to copy ones that aren't on line.

                                              2. re: MMRuth

                                                So MMR, on your return trip, will you swing by Oakland, CA and give me my photocopies! I LOVE this new service! ;+)

                                              3. I am waiting as late as I can to cast my vote. I believe, from discussion last month, that COTM moderator can indeed cast a vote. If I'm wrong, chow moderators or fellow COTM-ers, let me know. I am waiting until the last minute to place mine, though, after so much discussion about the moderator's capacity to sway the vote --- LOL!

                                                OTTOLENGHI

                                                32 Replies
                                                1. re: foxy fairy

                                                  Hope this isn't too late -- OTTOLENGHI.

                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                    OTTOLENGHI, also hope it's not too late!

                                                    Oops, see that it is too late. Sigh.

                                                    I also want to say that the unavailability rumors re the Ottolenghi cookbook are wrong. It is only Amazon itself that has no copies. There are several new or good used copies available for less than $32.

                                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                                      Oakjoan, where are you finding copies of Ottolenghi for less than $32? When I go to Amazon.com, search books for Ottolenghi: The Cookbook (Hardcover), the search engine returns that it has 12 copies available from 3rd party sellers, with the lowest price being $31.78 (plus $3.99 shipping) and the highest being $54.60 (plus $3.99 shipping). The one used copy is $46.73 plus $3.99 shipping. These Amazon results are nearly identical to what they were 5 days ago. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5955...

                                                      [Okay, which of you just bought the copy of Ottolenghi that was $31.48? There were 13 books available a minute ago... So funny!].

                                                      I would love a good deal on a copy of this book. Where are you finding it for less than $32?

                                                      ~TDQ

                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        these I think are still the Ebury Press UK edition. And many of the sellers are located in the UK. I hope there will be a north american edition published. Ottolenghi's website seems to have gone silent on this. Realistically american libraries are not going to buy until there is a US edition.

                                                        1. re: jen kalb

                                                          I think you're right, jen. This is a quote from Yotam Ottolenghi from his Web site from this past July:

                                                          @ Hilary - I am afraid a US version is not available yet. Publishers are looking for an American partner but still in the process. Mind you, even if it does happen it will take a while. I guess you'd be having to convert grams to cups for a while. Best wishes.

                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                            The U.S. edition was published in Dec 08.

                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                              I don't think so. Barnes and Noble never heard of it. It's not listed in "Books in Print." There have been no reviews of a US edition anywhere that I can find, only reviews of the UK edition. I know Amazon.com has that Dec. '08 date listed, but it also lists the publisher as Ebury Press.

                                                              Has anyone actually seen a copy of the book that has been adapted for the US market?

                                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          Have you looked at purchasing it from Amazon UK? As the pound/dollar rate is in your favour at the moment, it may be worthwhile even with shipping.

                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                            No, I haven't looked, but it's a good suggestion. I'm just wondering where the less than $32 books that oakjoan referred to are.

                                                            ~TDQ

                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                              I really don't understand TDQ. I visited Amazon about 6 hours ago and there was still one book for $31. something. In addition, there were several others in the mid-$30 range. Do you mean you were looking for less than $32 books including shipping? If so, I guess I didn't explain well enough.
                                                              I certainly didn't mean to imply that any of the books were under $32 including shipping. I am actually writing this about 10:30 p.m. PST and haven't visited Amazon since earlier today, so things might have changed.

                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                TDQ: As of 10:35 PST, I counted 3 New Ottolenghi books for $31.78 (not sure of the 78, might have been 76, 77, or 79. This is on Amazon U.S., not Amazon U.K.

                                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                                  Ah, yes, that's pretty much what I found and said to everyone on Feb 13. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5955... When you said above the "rumors" of unavailability were untrue, I thought you knew of a place where the books were plentiful and available for less than $32 (in my world, $31.78 or .76 or .77 or .79 rounds to $32.) Since there are more than 13 of us participating in COTM, that doesn't really seem like very many books to me. I guess it's a moot point since Fish won.

                                                                  On the other hand, my library has 3 copies of Fish. They are all currently checked out, but I've got one reserved. So, that should work out fine. Hopefully the U.S. release of Ottolenghi will come out soon.

                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                    TDQ:

                                                                    I was also for the suggestion of Ottolenghi and the websites, since there are more than 100 fab recipes online with color photos et al. I haven't bought the COTM several times when I wasn't that interested or was feeling cheap and I've gotten along using websites. As you say, though, all this is moot since Fish won. Luckily my library has 3 copies and I've reserved one. Appee Cooo king!

                                                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                                                      A bit of idle googling this morning has revealed that Ottolenghi is very popular with food bloggers, and that a lot of the recipes in the book have found their way onto the internet already. I tried googling several things that I've made from the book, and they were all on the internet in one form or another.

                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                        I just bought a copy at Books and Cooks in London - it looks beautiful and I can't wait to try the various meringe recipes. The woman in the shop said that the book is one of their best selling cookbooks. In the American section, there was a copy of Goin's book (as well as Zuni & a Platter of Figs) and she said that when it came out, they tested various recipes at the shop and that the book sold well.

                                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                                          MMR: I recently got my copy of Ottolenghi and made the first meal using its recipes last night. What a great dinner!

                                                                          We had Salmon with Red Pepper Hazelnut Sauce and Cauliflower Fritters with Lime Yogurt Sauce. Both were absolutely fabulous. Can't wait to try more. Wolfed it all down before realized I hadn't taken photos, so you'll have to go on my recco.

                                                                          I've been cooking from Ottolenghi's online recipes for months now, also with great results.

                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                            When I first got my copy I noticed a couple of dishes using Samphire. I thought to my self "that will be the day in Bloomington, In if that ever shows up." Astoundingly it did show up in my local Kroger they are calling them "Sea Beans." We had the Samphire and Asparagus with some fried cod last week from the book. Great stuff! Now I have to get that polenta cake made. There is so much in that book I'm itching to get to.

                                                                            1. re: Candy

                                                                              I think sea beans is the name generally used in the US. I've only ever seen them sold as sea beans, no matter which store or farmers' market.

                                                                              1. re: Candy

                                                                                Since you're already cooking from the book, it would be great if you'd start a thread on it with the details so the rest of us could benefit from your experience when it is COTM, as it seems certain to be. And I'm sure oakjoan will be joining you momentarily, if not sooner.

                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                  I was just thinking the same thing (while trying not to fall asleep) - it would be great to have a new thread where people post about what they've cooked from the book. I'll certainly contribute to it.

                                                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                    Goodness - this sounds like a 'revolution' !

                                                                                    =)

                                                                                    And it's coming from the cookbook did not vote for this month - but it is actually the one we ARE cooking from (hardcover or web) - hmm . . .

                                                                                    Should we do a different and individual thread? And should there be two different cookbooks this month? Perhaps we should just hold the reins - and vote and post our experiences with these recipes next month (when we know O will win).

                                                                                    1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                      I kind of agree with this. I've cooked quite a bit from the book as have had it since last summer and I've been holding off on creating a thread because then what's the point of it being COTM?

                                                                                      I'd also be keen on waiting until May/June to do Ottolenghi (she says presumptiously) because April is a very tricky month in the UK for fresh produce. It's the "hungry gap", when the winter veg is pretty much over but we're waiting for the spring/summer crop to start.

                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                        "because then what's the point of it being COTM?"

                                                                                        Interestingly enough, it doesn't seem to work that way. Evidence indicates, in fact, that it might be just the opposite. There have been a number of threads (just off the top of my head: Flexitarian, Simon Hopkinson, New Way to Cook, now Fish Without a Doubt) that rather than dampen interest in having the book as COTM has instead created interest where little previously existed.

                                                                                      2. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                        Actually Fish Without a Doubt month hasn't started yet (and peope are posting on the Fish Without a Doubt thread). The book people don't much seem to be cooking from is A New Way to Cook. I keep wondering if Chow's technical problems are keeping the posts down, or if the book just isn't doing it for people.

                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                          Agreed--ANWTC doesn't seem to be getting a lot of action. I personally just haven't had much time to cook from ANWTC (or anything else, lately, which is why I haven't been nominating or voting lately, just participating in the discussion and cooking as time permits.). In my case, nothing to do with technical problems.

                                                                                          As far as starting a thread on Ottolenghi, I don't see the harm in doing so. This board is supposed to be available for you to discuss whatever's exciting/interesting to you on the Home Cooking front and if that's Ottolenghi, go for it. At least a couple former COTM's had threads about them before they became COTM: Flexitarian Table, for instance, and I think Hopkinson. I had a thread where I asked a specific question about ANWTC that turned into a thread (really, more of a thread than I'd intended. I just had a specific little question!)

                                                                                          The only thing I will say is that its our enthusiasm and participation that keeps COTM going, so, even when I'm not interested in the book or don't think I'm going to be able to cook from it for whatever reason, I do try to acquire the book from the library and try a recipe or two from it, just to do my part in keeping COTM going. On the other hand, there's no point in doing so if you really aren't interested in a book/topic. That just turns into torture.

                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                            This is just a general reply to various posts. I have Fish Without A Doubt and plan on cooking from it in March. I don't think the idea of having an Ottolenghi thread as a revolution ... just a way to keep that discussion focussed as well. As TDQ wrote, lots of other books have their own threads - including a number I started, as I started cooking from a book that I immediately liked. Some of those books have become COTMs with very active participation.

                                                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                              Yeah, I have been a big fan of those threads dedicated to specific cookbooks. The Flexitarian one got me to buy the book, and I still cook from it on a regular basis. I'm all for someone starting an Ottolenghi cookbook thread. We can just link to it once (you see how certain I am this will happen?) it becomes the COTM.

                                                                  2. re: greedygirl

                                                                    Fwiw, I ran through the process and indeed, it would be cheaper to order from Amazon UK including shipping (came to about $31 total). Though your credit card might ding you an additional fee for a foreign transaction. However, I'm still hoping that someday there will be a copy in my library to borrow.

                                                                    1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                      Sounds like the way to go! Thanks for running through that.

                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                          2. And the winner is -- (after a very very close race)

                                                            FISH WITHOUT A DOUBT!

                                                            So I hope everyone gets ordering.... and I'll certainly suggest Ottolenghi in upcoming months. I actually have little to no experience cooking fish, so this will be a new frontier for me! Looking forward, and thanks for letting me be of service --

                                                            *foxy*

                                                            12 Replies
                                                            1. re: foxy fairy

                                                              Well the word is certainly out on Ottolenghi now Stateside!

                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                Greedygirl, you should contact them for a cut of their US sales!

                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                  LOL! Maybe I could get a free cooking lesson out of them for my PR efforts.

                                                                2. re: greedygirl

                                                                  I've started cooking their web recipes - thanks for the heads-up!

                                                                  1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                    Yeah, that Guardian UK site is loaded with great recipes! What a find. Now that I have the book, however (she said in a falsely modest manner), I'm in heaven.

                                                                    I also want to suggest that the title of the voting message contain the TIME OF THE VOTING PERIOD. If not that, it should be at the very top of the first message in all caps. Granted, I was not really looking at Chowhound much in the last couple of days, but I did pop on and just saw the voting thread and didn't (my own fault, of course) check within to see what the time constraint was. When I checked back, although it was last night, it was too late here in Califa. I don't think my lone vote (or mine and Pikawikka's) would have changed the outcome, but, still, it'd be a good thing to make the voting period part of the main topic message in future.

                                                                    My spirits lifted, however, when just after seeing Ottolenghi didn't make it, I checked and found my local library has THREE copies of Fish Without A Doubt!

                                                                    1. re: oakjoan

                                                                      Since Pikawikka's and my sources are severely limited when trying to obtain good fish, we live near each other). I am going to be cooking from Ottolenghi. South Central Indiana is very limited on choices of good fresh fish. It is unreliable and a "catch" as can deal here.

                                                                      1. re: Candy

                                                                        RE: unavailability of high-quality fish in certain parts of the U.S. --I just wanted to share this tidbit from page 13 of "Fish Without a Doubt", the author if which is in Vegas,

                                                                        "Not all of us are fortunate enough to have a great fish market in our town...The internet opens up a world of possibilities...For those of you who wonder about the wisdom of having fish shipped to you, trust me: when you order from a reputable source, your fish arrives in pristine condition."

                                                                        Then he lists (on page 477) these suppliers:

                                                                        http://www.seafoodchoices.com/home.php (you can search by fish species).
                                                                        http://www.brownetrading.com/ ( he suggests you call them because they don't always list the available fish on the site).
                                                                        http://farm-2-market.com/ (sturgeon, oysters, mussels and other ocean products, shrimp in season, heads-on never frozen LA shrimp).
                                                                        http://great-alaska-seafood.com/ (salmon, halibut, sablefish).
                                                                        http://taylorshellfishfarms.com/ (oysters, manila clams, mussels, Dungeness crabs).

                                                                        He says these supplies use "careful packing, frozen gel packs, and overnight shipping so that the fish arrives in pristine condition."

                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                          Oh, thanks TDQ! Somehow I'd missed that. I couldn't find the blackfish I was looking for yesterday, maybe this is the way to go. Thank you, thank you!

                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                            To this list, I would add the Wild Salmon Seafood Market in Seattle. Call toll free (1-888-222-FISH).

                                                                            Me: What's fresh today?
                                                                            WSSM: One of our fisherman just dropped off a halibut.
                                                                            Me: How big?
                                                                            WSSM: About 14 pounds.
                                                                            Me: I'll take it all, cut into 1# fillets, please. Oh, and throw in 2 Dungeness
                                                                            crabs, too.
                                                                            WSSM: You'll have it tomorrow by 3. (I live in Indiana.)

                                                                            24 hours of anticipation, then a feast and lots of fish for the freezer. When king salmon are in season, I talk with these folks a lot.

                                                                        2. re: oakjoan

                                                                          Never fear. I have a feeling that in a few months, when maybe there will be a US edition, or maybe copies are more available, we'll all be voting for Ottolenghi.

                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                            It may be better to do it in summer anyway. There are so many great salads and vegetable recipes. I'm just glad to be spreading the Ottolenghi love. ;-)

                                                                          2. re: oakjoan

                                                                            oakjoan -- thanks for this idea. I added the TIME OF VOTING PERIOD to the title of the April suggestions thread. Great point, and by the way I actually keep voting open until the end of the day, California time -- no East Coast bias! :)

                                                                            *foxy*

                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                        I just saw this thread and wanted to add my support for OTTOLENGHI in the future! I ordered the book from UK Amazon last summer.

                                                                        1. re: emily

                                                                          Noted! I will certainly put Ottolenghi out there when I open the suggestions thread for future months. thanks :)

                                                                          *foxy*

                                                                      2. Fish Without A Doubt - by far!