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Mar 7, 2009 11:53 AM

**April COTM 2009** suggestion thread! NOMINATE UNTIL March 13

Hi, COTM-ers!

Welcome to this month's suggestions thread for our April Cookbook of the Month, giving everyone a chance to make suggestions here until the END OF THE DAY MARCH 13 (Pacific time, midnight). That's a week for suggestions, and then we'll hold a quick runoff if necessary. Again, THIS THREAD WILL BE UP UNTIL MIDNIGHT MARCH 13. At that point, hopefully a clear winner will have emerged for us. That way, participants can order the book and access it via library or bookshop in time for April 1.


When you recommend a book, please try to mention if you've cooked from it or not, why you think it would work for COTM, and feel free to add in your own critique of the book ---- but please, please use all CAPS for your actual suggestion. I'm excited to see the ideas!

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 So and So” 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.

A little note -- Last month we had a verrry close race, and THE OTTOLENGHI COOKBOOK by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi was just a couple of votes shy of winning. So I'll toss Ottolenghi out there as a contender again. To find out more about this book, look at the thread that Candy has started on Ottolenghi:

If you'd like to take a peek, here are lots of other ideas from last month's suggestions thread:

It's a pleasure to moderate COTM and I'm excited to see what turns up this time! I will be online each evening, so I will respond each night to any questions or concerns.

Thanks so much for participating!

*foxy fairy*

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  1. A list of past COTM, for your perusal:


    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

    December '08/January '09 - Revisiting Sunday Suppers at Lucques and The Zuni Cookbook


    February -- A New Way to Cook by Sally Schneider

    March -- Fish Without a Doubt by Rick Moonen and Roy Finamore

    1 Reply
    1. re: foxy fairy

      I thought I voted for JAMIE OLIVER a while ago, but now I don't see the post so I probably voted for it on the BALKAN FOOD thread. ;+)

      I hereby vote for JAMIE OLIVER. I have Naked Chef, Naked Chef Takes Off and Jamie's Kitchen - any or all of these are fine with me.

      Already a fan of Stitt's, I had to have his new cookbook and I love it. Have had it only a week, but I've made three things out of it and they were exceptional: Penne with Chicken Meatballs (p.103), Scallops with Porcini Vinaigrette (p. 132), and Bottega Chicken Scaloppine (p.157). All three are keepers, but oh, the scallops were soooo good. I have many more recipes earmarked. Love this cookbook!

      7 Replies
      1. re: bayoucook

        FRANK STITT'S BOTTEGA FAVORITA I got it before Christmas and have been cooking from it as much as i have the Ottolenghi cookbook. Can't wait to get back down to Birmingham.

        1. re: Candy

          It's not in my library yet; I think it's too new for COTM

          1. re: NYchowcook

            It may never be, there is no US publisher. Most of us have ordered it from Amazon UK. You can access their website and the Manchester Guardian posts their column

            1. re: NYchowcook

              Were you referring to the Stitt's book? I saw it the other day - it's beautiful - but I agree it may be too new.

              1. re: MMRuth

                Yes, it is a great book but it is but Frank Stitt so what else could you expect? Everything has been excellent. Many of my friends got copies as Christmas gifts. We are all Stitt fans.

                1. re: Candy

                  I'm not sure I'm getting this right...a guy from Alabama's cookbook has no U.S. publisher and may be available only through Amazon UK?


                  1. re: oakjoan

                    Candy's been posting about two books:

                    Ottolenghi has no U.S. publisher, and might never (tragedy, IMO).

                    Stitt's book has been published in the U.S., and is great.

        2. JAMIE OLIVER

          I'd love to cook from any or all of his books. I have 3 or 4 and have always enjoyed the results. I like his relaxed approach, lack of fussiness, the feeling that food should be fun to make and serve, and, of course, taste fantastic. Many of his dishes seem well designed to serve easily to groups; if you remember, the early Naked Chef shows always ended with a group of people enjoying the food.

          1. I always enjoy people's suggestions, but last month's runner-up will almost surely win, huh?

            7 Replies
            1. re: bayoucook

              Not necessarily. The reason some of us objected to it is that it isn't currently available in libraries. It might be in a few months, but isn't yet, so I certainly hope to wait for it. Besides, there's a thread devoted to it already, so people are posting to that, a sort of runners up thread.

              1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                I saw a copy of the book for the first time today and no longer have any confidence that we’ll be seeing a US edition any time soon. I’ve had some experience throughout my career converting UK and European cookbooks for the North American market and have some idea of the problems involved. It’s more than just language and measurements. The Ottolenghi book is a size (narrow and tall) that is not used in the US. The entire book would, in addition to metric conversions and ingredient substitutions, have to be completely redesigned and reformatted. That’s a very expensive proposition for an author and restaurant essentially unknown on this side of the pond. Now that I’ve seen the book, I think that the wait for a US edition could be a very long one and, if the UK edition continues to sell here, might not happen at all.

                1. re: JoanN

                  It's not a typical format for the UK either. I don't think I've ever seen a book in that format before (and I used to work in publishing too). I wonder why they chose it, especially as it would make selling it abroad harder?

                  1. re: greedygirl

                    It's a beautiful book, but it's odd the way the text is all smooshed to the top of the page with very little margin.


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      I was in Kitchen Arts and Letters yesterday told me that he'd not heard of a U.S. edition being in the works, and that he tries to keep up on such things so as to correctly stock his shelves w/ U.K. books. The Ottolenghi book is $65 there! He said he didn't see any real issues with the "trim"/book size in terms of reproducing the book in the U.S., fwiw.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        Much less expensive to order OTTOLENGHI from the UK. In December it came to about $35 that was with the exchange rate and credut card fees.

                        1. re: Candy

                          Definitely - it was more a warning not to buy it there!

            2. Ana Sortun's SPICE: FLAVORS OF THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN. Her restaurant is excellent (Oleana, in Cambridge, MA) and she's a James Beard award-winning chef. I've only made a couple of things from the book - dukkah (a spice mix), whipped feta with sweet peppers, and sweet potato basteeya, but they have all been delicious.

              I just went through the book this weekend and marked a bunch of recipes to try; some examples:
              Fried haloumi cheese with pears and spiced dates
              Shrimp brik with pistachio and grapefruit charmoula
              Scallop pizza with leeks and fennel
              Chicken lamejun with roasted peaches, pistachio, and sumac
              Squash kibbeh with brown butter and spiced feta
              Roasted crispy duck with tomato-sesame jam
              Veal tagine with almond couscous
              Beef Shish Kabobs with sumac onions and parsley butter

              59 Replies
              1. re: Rubee

                SPICE is an excellent book. I cooked a delightful dinner with Sortun's recipes in fall of 2007 --lentil koftas, pomegranate salsa, hot buttered hommus with basturma (Armenian cured beef, similar to pastrami), and whipped feta. On the ingredient hunt, I checked out some great new markets as I cooked with this book, and Sortun really turned me on to spices like Aleppo chile, the exciting variety of paprikas. In fact, Aleppo has totally transformed my spicy world ever since I picked up her book. For some time I have thought that this book would be a great candidate for COTM. She does credit Paula Wolfert (author of Jan 2008 COTM The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen, which I adore) as one of her teachers/influences, but I found that most of their recipes to differ greatly. I checked that book out of the library at the time but I would happily purchase a copy, and those highlighted recipes look fantastic, Rubee.

                Here are pictures of the lentil kofta, pomegranate salsa, and hot buttered hommus with basturma. More than a year later, I recall that meal as one of the most exciting flavor explosions that I've set on my table, bursting with wild colors too. As usual, I originally discovered this book via chowhound :) as a hound raved about the buttered hommus.

                1. re: foxy fairy

                  Too bad about the prospects of a U.S. OTTOLENGHI...I'd still be interested in cooking along with the online recipes - did someone determine that the online recipes match those in the book?

                  Thanks Foxy and Rubee for sharing about SPICE- I've been looking for a cookbook rec for that cuisine. FYI, Amazon has used copies of Spice for $17, and if my little library here in AZ has 3 copies, then it's probably easily available elsewhere too.

                  I'd be interested in doing an AMERICA"S TEST KITCHEN book and a DIANA KENNEDY book at some point in the future as well.

                  I'd rather do one specific book than open it up to one author's entire oeuvre- Jaime Oliver is pretty prolific, and I feel like there'd be too much material if we tried to cover all of him like we did Batali.

                  That's my .02!!

                  1. re: yamalam

                    JoanN said here there were 11 recipes from the book on the Ottolenghi website. greedygirl says, aside from the recipes on the website, very few of the recipes are online.


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      I actually said the opposite - most of the recipes I've looked for ARE online in one form or another as this book seems to be very popular with bloggers. :-)

                      1. re: greedygirl

                        You're right--I forgot that you DID say that, but later. Thank you for that. But, in the post I linked, you had said that few of them were. I'm glad you reminded me that you had more up-to-date information. I had forgotten that.


                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                        Actually, I said there were eleven recipes on their Web site. I have no idea whether or not those recipes are or are not in the book.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          Yes you did and that's exactly what I said above, then linked to your comment Then, greedygirl said in reply to that that she had checked and discovered that, except for the recipes on their website, few of the recipes from the book are online.

                          BUT that was very early on, when we were first exploring the idea. She has SINCE said that she has discovered many many of the recipes are online, via blogs etc.

                          So, if people are interesting in cooking from this book, though it may have initially seemed that few of the recipes are online, it turns out that there are many online (although, perhaps unofficially.) Still, it sounds like they are pretty accessible. I personally haven't looked online except at the Guardian and on the Ottolenghi website. I broke down and ordered the book.


                    2. re: foxy fairy

                      foxy... would you mind posting the hot buttered hommus recipe (maybe as its own thread so I don't disrupt the suggestion thread)? It sounds really interesting, and I couldn't find it online.

                      1. re: Katie Nell

                        I would happily find it in my notes and post it but I'm on a road trip right now! When I get back I'll put it up for you... I will say that it's delicious!

                        1. re: Katie Nell

                          Hi Katie!

                          I'll be able to post the recipe, but not until later today. If anyone has the book, it's "Hot Buttered Hummus with Basturma and Tomato" on p. 200. I couldn't find any recipes on-line either.

                          Foxy Fairy - your pictures look delicious!

                          1. re: Rubee

                            That would be great- just in time for my house-warming dip party on Sat.! :-)

                            1. re: Katie Nell

                              I posted it on a separate thread. I can't wait to try it too. And congrats on your new house Katie!

                              Ana Sortun's Hot Buttered Hummus

                            2. re: Rubee

                              thank you Rubee! :) Indeed -- the results were truly scrumptious!

                        2. re: Rubee

                          Ana Sortun's new book (2008) is not yet in my library.

                          1. re: NYchowcook

                            NYchowcook, I wonder if you are looking at another cookbook? I think Spice came out in 2006 (at least according to amazon. Maybe Sortun has a new book out?


                            1. re: beetlebug

                              Yes, you're right - "Spice" was published in 2006. I'm not familiar with a new book by Sortun.

                              1. re: beetlebug

                                According to my library, there are two books:
                                The 2008 book is Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean (which is on order)
                                The 2006 book is Spice: Arabic flavors of the Mediterranean.
                                But then on ecookbooks I see there is only one; so maybe it's a paperback edition with a confusingly different title?!

                                I haven't cooked or read either (or the one) so I don't know what I'm talking (typing) about. (BTW, aleppo pepper is my new favorite seasoning!)

                                But I still wanna cook from Cradle of Flavor (do you hear the whine?) I want to cook from the Far East, not the Mediterranean. I've done Italian till the cows come home; we did Greece. We did Spain. Let's move east!

                                1. re: NYchowcook

                                  Wow, so confusing. I don't blame you - I just tried to figure it out and got even more confused. The book definitely came out in 2006 because that's when I bought it.

                                  I am looking at my book right now. Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean, hardcover, first edition, copyright @ 2006.

                                  When I google Spice: "Arabic flavors of the Mediterranean", it comes up on a couple of websites (most in the UK). But what's confusing is that those sites that have a picture of the book show my book, with the cover reading Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean......



                                  1. re: Rubee

                                    How does Spice differ from Arabesque, Rubee.

                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      While it covers similar cuisines found in Arabesque like Egyptian and Moroccan, it's mainly Turkish and Armenian influences with a smattering of dishes inspired by Greece, Italy, Portugal, North African, France, Spain, etc. The main difference is her recipes have more of a modern, sophisticated flair as she tends to use spices and traditional flavors along with her French training to come up with her own creative take on a dish, for example:

                                      Celery Root Skordalia
                                      Eggplant souffle
                                      Corn Cakes with Nasturtium Butter
                                      Beet Tzatziki
                                      Caramelized Onion Tart with Poppy Seeds, Bacon, and Dates
                                      Squid with Avocado "hummus"
                                      Sweet Potato Bisteeya
                                      Ricotta and Bread Dumplings with Red Wine and Porcini Mushrooms
                                      Fideo with Chickpeas, Vanilla, and Saffron
                                      Braised short ribs with riesling and tamarind
                                      Grape-leaf wrapped swordfish
                                      Rhubarb Rose Jam with Quail
                                      Potato risotto with green olives, rosemary, and walnuts
                                      Cod with truffled leek sauce and sweet potato "tots"
                                      Desserts like Sicilian Cremolata with Sugared Almonds, Strawberry and Lavender Tart, Frozen Jasmine Souffle with Tropical Fruit Syrup, and
                                      Hope that gives you an idea!

                                  2. re: NYchowcook

                                    Eastern Med is not Italy, or even Greece so much. It's more Middle Eastern, with very different flavors. I like Cradle of Flavor a lot, but it doesn't seem "springish" to me. It would be a good fall/winter book, IMO.

                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                      Alright, I'll grant you that Spice (whatever the rest of the title is!) seems like a good cookbook from a review I read, which reads in part: "Her mouthwatering dishes reflect influences from countries all around the Mediterranean, from Spain and Greece to Turkey and North Africa.

                                      Aha! See, we're both right -- Spain & Greece repetitions
                                      also Turkey & N Africa.

                                      Arabesque is Morocco, Turkey & Lebanon. (middle east/eastern Med, I'd say!)

                                      I can't win on CofF! One says it's a summer cookbook; you say it's a cold weather book! Where I am April is a cold weather month produce-wise -- there is nothing until spinach in late May.

                                      1. re: NYchowcook

                                        I love Asian cusine too. Actually, it's my favorite to cook, so I would love to do Cradle of Flavor for COTM sometime too.

                                        Actually, it's one of the reasons I was surprised more people didn't cook out of "A New Way to Cook" - there were so many recipes spanning the globe, and of course I've been trying a lot of the Asian-inspired ones. Will have to report on the delicious tofu with Warm Sesame, Ginger, and Scallion Vinaigrette with Salted Black Beans I made for lunch today. Not only healthy, but delicious.

                                        1. re: Rubee

                                          There are plenty of recipes spanning the globe, but how many did you find that were stellar?

                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                            It's perfect timing for us since we're striving to eat healthier - out of the recipes I've reported on, I'd say 90% I've already made again, or plan to:

                                            Chopped Salad from the "21 Club"
                                            "Fried" Eggplant
                                            Peppers Roasted with Garlic and Anchovies
                                            Greek Style Potatoes with Lemon and Thyme

                                            and her techniques of roasting with less oil, making flavorful pasta sauces, slow-roasting fish, and using sauces and rubs. My favorites so far are the Mexican Mole Rub and the Sesame, Ginger, Scallion and Black Bean Vinaigrette.

                                            Tonight I'm making the Fish Fillets in Green Curry Sauce.

                                          2. re: Rubee

                                            Rubee: In my case I got A New Way To Cook out of the library. When my husband brought it home I was disappointed due to its size. It was very heavy and thick and had a pretty ugly cover that looked to me as if somebody had made it at home to protect the real cover.

                                            I know that this is a total rush to judgment, but the first impressions are hard to get over.

                                            Some books are devoured by lots of people, so to speak. This one, I'm afraid, just sat on the counter. I have now vowed to go back and look through it so that I won't be rejecting it before I even read some of the recipes!

                                            Signed, Oak Lazy Bum With Preconceived Ideas Joan

                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                              It's really cumbersome, I agree, and with so many recipes, this book really needed more pictures. It took a lot of time to get into it, but I was extra motivated because we've decided to eat healthier at home, and the bonus is that it does work and we've both lost a few pounds.

                                              I really had to read it cover to cover to learn her thinking, especially her low-fat techniques and improvising with flavor agents. Lately, I go through it again while watching TV, and every time, find a recipe I want to try that I missed before. Just last night, going through the recipes for probably the 10th time, I marked two more: The Homemade Merguez and Duck or Lamb Burger variations under the Homemade Sausage section (p. 348),and the Chicken Liver Pate with Golden Raisins (p. 345).

                                              I also read a great tip for prepping salads ahead for entertaining - make the dressing in the wooden bowl you plan to serve it in, criss-cross a fork and spoon over it, pile the washed and dried greens on top, and cover with plastic wrap. When serving just toss; thus, saving on mixing bowls and storing the dressing and greens separately. Of course, the book is so big, I just looked and can't figure out where I saw that.

                                              Last night I made another batch of her Roasted Peppers with Garlic and Anchovies, and plan on using them for a simple, easy pasta dish for lunch today - Pasta with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Hot Pepper (pasta aglio e olio e peperocini), p. 125.

                                              1. re: Rubee

                                                I've read that same salad/dressing hint in many places. But it makes much more sense to me to store my dressing in a jar where I can give it a last minute shake to make sure it's well mixed before pouring it on the salad and tossing. So big deal, I've got one more jar to wash. For me a well-mixed dressing trumps a dirty jar.

                                                1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                  Okay, I get it - people don't want to like anything about this book ; ) I can certainly understand why people weren't enthusiastic or interested, but I'm a bit surprised at how much some dislike this book. It can't be that terrible, it was both an IACP and James Beard Foundation award-winner. HA - I feel like anytime I say something positive about the book, for some reason I have to defend my statements. Anyways, I'm not trying to convince anyone to go out and buy it. I'm only discussing because it was voted on, and chosen, as Cookbook of the Month

                                                  Speaking for myself, as I mentioned, I don't recall reading that tip before, I assume for the reasons you mention - that most dressings and vinaigrettes need to be re-emulsified. For these, I also use the glass jar method.

                                                  However, this tip would work with some of the dressings in the book specifically because of the minimal amount of oil used.

                                                  1. re: Rubee

                                                    Actually, I really want to like this book! I wish I could change a lot of things about it, the awkward size, the lack of photos. But the biggest issue I have with it is that only about 2/3rds of the recipes I try are successes. Granted, they are real successes, but the remaining 1/3 are pretty blah.

                                                    There used to be an old rule of thumb, and I don't even remember it exactly, but it went something like, if you could get two fantastic recipes out of a cookbook, then you should buy it because it pays for itself. I think ANWTC far exceeds that. But, I wonder if the rule of thumb applies in the Internet age when it's really easy to track down recipes.

                                                    RE: the IACP and JBF awards, I wish I knew more about how those are chosen, and, if they think that the books are truly outstanding, or if they are just the best in the genre that year, or it it's just ground-breaking in its area, even though it has a lot of kinks to work out, or how many recipes they even try. I think of VCFE--also a JBF winner. About 1/3 of those recipes were dogs, too, but it, like ANWTC was very ambitious in scope.


                                                    1. re: Rubee

                                                      I am going to try some of the recipes you liked, Rubee, once I get back home (been away for about five weeks!) I actually left town in early February and so didn't get to cook as much from the book as I would like, but I did note on the Feb threads that several of the dishes were easy and excellent, definite weeknight meal keepers (chicken in packets with mole, her mole-esque sauce, and a fantastic bean salad). The beans I made were so easy and so yummy, with onions and balsamic.... affordable too.

                                                      1. re: Rubee

                                                        I'm sorry, Rubee, I see now that my rant came off like I was jumping down your throat, which I didn't intend. The book didn't seem inspiring at first, but she does have lots in interesting ideas. I actually have several recipes marked in the book to try, but February was a bad month for creative cooking for me (too many committments).

                                                        Fwiw, I liked (and still like) The Glorious Foods of Greece more than most COTM posters did. Oh well!

                                                        1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                          No problem KS!

                                                          Actually, if I wasn't trying to eat healthier, I wouldn't be motivated to try so many of the recipes. That's the approach I've taken - that while not a restricted "diet book" per se, it's what I'm going to pull out for recipes to balance other dishes I make during the week, like some of my favorite high-oil Dunlop recipes (just made a batch of LOP's dry-fried beef last night for lunches the rest of the week....mmmm). Recipes in NWTC are definitely not the best version of recipe X, but might be the healthiest and best-tasting, so I feel like I'm being good at trying to make healthier dishes at home. Ha - especially since we don't focus on 'healthy" when we dine out and prefer to enjoy the meal and eat whatever we want.

                                                          It's been hard, I have to admit, not to add extra butter, cheese, or oil here and there (especially with the pastas). But on some other dishes (i.e, the roasted asparagus, slow baked fish, Asian vinaigrette, the Greek lemon potatoes), it's taught me that I don't always need that extra fat and it's actually just as good without.

                                                          Happy cooking, and if anybody tries a recipe I liked, but they don't, don't yell at me! ; )

                                                          1. re: Rubee

                                                            No yelling! Hey, I'm delighted you're trying, and diligently reporting on, so many of the recipes. It makes it a lot easier for those of us who find the book overwhelming to know where to start.


                                                        2. re: Rubee

                                                          Sheesh, Rubee, there must be somethng REALLY WRONG with you if you keep defending this hideous book that should be burned in public bonfires throughout the world. If they can get it up to the space station, maybe they could toss it into outer space! I'd be all for that.

                                                          Actually, the negative reports (I know, I know, I was a naysayer, too.) prompted me to look at the book and I found several recipes I'm going to try. I was intrigued by the homemade "Jello" ideas. I've never tried that and haven't had Jello for years. I also liked the marinades and rubs section. I'm always looking for new ideas for chicken wings and thighs.

                                                          I do reserve the right to make fun of and complain about (a) Martha Steward books no matter how good they are; (b) Paula Dean (sp?) books even though I've never even looked at one; and (c) anything from America's Test Kitchen just because I can't stand any of them on the tv program OR their whole attitude of exaggeration - "You have only made TIRED, LIMP, PALE, DRY ______ (fill in the blank here), but today we're going to show you how to make the REAL, TERRIFIC, FABULOUS and can be cooked in 2 minutes from beginning to end ______.

                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                            HA! That made me laugh out loud.

                                                    2. re: oakjoan

                                                      tsk tsk, oakjoan. Didn't your mother ever teach you not to judge a book by its cover? ;-)

                                                      Seriously, though, as shallow (or whatever) as it sounds, unattractive cookbooks and/or cookbooks without photos miss the crucial aesthetic appeal of food. Food is supposed to look appealing and delicious and if you see such a photo, you are more likely to be drawn, I think, into the book. Plus, if you're cooking something unfamiliar, a photo goes a long way towards helping you understand how the dish is supposed to look. If they say cook until golden brown, it's nice to see exactly what golden brown is, according to the photo.

                                                      Also, I think ANWTC is just too dang thick. I appreciate that she wanted it to feel comprehensive, but who wants to cook from an Encyclopedia?

                                                      Aesthetics matter!


                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        I didnt care AT ALL about the lack of pictures, some of my best cookbooks have none or few, but I did care about the overly finicky approach and precious tone. which put our teeth on edge. Sometimes less is more in terms of text. If I feel I cant relate to the sensibility of the author, thats usually the end for a book (if there are only recipes and no text this wont be a problem) I think for someone who is just starting out cooking and wants to adopt a whole approach to cooking this might be fine, but for me (apart from the pepper and tomato roasts) it was just too much of Sally and not enough good results.

                                                      2. re: oakjoan

                                                        Dear OLBWPIJ
                                                        I'm worse than you. I hate the title, so I didn't bother.
                                                        Yo, la peor de todas

                                                        Rubee, you make it sound really appealing anyway

                                                        1. re: pitu

                                                          pitu, I wasn't in love with the title either, but I thought it was supposed to be a play on The Way To Cook... So, classics, but lighter than the Julia Child days.

                                                          But, maybe that goes back to jen's point of it being overly precious.


                                                          1. re: pitu

                                                            Wow! Pitu, I feel so much better now I''ve discovered that you are not only even more petty than I am, but that you are the WORST OF ALL ....on the feminine roster at least.

                                                            I also agree that Rubee has made me decide to look it over again.

                                                            PS: It looks as though we've managed once again to cloud the waters so much with our ramblings that only a wizard could tell which cookbooks have been selected!

                                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                                              Only the CAPS count, OJ..... remember?

                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                Take it from me, the voice of experience, it's much easier to locate the choices in caps if other bozos like you and me don't use them in their posts!

                                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                                  i better mend my ways then.....oh great voice. (~_^)

                                                              2. re: oakjoan

                                                                Luckily, oakjoan -- the moderator has magical powers -- I am foxy **fairy** after all! I am keeping track of what has been suggested...

                                                                Plus -- I do agree on the deliciousness of certain books in terms of the way they actually LOOK. On the quirkier side of cookbook looks, I always have had fun with Mollie Katzen's hand-lettering and illustrations.

                                                        2. re: NYchowcook

                                                          We have done quite a bit of Asian though as well. Dunlop, Vietnamese.... I'd love to do Thai at some point, and Indian.

                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                            It was before you joined us, gg, but "Hot Sour Salty Sweet," which was COTM in February of '07, contains a lot of Thai recipes. We've never done Indian, though. In the US, the two major authors of Indian cookbooks are Madhur Jaffrey and Julie Sahni. Who are considered the best in the UK?

                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                              Madhur Jaffrey is the woman who brought Indian cooking to Britain and she remains very well known. She's been on telly a lot and most people who are interested in cooking will have one of her books. I'd never heard of Julie Sahni until I joined Chowhound so I'd say she's not widely known here.

                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                Now that you mention it, I'd forgotten that Madhur Jaffrey was originally published in the UK. In fact, I'd even forgotten that I have a first edition of "A Taste of India" published by Michael Joseph in '85, three years before the book was published in the US. I never cooked from it that much because I was intimidated by the imperial measurements, but I'm not any more. I could certainly get behind that book as a selection for COTM.

                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                  She lived in London for many years - in fact I didn't know that she now lives in New York.

                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                    What a lot of folks don't know (or don't remember) is that Madhur Jaffrey was a star of one of Merchant and Ivory's first movies, Shakespeare Wallah.

                                                                    If you ever get a chance, her series on Southeast Asian cooking as well as "The Spice Islands" are really good. I think they were BBC.

                                                          2. re: NYchowcook

                                                            isnt Sortun's focus a lot like Ottolenghi?

                                                            1. re: jen kalb

                                                              Completely different approaches. Ottolenghi is much more "fusion-y." Tonight I'm making Sortun's Feta Sauce with Shrimp, Melon, and Tomato.

                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                I still think its a chef type riffing on mediterranean cuisine as opposed to a book about cuisine (like Wolfert or Roden) - yeah, probably ottolenghi is more fusiony (the only one I cooked used SEasian seasonings) but a lot of the recipes Ive seen fit that bill.

                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                  YUM. That feta sauce sounds amazing and I would relish a report (or a mini-synopsis even) at some point... In terms of scrumptious feta dishes, I am really into the chicken smothered in onions and feta from The Glorious Foods of Greece (Kochilas, Aug 2008 COTM). I've made it several times including for my family for Christmas -- stunning.

                                                                  1. re: foxy fairy

                                                                    Amazing dish. I was a little worried about shrimp and watermelon together, but it really worked well. I used a very mild and creamy French feta and a quite assertive Australian EVOO. Made the sauce several hours ahead and left at room temperature, which turned out to be a very good idea: the flavors were fighting each other right after I made the sauce, but had mellowed out nicely by dinner time.

                                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                                      French feta... mmmmm. I actually discovered a fantastic little market with a delightful (and AFFORDABLE) assortment of fetas when I was playing around with SPICE last year. So much better for the budget shopper than the pricier options at Whole Foods etc. I went in looking for Aleppo and the paprikas, and all those fetas were awaiting...

                                                    3. re: Rubee

                                                      I second SPICE. I've cooked a number of great recipes out of her book. Those pistachio beef kebabs (made with Aleppo pepper) are one of my all-time favorites dishes.