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*May COTM* voting thread -- VOTING ENDS APRIL 15

It's that time of the month again! Here are the hottest contenders for May Cookbook of the Month here at chowhound, as tabulated from this month's suggestions thread. I have included the amazon link below each title so you can peruse reviews of the books, but I wanted to clarify that we are not affiliated with amazon, and that we purchase from a variety of sources and that many of us borrow our books from the library. You definitely don't need to purchase the book to cook with us for Cookbook of the Month! Some of us request interlibrary loans if we can't get our hands on the book at our local branches.

Thanks to all for such lively and vibrant reviews, suggestions, dialogue, and encouragement in your contributions to the suggestions thread. Now it's time to vote! Cast your vote with the TITLE OF THE BOOK in capital letters please.

PLEASE CAST YOUR VOTE BY THE END OF THE DAY (CALIFORNIA TIME, MIDNIGHT) ON APRIL 15. THANKS! PLEASE VOTE WITH THE TITLE OF YOUR CHOICE IN CAPITAL LETTERS!

Now, can someone give me a drum roll --or maybe clatter some pots and pans in a festive manner?

BON APPETIT Y'ALL: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking by Virginia Willis
http://www.amazon.com/Bon-Appetit-YAl...

660 CURRIES by Raghavan Iyer
http://www.amazon.com/660-Curries-Rag...

SPICE: FLAVORS OF THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN by Ana Sortun
http://www.amazon.com/Spice-Flavors-M...

CRADLE OF FLAVOR: HOME COOKING FROM THE SPICE ISLANDS OF INDONESIA, SINGAPORE, AND MALAYSIA by James Oseland
http://www.amazon.com/Cradle-Flavor-I...

MADHUR JAFFREY INDIAN COOKING by Madhur Jaffrey
http://www.amazon.com/Madhur-Jaffrey-...

Happy voting! As always, it is my pleasure and an honor to be part of this outstanding community of home cooks!

*foxy fairy*

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  1. Here is the link to our suggestions thread, including lots of dialogue on the nominated books:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6085...

                      1. re: cpw

                        INDIAN COOKING by Madhur Jaffrey

                      2. I have had a good look on Amazon at all these books. There is no loser here. A good selection this month for sure.
                        May end up buying them all.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: billieboy

                          SPICE, but I am also interested in any of these books! Great choices...

                          1. re: billieboy

                            Billie - Look at these sites for reduced prices for the cookbooks. No reason to zero in on Amazon...

                            http://www.alibris.com/

                            http://www.ecookbooks.com/

                            1. re: Gio

                              Thanks Gio, but the shipping to Canada kills the deal. Amazon.ca will ship for free if it's over $40 (easy to do) and I get it the next day.

                              1. re: billieboy

                                Yikes. I need to move to Canada. I love it there, BTW.....

                                1. re: Gio

                                  I'll shovel a path through the snow for you :-)

                            1. INDIAN COOKING by Madhur Jaffrey

                                  1. SPICE
                                    and I hope we do Cradle of Flavor very soon too

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: pitu

                                      if I may, I'd like to change my vote to
                                      CRADLE OF FLAVOR (from Spice, which I'd also like to do in the future)

                                      Awesome that there's BAY' thread burning hot, and once my library gets it I'll check it out..

                                            1. CRADLE OF FLAVOR. Thanks for doing this FF.

                                              1. Any of these would be interesting to cook from, but I'm most curious about BON APPETIT Y'ALL, I think.

                                                      1. I'd like to do both Jaffrey and Cradle of Flavour at some point, but my interest has been piqued by Gio's thread so I'm voting for BON APPETIT Y'ALL.

                                                        14 Replies
                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                          Im having a hard time with these inconclusive, rather evenly divided voting threads, month after month. couldnt we just decide now for the next three months? I dont like the idea that any of these good books get tagged permanently as losers or also rans.

                                                          1. re: jen kalb

                                                            While I don't think the books not elected are relegated to the abandoned file, I do like your idea of choosing cotms for more than one month. It would give folks more time to order or reserve the books in preparation for the cook-along.

                                                            Personally I would like to cook from the curries book, and the madhur jadffrey books and see them coming up for election in the future. I own a marvelous compilation of 15 Asian cuisines in one book that I've mentioned several times, so I'm not that keen on the "cradle of flavor.

                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              Cradle of Flavor is a really top flight rendition of the Indonesian cuisine, like Fuschia Dunlop is in her chinese cuisines. I was prepared to think dislike it but became a believer after actually cooking from it. really dont agree that Charmaine Solomon comes close to this - thoI think she has made a good compilation I am less enthusiastic about it for most of the cuisines than individual books I have on those cuisines. If we cooked from Solomon we would be all over the map unless we did it for a year (;-) But I hear you.

                                                            2. re: jen kalb

                                                              If I'm counting correctly and even counting bayouboy for BAY' (even though his vote isn't in all caps), then we have

                                                              Bon Appetit Y'all 9 votes
                                                              Spice 7 votes
                                                              CofF 6 votes

                                                              and the two Indian books splitting the Indian vote with 2 each.

                                                              I personally would be completely in favor of taking the three top vote getters if the race remains this close as May, June, and July. Whatever works for foxyfairy...

                                                              ~TDQ

                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                I rather like the monthly vote-off personally, and it keeps things interesting. :-)

                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                  I agree, gg. (Even though I can see myself being carried on a litter to the old age home still nominating “Cradle of Flavor.”) I think the discussion is always enlightening and it seems to be the discussion even more than participation that brings new people into COTM. Choosing the books for a three-month period would lock newcomers out of the discussion and thus, perhaps, out of COTM and I don’t think any of us want that. I’d also be concerned about the precedent it would set. Would we always do it? Would it sometimes be only two books? Would it only be when a few different books got an almost equal number of votes? And who would make the decision whether or not it should be done and if so how many books/months it should be?

                                                                  I’d prefer to keep the system as it is. If there’s a book that a number of people are truly interested in having as COTM, they’ll nominate it and vote for it. I’m not concerned that either Madhur Jaffrey or “Cradle of Flavor” would ever be tagged as a loser. At least, not in my book.

                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                    Plus it's often the case that a book will be in the running several times before finally making it to COTM. It happened with Vietnamese, and I'm pretty sure it will happen to Cradle of Flavour, although I hope it's WELL before JoanN is carried off this mortal coil. ;-)

                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                      I'll be with you in spirit Joan, drooling and nearly blind, mumbling: Cradle of Flavor . . .Cradle . . .

                                                                      Harumph at BAY being COTM on the heels of a hot thread on the very subject (bad sportsmanship, I spose) Cradle . . . .

                                                                      Maybe we could have a run-off vote of the top 3 vote getters, since 9 votes is kinda small for COTM if memory serves. But I will leave it up to Queen FF, our noble moderator.

                                                                      1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                        Oh that's a good point--we do have the run-off mechanism! I forgot about that.

                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                        1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                          Wow! Now I am royalty??? NYchowcook, can you get everyone else in my life to notice that and refer to me as Queen? J/K.

                                                                          As others have said, I do so enjoy expanding my repertoire of cookbooks each month. I don't mean that I buy them all, but I do check them out from the library at least.

                                                                          I still haven't made anything from Breakfast, Lunch, Tea this month... but like a good COTM moderator, I did make a COTM recipe last night, one from months and months ago.... the yummy yummy raspberry chicken from Silver Palate! I'll be posting my report there later today, with a photo of the gorgeous pink sauce.

                                                                          If it's a close call we will hold a runoff.

                                                                          1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                            What an interesting turn of events. I wonder why "bay'a" has generated such response/reaction. Is it because it harks back to American food, whatever that means? Or does it relate to Home Cooking....? But it seems as if it has hit a nerve somewhere in the heartland....

                                                                            1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                              If we have another vote, it's leaving it quite late for some of us to get hold of the book. :-)

                                                                            2. re: JoanN

                                                                              I agree, three months is too long, but I totally support two months, especially when one book repeatedly comes in a very close second.

                                                                              While I value the discussion around the nominating process, I think the voting process is really uninteresting and takes up a lot of space at the top of the board. Not everyone on the HC board reads the COTM threads.

                                                                              How all this would be administered is a whole other problem. A very practical problem that would be hard to solve, I agree.

                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                            3. re: greedygirl

                                                                              The more I think about it, I think 3 months at once is too much. But, I'd be in support of two at a time. But, I'm okay with one as well...

                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                      2. Last few months I have been very tempted to suggest the same, to have a decision for the few upcoming months.

                                                                        But everytime the voting starts, I enjoy my own excitement and waiting; and everybody's enthusiasm for the next COTM. Not only that, new books comes up everytime, which makes it more interesting. I think I also prefer this monthly voting.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: cpw

                                                                          I love the nominating process because I get to read lots of interesting info about cookbooks, and who doesn't love a good discussion about cookbooks, but I dread the voting process.

                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                            1. I am totally casting a sympathy vote for JoanN, whom I do not wish to see carried off this mortal coil mumbling CRADLE OF FLAVOR!

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: clepro

                                                                                (^ ^)
                                                                                *

                                                                                Hope this doesn't start a trend of everyone pretending to be an alta cocker to command the sympathy vote, but thanks guys. Looks like I'm gonna need all the help I can get.

                                                                              2. CRADLE OF FLAVOR, please

                                                                                (not a sympathy vote, but a "I really want to cook from this book and my library has it" vote. I think can do an interlibrary loan to get spice and bon appetit y'all. Too bad, I would love an excuse to buy the latter. ;-) bon appetit y'all seems to have a strong thread going, so, I think we can wait awhile for it to be cotm... )

                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                1. SPICE

                                                                                  toss up between that and Cradle so the deciding factor was which one my library owns. I did put in a request that they purchase Cradle, just in case.

                                                                                    1. RUN OFF THREAD is at
                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6126...

                                                                                      CRADLE OF FLAVOR v BON APPETIT Y'ALL

                                                                                      VOTE BY SUNDAY!

                                                                                      btw, it looks like Cradle of Flavor got 10 here, and Bon App got 8
                                                                                      Now what will happen with all those Spice and 660 Curry votes?
                                                                                      And will people check in and vote again?
                                                                                      Go here:
                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6126...

                                                                                      14 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: pitu

                                                                                        pitu, I can't help but laugh when I read your post--I imagine in the voice of the guy who used to do the "stay-tuned for the next episode" voice-overs for Soap. I hope that's what you were going for!

                                                                                        I don't think we can lose with Cradle of Flavor and Bon App Y'all. Both are books I hope to cook from soon, as well as Spice. And an Indian book! (Although, I'm still stuck on wanting to cook from Sahni's Moghul Microwave while the rest of you cook from whatever Indian book eventually wins...)

                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                          Since it looks like CofF is current leading in the voting, I thought I'd throw in a few links.

                                                                                          Oseland's website, with recipes. I hope/assume these are in the book. Perhaps someone who has the book can confirm? http://jamesoseland.com/cooking

                                                                                          Online merchant Oseland recommends for candlenuts (and is apparently a source for other possibly difficult to find items). http://www.indomerchant.com/kemcannut...

                                                                                          Lemongrass Shallot Sambal Recipe
                                                                                          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                          Javanese Chicken Curry
                                                                                          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                          Beef Satay
                                                                                          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                          Stir-fried Asian Greens with Chilies and Garlic
                                                                                          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                          Indonesian Spice Cake
                                                                                          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                          Lemongrass Scented Coconut Rice
                                                                                          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                          Celebration Yellow Rice
                                                                                          http://www.culinate.com/books/collect...

                                                                                          THE SOTO KING'S CHICKEN SOUP
                                                                                          BLACK PEPPER CRAB
                                                                                          http://www.seattlepi.com/food/284812_...

                                                                                          Beef Rendang
                                                                                          Javanese Cucumber and Carrot Pickle (Acar Timun).
                                                                                          http://recipestorival.blogspot.com/20...

                                                                                          Malaysian Fried Sweet Plantains
                                                                                          http://www.miamiherald.com/living/foo...

                                                                                          Soto Ayam (Indonesian Chicken Soup with Noodles and Aromatics).
                                                                                          http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage...

                                                                                          Malaysian Spiced Pineapple Pickle
                                                                                          http://voices.washingtonpost.com/migh...

                                                                                          Asiah's Eggplant Curry
                                                                                          http://blog.washingtonpost.com/mighty...

                                                                                          (It seems there are likely more recipes out there. This list only includes recipes I found through the bottom of page 4 of a google search: cradle of flavor recipes).

                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                            Great job, TDQ. And every one of those recipes is indeed in the book.

                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                              Awesome! If CofF wins, I will be interested to see how the Indonesian recipes compare to Janet De Neefe's "Fragrant Rice", which is a combo memoir and recipe book. I think De Neefe's only cover Bali, though. I'm assuming Oseland covers more of Indonesia than Bali, since he's also covering Malaysia and Singapore.

                                                                                              And P.S. Thank you for confirming that the recipes on Oseland's website are also in the book.

                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                Just fyi, he does indeed cover a great deal more of Indonesia than just Bali. I noted with particular interest that he has at least a few recipes from Sulawesi, since I spent a bit of time there about 2 years ago. He says in the introduction that he has not included Borneo and Nusa Tenggara (which includes Lombok, Flores, Sumbawa, and other small islands). Just a guesstimate, but I would say the majority of Indonesian recipes in the book originated in Java.

                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                  Embarrassed to say I'm going to have to Google Sulawesi to see where, exactly, it is. Did you have any particularly fond chow memories from Sulawesi that you're hoping to re-live through Oseland's recipes, perhaps?

                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                    I just loved the food (and of course the markets) in Indonesia in general. The one truly extraordinary meal I had was in Ubud, Bali. Coincidentally, there was an article on the restaurant in the NYTimes travel section just last month. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/04/tra... , if you're interested. But the food in Sulawesi was excellent. Lots of lemongrass, lemon basil, ginger, coconut, and generous use of spices. And a huge variety of fish and shellfish.

                                                                                          2. re: pitu

                                                                                            Thanks, pitu, for adding the link to the runoff. Regarding votes for the other books, I'll paste below what I wrote on the runoff link. I have stickied the Runoff Vote at the very top of Home Cooking, so I would think that people checking either the HC board or this thread will see the opportunity to vote. Again, the reason for the runoff is to ensure maximum participation in Cookbook of the Month.

                                                                                            A note: I have given considerable thought to the recent discussion on our cookbook selection process, and I appreciate the input. For now, the nomination process will continue each month, so we'll all have the chance to continue suggesting old favorites while also tossing new titles into the mix. I do believe that the nominating process is pivotal for COTM's vibrancy, and for attracting new participants and honoring the seasons in which we cook. I certainly wouldn't want to eliminate the monthly discussion that flourishes as part of the nominations. (Now, don't anyone throw food at me - please!)

                                                                                            Personally, I would be THRILLED to see an Indian book chosen soon, and as I just posted on our suggestions thread, 660 Curries completely charmed me and I now have a copy! So I know that I will not forget that in upcoming months. The nominations process always turns me on to new books and reminds me of cooking in honor of the season. As moderator, I am just trying to make sure that COTM enjoys continued harmony with our ever-expanding repertoire of cookbooks and participants!

                                                                                            1. re: foxy fairy

                                                                                              Interesting that Cradle of Flavour is winning heavily in the vote-off, when it wasn't the most popular book on this thread. Hopefully the big vote will ensure a lot of participation next month, after what seems like a quiet few months. I feel like I'm the only one cooking from this month's selection, which I am enjoying very much, incidentally!

                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                Actually, CofF was the most popular book in this voting thread. I count 11 in this thread for CofF (including pitu's switched vote) and 9 for BAY'A (including one vote in lowercase)...even if you lob off one iffy vote from either side, CofF still wins in this voting thread by two.

                                                                                                My guess is that a lot of the "spice" and "Indian" supporters are getting behind Cof F... and a lot of people who supported BAY'A are maybe deciding that this month has effectively been a BAY'A month since so few are cooking from BLT and are ready to do something different than that.

                                                                                                As far as BLT even though it won in both the nominations thread and voting thread for April, I nominated it very late in the process. Unfortunately, I think people voted for it before they realized it might be hard for them to acquire. I feel bad about that, that is, feeling personally responsible for being the first (last month, anyway--oakjoan had nominated it in the past) to nominate a book everyone apparently hates. But I didn't do anything out of turn. I think it's a pretty affordable book ($20 from Amazon including shipping) compared to Ottolenghi or even BAY'A and it's been out since 2006 and while not all libraries carry it as we have learned, copies are often available if you can do an interlibrary loan. I nominated it within the established time frame (with a day or so to spare) and it got a sudden rush of support, which, perhaps, was just an excitement thing that wore off once people tried to get ahold of the book, etc. and realized that it was hard for them to do so. And, some people who did get ahold of the book decided it wasn't for them. That's okay, it IS an unusual book.

                                                                                                I feel lucky that I have a great library, and access to the interlibrary loan system. I just recently became aware of the latter and almost every book that hasn't been available in my own library down the street, has been available through the interlibrary loan system. I wish everyone had access to that.

                                                                                                Unfortunately, I personally haven't been able to cook much from BLT because I have a short-term medical issue that is limiting my time in the kitchen for a couple of weeks during my recovery. I really do hope to cook from BLT some day, but it will not be until the month is over, alas.

                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                  <".....people who supported BAY'A are maybe deciding that this month has effectively been a BAY'A month since so few are cooking from BLT and are ready to do something different than that.">

                                                                                                  That was my thought, TDQ, when I decided not to vote this time. Both the Ottolenghi and the BAY'A threads have been very active and probably will continue to be. It's time now for another book to be chosen.

                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                    I hope we can still do Ottolenghi and BAY'A at some point though.

                                                                                                    And TDQ, my post wasn't aimed at you at all. BLT is not the only book that hasn't had a huge amount of support recently. A New Way to Cook and the Alice Waters book both failed to garner much excitement.

                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                      Me too (re Ottolenghi and BAY'A!) Oh, no worries about your comments about BLT--I just feel sad that I can't participate at a time when COTM could use a boost in participation!

                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                          3. I am pleased to announce the winner for our May 2009 Cookbook of the Month here at chowhound:

                                                                                            CRADLE OF FLAVOR: HOME COOKING FROM THE SPICE ISLANDS OF INDONESIA, SINGAPORE, AND MALAYSIA by James Oseland

                                                                                            I am going to pick up my copy at the library this afternoon. I would like to thank all who added to this spirited discussion by suggesting and pondering books and offering personal experiences and impressions regarding the nominated books. As usual, I'll be eager to see what books emerge as a possible COTM for June!

                                                                                            So, I look forward to cooking from CRADLE OF FLAVOR and engaging in discussion about the recipes with fellow COTM-ers. Also, I would like to offer a warm welcome to any new participants to COTM. Jump right in and start cooking with us!

                                                                                            *foxy*