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June 2009 COTM: ELIZABETH DAVID CLASSICS

Well -- we don't need a runoff this month! The winner is clear:

ELIZABETH DAVID CLASSICS: MEDITERRANEAN FOOD, FRENCH COUNTRY FOOD AND SUMMER COOKING by Elizabeth David.

The early decision should give us all ample time to get the book! I already checked mine out of the library and started peeking. Thanks for nominating, everyone! Looking forward to this.

*foxy*

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  1. I love Elizabeth David, but I think if you want to go the classic route, a safer bet would be to take "South Wind through the Kitchen," which is a marvelous anthology of her best writing and presents all the recipes in forms edited for American readers. "Is There a Nutmeg in the House?" is also to be recommended.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Father Kitchen

      I just picked up a copy of Nutmeg! Yay!

      ~TDQ

      1. re: Father Kitchen

        Lots of people already have the Classics book I think. Plus we're not all American. :-)

      2. FF, I only have Summer cooking (not the other two), will there be a way to participate, even though I don't have the other two in the volume? (Should I ever be able to tear myself away from work again to do any cooking.)

        ~TDQ

        33 Replies
        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          TDQ, you have a third of what's there, and it will be summer, sort of, so I think you're doing okay, unless you were asking about accessing recipes from the other books in the volume?

          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            Nope, that was exactly what I was asking! Thank you!

            ~TDQ

          2. re: The Dairy Queen

            I don't see that being an issue at all. Lots of recipes. I happend to have all three books, but as separate volumes - I'm wondering how the pagination will be, since we usually all put the page number when we refer to a recipe.

            1. re: MMRuth

              I agree that pagination is going to be an annoyance, perhaps. Also, will there be difference between US and UK versions? I was going to suggest we mention recipe name, page number, book, edition of the book, as in,

              Chilled tomato soup, page YY, Summer Cooking, U.S. 19XX version

              It seems so cumbersome...

              ~TDQ

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                I'm not sure - maybe we should do a test - which Summer Cooking do you have?

                Mine is published by New York Review of Books, with the forward by Molly O'Neill, and was published in 2002. I made her mayonnaise recipe yesterday, and it appears on the middle of p. 150. My "A Book of Mediterranean Food" is from the same publisher and year, with a foreward by Clarissa Dickson Wright (of the Two Fat Ladies). Both of these have conversion tables for British vs. American measurements.

                My "French Country Cooking" is published by Penguin in England, and this one was printed in 2001 ("Reprinted with further revisions" - since ED was dead at this point, I wonder what revisions were made, and why). This book does not have the conversion tables, and was ordered for me by a local bookstore from England.

                In ED's introductions to editions following the first edition, she does note the types of changes she made, and why. Of course, that only makes me curious enough to want to compare different editions.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  My book is at home (and I only have summer cooking), so, I will respond later today. I know what you mean about comparing editions!

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    MMRuth--that's my version of summer cooking, too!

                    ~TDQ

                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                    Mine all date from the mid-70's (Penguins). I doubt recipe titles would have changed, wouldn't it be OK just to name the dish since the titles should be in the indices in whatever edieion?

                    1. re: buttertart

                      This is the edition I have:

                      HC : 650 Pages
                      Publisher: Biscuit Books
                      Pub. Date: Jan 02, 1998
                      Photos: Black and White Illustrations.....
                      (Which look like Clip Art to me)

                      1. re: Gio

                        Are the pages consecutive in your book?

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          The first book within the book is, "A Book of Mediterranean Food. The Intro by James Beard starts on pg. 5, E.D.'s acknowledgements are on pg. 7...
                          The first chapter is Soup and starts on pg. 15
                          The last chapter is Sauces and starts on pg., 185.... the book ends at pg. 196... all the pages seem to run consecutively.

                          The 2nd book is the French one and the last is Summer Cooking.

                          There is a cumulative Index at the very back of the book. Page references are preceded by: M for Mediterranean, F for French, S for Summer.....

                          I recant what I said about the clip art illustrations. They're line drawings. Pretty nice, too!

                          1. re: Gio

                            OK - so the numbering of the French one starts off where Summer ends?

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              MM: Each book is an entity unto itself. The French book starts on pg. 1 and proceeds to its last page - pg.199. So too the Summer book.which begins on its own page 1 and ends on its own page 244.
                              The Index is after that.

                              1. re: Gio

                                I have a relatively new edition which is the one for sale on Amazon published by Grub Street in 1999. It isn't arranged like Gio's - it goes from page 1 to page 640.

                        2. re: Gio

                          I only have Summer Cooking and my library doesn't have French, only Mediterranean... So, I just picked up a used copy of the version Gio has on Amazon. I'm going to sell my "Summer Cooking" back. If I'm going to have an Elizabeth David book, I might as well have one that includes all three, especially if my library doesn't have them all. I have the feeling that I'm going to end up concluding that every serious cook needs to have Elizabeth David in her collection.

                          I like the fact that each of the three books maintains its own numbering scheme in the edition that Gio has.

                          Gio, in summer cooking, what page does the mayonnaise recipe appear on? The one that appears on pg. 150 in MMRuth's book?

                          I really really hope I have time to cook from these books in June. If not June, I might slide a little into July as I really want to dig into summer cooking and med cooking.

                          ~TDQ

                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            In my edition, the Mayonnaise recipe is on page 164 of the Summer book.

                            I'm thinking that we need not give the page number, but the book title and the name of the recipe. If folks want to make it there's the Index. Mayonnaise, Summer Cooking.

                            In the index of SC the mayo recipe is listed as the main heading then several other recipes which include mayo as an ingredient. By chance they're all in the Summer book.

                            1. re: Gio

                              Interesting! Yes, it sounds like just the name of the book and recipe name will be enough.

                              MMRuth, I can't wait to start reading this book. It looks very readable.

                              ~TDQ

                              1. re: Gio

                                In my Summer Cooking book the recipes for Raspberry Ice Cream, Raspberry Water Ice and Gooseberry Fool are on page 164...of course, it was printed in GB in 1969.

                                I don't see what all the fuss is about pagination....can't we look up the recipes in the index and find them ourselves? As long as everyone puts the correct name of each recipe?

                                My Med. and French Country book is published quaintly by The Cookery Book Club and has this charming intro: "It is a pleasure to read a cookery book written with such charm and discrimination." Ambrose Heath in The Queen

                                I already made her Apricot Ice Cream (p. 160 of Summer Cooking) which was heavenly. Of course this had a great deal to do with the good quality of the apricots. It's very easy and has no eggs or cooking.

                                I can NOT wait for June!

                                1. re: oakjoan

                                  Goodness - Apricot Ica Cream??? I Love apricots and the farm we shop at during the Summer has them in season. I don't have an ica cream maker, however, Can I just mix it up and put it in the freezer? BYW: In the 3-in-1 bedition I have the recipe is on page 175. I just Had to look it up.

                                  Oakjoan, I agree with you about just citing the recipe and the book. That's sufficient for anyone, I should think.

                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                    Me neither, especially my "field research" in the Dordogne. Did I mention that? ;-)

                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      Ah, what a wit! I tell ya, the joshing just keeps on coming! I don't think they have abricots in the Dordogne, only foie gras. They do have foie gras in the shape of abricots, though.

                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  It's really worth reading her introductions etc. - a lot of good advice to be found there.

                              2. re: buttertart

                                I think we might want to at least name the title of the recipe and the name of the book...

                                ~TDQ

                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  We could abbreviate with M, S, F, the way the Gio said the index is organized for Classics.

                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                    This month's online spreadsheet will need to be a paging categorization/legend. It is getting complicated!

                                    1. re: smtucker

                                      Ha ha! When I was doing the organizing, some months were v. easy in terms of setting up threads, while others (like Vietnamese) were a time-consuming struggle to get it "workable".

                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                        Ditto what MMR says above. Fuchsia Dunlop was my biggest challenge as moderator.

                                    2. re: MMRuth

                                      Recipe name and M, S, F makes sense to me given the wide range of editions possessed.

                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        Me too - I think to do anything more would just be tiresome and cumbersome.

                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                          I agree, recipe name and book name (or short-hand book name, is it may be.)

                                          WOOHOO

                                          ~TDQ

                            2. re: The Dairy Queen

                              DAIRY QUEEN -- by all means -- cook with us from Summer Cooking! :)

                              I was able to get a copy of all three in one from the library. In terms of flavors, this differs so so SO much from Cradle that I was laughing to myself as I paged through this the other day... though I think the approaches overlap, in terms of viewing cooking as as a relaxed art, buying freshest ingredients, following ideas from home cooks with recipes handed down for generations.

                              *foxy*

                              1. re: foxy fairy

                                Yes, yes, yes,,,,, TDQ! Please join us. I just Googled and found 189,000 results for elizabeth david recipes from all her books..... Even if you just cooked from the Summer book that would be a great addition to the mix, but I think, if you wanted to, you'd also find recipes from the other 2 books as well.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  Excellent! Thank you Gio and Foxy Fairy! I really hope my schedule frees up in June. Also, my CSA will be resuming in June, so, this timing will be perfect!

                                  ~TDQ

                            3. Found a used copy on Amazon for around $14. It's on the way.

                              39 Replies
                              1. re: David A. Goldfarb

                                David - that's wonderful! Have you cooked along with the COTM in the past??

                                1. re: Gio

                                  Not in the past, but this looks like a good selection of books at the right time of year, so I'll give it a go!

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    I never have, and I"ve got the all in one version. Help me out: How does this work?

                                    1. re: jmckee

                                      This will help explain the mechanics a bit, and also show you which books have been done in the past:

                                      http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

                                      I can't believe we've been doing this for almost three years. You might also want to click in the "master thread" linked to for each month's book, and then link to individual threads there, that are organized depending on the book(s). For example, one book could have Appetizers, Soups & Salads, Chicken, Meat, Fish, Side Dishes, and Dessert.

                                      Do post back here if you have more questions. We have a lot of fun, and you can participate as much or as little as you want in a given month, or from month to month.

                                      1. re: jmckee

                                        Ah, MMRuth beat me to posting the link...so, I shall just say, welcome aboard! The more cooks, the merrier.

                                        ~TDQ

                                        1. re: jmckee

                                          Welcome!!

                                          MMRuth has given all you need to know. I joined the COTM group in June 2008 when Country Cooking by Edna Lewis was chosen. I skipped a month, then cooked a month,,, you can do as little or as much as you want or have time for. When you do make a recipe we like to read what your experience was. That helps us to decide on the same recipe or move on to another. What's wonderful about COTM is that there are so many enthusiastic home cooks who have such an amazingly wide knowledge of various cuisines that you learn techniques, ingredients and the culture of the country whose food you're cooking almost by osmosis. No question ever goes unanswered, each cook is more than willing to help in all sorts of ways so you have a better understanding of the whys and wherefores of the cookbook at hand. Please join and have fun with us cooking amazing dishes from all over the world!

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            And, some of us like to take and post photos. I'm a bit compulsive about it and my husband usually knows dinner is ready when he hears the flash go off!

                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                              While determining which E. David edition, volume, etc. I had, I happened upon a recipe for Vitello Tonnato. Wow! I hadn't thought of that in years and have only made it once. Now my mouth is watering.

                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                I made that the other day, using the mayonnaise that I mentioned making, above. I will note that it is indeed the consistency of an ointment, as she says, and thicker than I am used to, since it is all olive oil. Simon Hopkinson notes in Roast Chicken that he and she disagreed on the consistency and flavour of mayonnaise, and that he prefers to make it with a combination of olive oil and peanut, or anothe flavourless, oil.

                                                The Vitello Tonnato was wonderful - though I used leftover sliced pork roast instead - much cheaper, and an alternative proferred by Hazan (so I figured it was ok).

                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                  MMRuth, missing you on May's COTM. . . . Not into Indonesian?

                                                  1. re: NYchowcook

                                                    I'd love to do Indonesian, and saw the book, which looks glorious. However, my husband got a bit tired of my doing COTM, and, I've been focusing a lot of my cooking on British cooking and Elizabeth David, which makes her selection for June rather serendipitous. While I know I've sung her praises lately, I wasn't the one to bring her up this time. ;-)

                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                      maybe you could slip him some fried chicken, not telling him the cuisine?? Or beef rendang, which is scrumptious (and no origin need be disclosed)

                                                      1. re: NYchowcook

                                                        Oh dear - first I smuggle in new books from Kitchen Arts and Letters each week, now I'm going fake that I'm not cooking from COTM? ;-)

                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                          This raises a new issue that doesn't seem to have appeared before on Chowhound. Is it unfaithful to one's spouse to not reveal that one is cooking from COTM? Is not taking a photo betrayal?
                                                          And how about those cookbooks smuggled in??

                                                          1. re: NYchowcook

                                                            My point exactly! And I love to take photos of my cooking from COTM to post! Maybe I need a spy camera in dishtowel or something.

                                                          2. re: MMRuth

                                                            MMRUTH --- I am laughing out loud here. So funny to pretend not to be cooking from COTM... wonder what your husband makes of all of us, and all of this? My SO was initially suspicious. Not so, now that she's sampled the wondrous results. Her favorite is raspberry (not we make it with blackberries) chicken from Silver Palate -- an interesting choice for favorite! Oh wait, she also loves Mario's cacciatore.

                                                        2. re: MMRuth

                                                          ahh, the husband dilemma. Mid-month (October 2008) Mr. Clam told me I should kick Mario out of the kitchen....

                                                          Looking forward to June! Have ordered my copy form the RI library system. BTW, for other Rhode Islanders, there are two more copies in the Clan system. One is available and one is due back May 29.

                                                          1. re: clamscasino

                                                            clamscasino --

                                                            1. Did you and Mr. Clam like any of the Mario recipes?

                                                            2. I am also in Rhode Island! Wow. I didn't know that I was in the company of other avid COTM-ers here in the Ocean State. I found some great Asian markets in Providence as I researched for May's Cradle of Flavor ingredients. Great to know there' s another local participant!

                                                            1. re: foxy fairy

                                                              Foxy, we liked Mario's recipe for short ribs...but I cooked that during the Leite's Culinaria month. That being said, I only tried a few recipes. My failures have as much to do with the problem of finding the ingredients. (I'm on Block Island - no salt packed anchovies here, and forget about the cheeses, pancetta and specific wines.)

                                                              Got my inter-library loan copy of Elizabeth David yesterday...thank you Newport! Now where am I going to find me some pigeon?

                                                              1. re: clamscasino

                                                                Hey clams.... do what Sam would: get gun, look for pigeon.

                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                  Downtown Providence, here I come! No pigeons here unless they are someone's homing pigeons...and their owner is a much better shot than I.

                                                                2. re: clamscasino

                                                                  Do you have a Providence shop that sells squab?

                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                    Uh...no...but look for me on the channel 10 news: Gene Valicenti will say: "today a woman from Block Island was arrested for trying to shoot pigeons in front of the State House. She says we was just trying to get some birds in order to participate in a "cookbook of the month" project on the internet." :)

                                                                        1. re: clamscasino

                                                                          Are you kidding me? I'd be giving you a medal for getting rid of some of these pesky creatures! I've often been surrounded by pigeons and thought, if only we could eat these things safely.... City chickens...

                                                                          1. re: moh

                                                                            Pigeon Terrine, here we come! (Summer, pg 34.)

                                                                            1. re: clamscasino

                                                                              I'm inviting myself for dinner. My mother used to summer on Block Island. I can't wait to see what she loved.....

                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                Well Gio, I've been thinking about this. She probably loved the fresh air, summer breezes, gorgeous sunsets and rolling green hills traced with rustic stone walls. (Everybody did, and they still do!) Depending on when she was here, she probably also loved fresh fish and shellfish, wild blackberries and farm fresh fruits and veggies. Maybe even some home-smoked hams...When was she here anyway?

                                                                                1. re: clamscasino

                                                                                  I've never been to Block Island but from what I've read and what you've described it sounds heavenly.

                                                                                  My mother summered there from 1919 to about 1926 I'm guessing. She stayed with her NYC vocal coach and his family at a lovely beach house, from what I can gather looking at old photos.

                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                    Well, in the late 1800's the Southeast lighthouse was built, as was a breakwater in "Old Harbor." Those two things made travel to the island much less treacherous and thus started an era in which most of the grand old hotels were built. But before that the island was rather isolated and very agricultural. Most people had a home orchard. Most of those were destroyed in the Hurricane of '38 and were never replanted (but I have one that survived the storm.) But fish were still plentiful, and swordfish were especially sought after....

                                                                                    The wonderful thing about Block Island is that it still manages to have that wonderful old-fashioned aura. Despite the proliferation of McMansions we have seen in recent years, we still have no McDonald's.

                                                                      1. re: clamscasino

                                                                        I was wondering myself about all those species of fish we don't see too often over here in New York, and then just the other day I noticed John Dory, which she mentions frequently, imported from New Zealand and staring at me from the window of The Lobster Place on Bleecker St. in Manhattan.

                                                                        1. re: David A. Goldfarb

                                                                          Aha.... John Dory for you - Barramundi for me. In our local supermatket of all places. There was a large-ish whole fish in the case and when I asked what it was the clerk had to go "out back" to ask. When she returned she had a card with the name written and said, "It;s a new fish we're going to carry. I can't pronounce the name." Of course I told her.... and now look forward to cooking this delicacy. Baramundi....

                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                            Don't recall now, Gio, whether you participated in "Sunday Suppers at Lucques," but there's a really terrific recipe for baramundi in the Winter Menu section. Thanks for reminding me how much I liked it.

                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3970...

                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                              I didn't participate in the original month but in the revisitation. I cannot wait to try cooking this fish. The ones I saw looked large. I have never cooked a whole fish before.... well not one like this one,...little trout and mackerel don't count, do they? Thank for the link... gotta go look.

                                                                              Edit: Just read your report and I must say that's a very ambitions recipe,,,, but very good to read through. It's good to have something to let me know what to expect. My next thoughut is to look into the James Peterson book.

                                                                          2. re: David A. Goldfarb

                                                                            One thing I've been thinking about in perusing her books and planning for June is that I wish I could find a site that was helpful in terms of making fish substitutions, etc. In one book, she refers to "coarse fish", which I then learned apparently refers to all fresh water fish other than trout or salmon.

                                                                            1. re: David A. Goldfarb

                                                                              Been sighted at Fairway as well. Guess when April Bloomfeld opens a restaurant called John Dory, the retailers figure they can sell the fish.

                                                                  2. re: MMRuth

                                                                    Maiale Tonnato...mmmmm, sounds great.

                                                                3. re: MMRuth

                                                                  Well, I leave for the Outer Banks of NC on June 5, so I believe I'll take the book with me. And I always take pictures of the food I make while we're there. Helps me remember lovely fresh seafood in my landlocked existence the rest of the year.

                                                        3. I'm looking forward to participating - I love Elizabeth David!

                                                          1. I just found out my library ordered it and has it on reserve for me! I haven't participated in one of these before, and hopefully will have more time in June to do so! Plus, I'm getting married in 10 days and will be living with someone who will hopefully help with dishes a little more ;-)
                                                            I hadn't heard of Elizabeth David til someone mentioned it for June, so I'm excited to learn who she is and what she's about!

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Erinmck

                                                              Welcome aboard COTM and many blessings on your upcoming wedding!

                                                              ~TDQ

                                                              1. re: Erinmck

                                                                Congratulations on your wedding and your marriage, Erinmck! Welcome to COTM.

                                                                I've found COTM to be a great opportunity to share adventures in the kitchen, with friends, family, coworkers, and of course significant other. Here's a tip, if you document your recipes with photographs -- I ask SO to operate the camera so I can focus on getting the food done and not obsess over getting the perfect photo too.

                                                              2. I have been very sad that I haven't been able to join in on the fun with Cradle of Flavour... I am seriously having major issues with spicy right now, and strong flavours and smells are not always tolerated... I have been reading the posts and reading along in the book, and hope I'll be able to join in the future.

                                                                I was very happy to see Elizabeth David as the next choice, as I am tolerating these flavours better. Conveniently, my hubbie has recently ordered a bunch of her books from the Folio Society.

                                                                But can someone who is familiar with her books help me with some advice?

                                                                I have the 3 following titles:
                                                                French Country Cooking (not French Country Food)
                                                                French Provincial Cooking
                                                                Italian Food

                                                                Does anyone know, are these completely different than the books that make up the Classics collection? Are there similar recipes? If we are going by recipe name, and some of the recipes are common, then I might not have to buy another cookbook....

                                                                16 Replies
                                                                1. re: moh

                                                                  French Country Cooking is in the the Classics - I think "French Country Food" might have been a typol. The other two are not, and are completely different. And, while there might be recipes for the same thing in, say, the Mediterranean book and the Italian one, they are not going to be the same recipe really.

                                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                                    Thanks MMRuth! At least I've got one of the books then.

                                                                    I'm a little worried about using the Folio Society book as a cookbook. I tend to mistreat my recipes in the kitchen (Usually accidently, like using the beater to whip up eggs or something, and everything exploding over the kitchen...) I'm going to have to leave the book well away, and run back and forth between cooking and reading. Well it's all exercise, helps me eat more :)

                                                                    1. re: moh

                                                                      What's the Folio Society? And, you could photocopy the recipes, if you have easy access to a copier.

                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                        Folio Society takes older books and reprint them in hardcover, with fancy reproductions of the original book. They only do this to books that are old enough to be past the copyright date thingumy (not so clear on the concept- sorry). These editions are really beautiful books, and appeal to book collectors like hubbie. If I get mayonnaise on this book, he'll be very upset!

                                                                        Thanks for the suggestions! I will likely do some combination of photocopying, or quickly retyping the recipe onto the computer, and I'll also give the plastic wrap/zip-lock ideas a go. It is time I stopped abusing all my cookbooks anyway.

                                                                        Took a look at French Country Cooking! Already found some must-try recipes. I think I'll try my hand at Quiche Lorraine, I've never made a quiche before (this could be a recipe for disaster!). And the braised topambimours and various soups sound lovely. I love the simplicity of some of the recipes. Perfect June cooking.

                                                                      2. re: moh

                                                                        Moh.... when I don't want to soil a book or a page or 2 I open the book to the page I want then wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap. It works very well. I've done it with the few library books I've used for COTM. Just a thought.

                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                          Along the lines of Gio's recommendation, depending on the size of the book, it might be able to slide into a gallon-sized ziplock baggie... I read that tip here on chowhound somewhere, but can't remember who to credit for the idea, alas.

                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                            Gio and TDQ, these are great ideas! Going to use them next time I have a library book for COTM (which is likely to be the coming month). Thanks.

                                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                                            Great idea, Gio. Do you ever accidentally splatter the pages of library books? That happened to me with The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen, I think... I looked online after and saw that the book was in REPAIR status and I felt quite guilty! I try to take care with the library books b/c it's such a wonderful resource, and I certainly can't afford to buy each book we choose.

                                                                            1. re: foxy fairy

                                                                              Hi Foxy..... I have never actually taken a library book into the kitchen. When we were doing the Fuschia Dunlop books I got the lib. ed. of Revolutionary Chinese Cooking and found a few recipes but then found the exact recipes on line. My problem, as you might have guessed, is that after I get the library edition and read a few pages, I absolutely must buy my own copy. I think there's cause for alarm there but so far no one has sent an intervention team.

                                                                              I wrapped my copy of Hopkinson's Roast Chicken and Other Stories because the cover and pages seemed doomed to soil by just looking at them. No glossy pages, etc. I'm not a very messy cook and have a bookstand which has a stiff plastic flap behind which the book sits.

                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                I actually just through my cover of Roast Chicken out b/c it was just too disgusting. That book is now one of my most stained. And I love it for it!

                                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                  Awww.... well, that's a really well loved book, then.

                                                                                  Some of my older cookbooks, namely of the MTAoFC vintage, are looking quite the worst for wear. I am still trying to find the kind of plastic book covers libraries use.

                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                    Brodart should have the kind of covers you're looking for. They have a tremendous, almost overwhelming, selection:

                                                                                    http://www.shopbrodart.com/site_pages...

                                                                                    That said, my copies of MTAoFC are held together with duct tape. Not pretty, but still functional.

                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                      Thank you Joan!! I'll browse ASAP.

                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                        Mine, too, Joan! It gives a lovely silver glow, doncha think?

                                                                                        My copy is inherited from my mother whose notes are the best part of having the book. She really got involved in Julia's book. I remember the first thing I made was clafouti with apples and Calvados. Mmmmmmm.

                                                                                    2. re: MMRuth

                                                                                      As a teenager I could always tell my favorite records (LPs- I date myself) by which ones were the most banged up. Same with books.

                                                                          3. re: moh

                                                                            I doubt that you will want to use your Folio Society copies in the kitchen. I would cherish them as reading copies. Elizabeth David Classics consists of the following three books: Mediterranean Food, French Country Cooking, and Summer Cooking. Italian Food is not part of it. Summer Cooking is my least favorite of her cookbooks. That is, I rarely use it.

                                                                          4. I think its awsome that we have chosen a set of books that are almost 60 years old for the COTM. Im going to look forward to cooking some of those classic french dishes.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. My copy arrived today, and it looks very promising. Truth be told, I don't rely on cookbooks that much, but I like reading classic and historic cookbooks, and this collection certainly qualifies. It's written in an articulate way and manifests an attraction for descriptions of food in literature, which is a pet subject of mine.

                                                                              The edition I have (Biscuit Books: Newton, Mass., 1998) looks like it's probably a straight reprint of the British Penguin editions. Each book begins with page 1, and all the measures (where measures are given) are in British units, including measures such as "a glass." Fortunately there are conversion charts and translations from English to American printed on the book's endpapers, in case you aren't familiar with courgettes, brawn, and castor sugar.

                                                                              Having no particularly strong dinner plans other than having picked up a chicken on the way home, I looked for a chicken dish that could be made with what I had in the house and decided to go for "Le Poulet a la Creme" from _French Country Cooking_, and I hope I'm not getting too far ahead of the game by discussing it before June. The recipes are pleasantly vague. This one doesn't call for salt or pepper, though they're obviously needed. If something goes without saying, then it goes without saying.

                                                                              While I had the chicken and onions braising in a heavy copper saute pan, I moved to a comfortable chair in the living room and skimmed through some of the introductory chapters of this volume and was pleased to read under "Batterie de Cuisine"--

                                                                              "A heavy copper saute pan, about four inches deep and twelve inches across, with a long handle, is the most convenient pan in the world for braising a whole chicken or duck on top of the stove, for it can be left unattended without fear of disaster, and it can be looked at from time to time without the business of getting the pan in and out of the oven"

                                                                              --and indeed, this was precisely the case.

                                                                              At the end the recipe called for adding cream to the pan, simmering for about 10 minutes, removing the chicken, and then thickening the sauce with egg yolks and "a squeeze" of lemon juice. Since the sauce is strained, I think next time I'd just chop half a lemon, peel and all, into the sauce for a stronger lemon flavor.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. Wow--I was shocked (shocked!) to read here that "Cookbook of the Month" COTM, has been around for 3 years! I was so excited when it began, but am ashamed to say I've only participated twice (a Julia Child dessert of Bavarian Cream, and tamales from Rick Bayless--both posted, both pleased me.
                                                                                But now I see "Elizabeth David Classics" *already* on my bookshelf and I'm excited again !
                                                                                Does anyone know if this is the oldest group of recipes we've used? Does anyone know which category got tried most--desserts, poultry, breads? -- in general in the last 3 years?

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                  I do think this is the oldest group of recipes - the next oldest, I'm guessing, is Julia Child. Don't know about the most tried category though. Glad you are joining in!

                                                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                                                    the most-tried category seems to vary with the book. We did Dorie Greenspan's "Baking" which was, well, baked goods!
                                                                                    Vegetables, poultry and fish are usually popular. Noodles and rice in this month's COTM, as well as (vegetables, poultry & fish) and sambals and dips, because well, that's what the recipes are! It seems once someone starts a category, it tends to spur on others -- for example I wasn't looking at noodles or rice until others started posting about their efforts, and now I've found a favorite noodle dish!

                                                                                    I too am shocked it's been 3 (wonderful!) years of cooking together! Welcome back!

                                                                                    1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                      I started to check the frequency myself this morning, using this very useful link mentioned by MMRuth and The Dairy Queen above:
                                                                                      http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...
                                                                                      But after looking at 4 months worth (Sept. through Dec. 2006) I realized it's not necessary to document numbers when the *depth* of the info is so satisfying!
                                                                                      How did I miss the whole braising book ? ("All About Braising" by Molly Stevens).
                                                                                      I ignored Dorie Greenspan's baking book thinking "I make enough sweets," but quickly browsing that month's posts I see 8 or 10 definite high-interest recipes.
                                                                                      Enthusiasm is nice--already I see 2 vegetable Elizabeth David Classics I want to try for the June effort.

                                                                                  2. I'm adding the link to a thread about UK vs US food terms:

                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/615004

                                                                                    May come in handy.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                      My edition of the book has a table "some differences in usage between British and American Terminology" in the inside back cover. It's not as comprehensive as the thread you link, MMRuth, but it's handy nevertheless!

                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                    2. Woohoo! My copy just arrived yesterday! It's a bit of a monster, but it's nice to have all 3 books in one place.

                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                      1. Excellent choice. For discussion purposes it may be difficult due to the various editions of E. David's books. For instance, I have both the original American and British editions of classics, published by Knopf and Jill Norman respectively. While the size of books differ the pagination is identical as far as I can tell. Jessica's Biscuit also published "Mediterrannean Food", "French Country Cooking", and "Summer Cooking" in one volume. Then there are all those Penguin paperback editions and the Grubb Street reissues. And let's not forget the first editions in hardcover. I suspect that few of us have those. I am going to guess that the Knopt edition is going to be the most common.

                                                                                        1. All this wonderful talk about Elizabeth David, well I'm so embarrassed to say, I've never heard of her, or if I did, it just didn't gel. I am in the middle of reading Alice Waters Chez Panisse ( I know,what planet am I from?), and lo and behold, Alice mentions more than once or lets say quite often, guess who? I'm not trying to sabatoge the thread, but my ears really perked up when she talks about E.D. and with so much obvious admiration. Had it not been for this thread I'm not sure I would of persued E. D. any further, but in reading the book, her name has comes up several times now, enough for me to want to reserve a couple of her books at the library. Thanks!

                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                            Alice Waters wrote the intro to one of the recent editions of ED Classics (James Beard wrote the one before that. The edition I have includes both the Waters and Beard intros). You might be on the lookout for the version of the book that includes Waters intro!

                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                              Julia Child wrote one to one of her other books too. I highly recommend to anyone interested in ED the biography written by Artemis Cooper.

                                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                ahhh...loving her more in more.pst. I recently picked up a 1965 copy of a spiral held book that Julia participated in, Julia Child at the San Francisco Museum of Art -Tour of Dining Decor (signed by Julia or at least it sure looks to be her signature. Full of wonderful menus and recipes!

                                                                                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                I love this! I sort of fell on all of this, how wonderful!

                                                                                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                                                                                  Serendipity is a wonderful thing, sometimes!

                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                            2. I'd love to join on this though it is my first time. I have 2 of these books (French Country and Summer Cooking) and I'm ashamed to say I've never cooked from them. I've read the thread and had a look at the link provided by MMRuth that kind of explains how this works but does one just pick a book and a recipe and cook that no matter what everyone else is doing? Please forgive the stupid question.

                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Boudleaux

                                                                                                Anything in the month's book(s) is fair game. Cook as little or as much as you want, and whatever you want from the COTM, and report on it in the appropriate thread if you want (which the coordinator sets up and links in this master thread). The threads are great reads for seeing feedback on various recipes, advice, even photos of dishes. Just participate in whatever way/extent you feel like and enjoy.

                                                                                                1. re: Boudleaux

                                                                                                  Ashamed?!? Why many of us have sagging bookshelves filled with cookbooks that we've neglected and dust off for COTM! Welcome to the club! (I've owned the consolidated E. David for oh, a couple years, and have yet to cook from it, which will soon not be the case!)

                                                                                                  Here's a fuller explanation of the COTM process, though Caitlin's description is spot on.
                                                                                                  This link also archives past COTM's
                                                                                                  http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

                                                                                                  1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                                    Many thanks, NYchowcook! I'm excited to participate!

                                                                                                2. It looks like I could get the books separately from the library. It I get just one, which one would you recommend?
                                                                                                  Edit: Actually, it looks like NYPL has "Mediterranean Food" and "Summer Cooking." I don't see "French Country Food." Is one of the two available books better than the other?

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: NYCkaren

                                                                                                    I'll take a look at them and post back - but you might find it helpful to look at the indices:

                                                                                                    http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Cooking-...

                                                                                                    http://www.amazon.com/Book-Mediterran...

                                                                                                    ... using the "search inside this book" function.

                                                                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                      I have the three volume set, and I think the one that's missing from the library--stolen no doubt--is the most interesting. They're all good, but maybe since we're going into summer, the summer cooking volume might be the one to check out, if you can only have one. _Mediterranean Food_ was her first cookbook, and her wit seems a bit more reserved there than in the later volumes. _Summer Cooking_ has a very amusing description of a kitchen at a typical vacation cottage that's spot on, and there's another very funny section about picnics.

                                                                                                  2. I just started reading my copy, which I got from the library. It's the 1980 edition, with the introduction by James Beard. I'm thinking about starting cooking today! I had a couple of comments -- first, when reading the recipes for "Poultry" in French Country Cooking, I came across an instruction I didn't understand re. setting the oven temperature to "Regulo 5 or 6" -- luckily, this version has equivalents on the back flap, so check your front and back flaps if you come across anything like this (translation: 375-400 degrees). Also, I thought it amusing that in Elizabeth David's recipe for Coq au Vin, on p. 128 of FCC, she explicitly notes that the chicken "doesn't *have* to be a cockerel." Take that, Tom Colicchio! :-)

                                                                                                    Edited to add: Not sure if anyone is actually going to attempt to make the dish, but the recipe for Lievre A La Royale, on p. 122 of A Book of Mediterranean Food, is a very entertaining read :-)

                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                      I've wondered what precisely such a rectangular braising pan was for (scroll down to "Rectangular braising pan" on this page to see the required vessel for preparing this dish-- http://www.e-dehillerin.fr/en/heavy-d... ). I've seen an older version of this rectangular braisière with a heavy lid that could be used alone as a broiler. Obviously it was for Lièvre à la Royale!

                                                                                                      1. re: David A. Goldfarb

                                                                                                        I don't have "French Country Cooking," but I do have too much time. Checked out the pot. I have absolutely no use for it whatsoever, but covet it to the extreme. Also decided to Google Lièvre à la Royale (to see if could use that as an excuse). Very entertaining story here on the history of and arguments about the dish.

                                                                                                        http://theoldfoodie.blogspot.com/2006...

                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                          Ohmigod it's gorgeous. Foodie porn to the max. You could use it as a bread bin....

                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                            Whaddya know, there's one of these with the roaster lid on eBay right now for the modest price of $1500--

                                                                                                            http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?...

                                                                                                            I think I could fly to Paris and pick one up at Dehillerin and have some cash left over for the hare at that rate.

                                                                                                        2. re: David A. Goldfarb

                                                                                                          And to think I have actually cooked Pommes Anna without the obligatory Copper Lined with Tin pan... Oh the horror.

                                                                                                      2. I am new to this group and would like to know how the Cookbook of the Month group works. Do we discuss the contents of the book and/or report on recipes made from the book? Thank you. Anne Bourget

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: abourget

                                                                                                          Hi Anne,

                                                                                                          Welcome! Joining in the cookbook of the month is very simple. You get your hands on the book that's been voted on for the month (for June 2009 it's the Elizabeth David book named above, but every month there's a vote on the book for the next month). Many of us get the book from our local libraries, although many buy it as well, or own it already. At the beginning of the month, the moderator will post threads on each chapter of the book or whatever separation makes logical sense for the particular cookbook, and then everybody cooks what they want from the given book, and posts about their results in the right thread. Some people will end up making the same recipes, but it's not formal like that -- you cook what you want from the book that's been chosen, and then report back! That simple, and that fun :-). It's a great way to compare notes on a cookbook. The cookbook of the month has been going for three years now. Here's a link to a more formal explanation, with links to prior books of the months and threads on them: http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

                                                                                                        2. I've already made a few recipes from this book and am champing at the bit to report back! Damn that pesky time difference. ;-)

                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                            Me too GG! Instead I spent my spare time today trying to figure out what the heck a figpecker is.....

                                                                                                            But I have a general and stuuupid question for the Brits...what exactly is a rasher of bacon?

                                                                                                            1. re: clamscasino

                                                                                                              I'm pretty sure that a rasher of bacon is a slice of bacon. BTW - I've noticed that a number of her recipes call for bacon rind, so I've been cutting some off and stashing it in the freezer. I've really enjoyed almost everything I've cooked from her books since December, but also recommend that, if you are making a dish for the first time that requires a certain amount of skill, I would also look at another book. I've been checking out Mastering the Art of French cooking quite a bit, and used it to fill in some of the gaps left by ED.

                                                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                Actually, after spending some time reading Elizabeth David Classics, I'm wondering if it WAS the inspiration for Julia Child et. al. to write Mastering the Art of French Cooking, with all its precision and explicit technique and instructive glory. Although many of the recipes sound appealing to me, David's recipes definitely assume a lot of knowledge on the part of the cook and provide very little instruction. It's sort of the anti-MTAOFC.

                                                                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                  It's an interesting comment on time and place that Elizabeth David's terse instructions and sometimes sketchy recipes assume a certain level of skill in the kitchen and basic familiarity with cooking techniques, similar to (but not as extremely so as) cookbooks put out before our modern cookbook era (particularly pre-Fannie Farmer in the US), which often listed ingredients but only a few lines of instruction, with no detail. It was assumed you knew all essential cooking processes.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                    Indeed. I was talking to Nach Waxman the other day and he was lamenting Fannie Farmer's introduction of the "level teaspoon". As I may have posted before, for many years I was intimidated by ED's recipes because of her lack of specificity on many occasions, but, once I felt confident enough to take the bull by the horns, so to speak, I have felt very rewarded (both from a culinary perspective, and with my own confidence as a cook) from cooking from her books.

                                                                                                                    I'm currently reading the Martha Washington cookbook, as annotated by Karen Hess, and it's even less specific!

                                                                                                                  2. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                    <"if you are making a dish for the first time that requires a certain amount of skill, I would also look at another book. ">

                                                                                                                    That's exactly what I've been doing too MM. I have several old Italian cookbooks,.for example, and have been checking back and forth to make sure I have everthing in place...

                                                                                                                    Let the month begin! I think I'm ready.

                                                                                                                  3. re: clamscasino

                                                                                                                    It's a slice of bacon. In almost all her recipes, she calls for "fat bacon", which I believe is what we call streaky bacon and in the States is simply bacon, I believe (the kind made from the pork belly).

                                                                                                                    And figpecker - haven't a clue!

                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                      Figpecker=Orphean Warbler, a small songbird of the Eastern Mediterranean.

                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/466159

                                                                                                                      My curiosity had led me to Google, and have to tell you that when I typed figpecker into the google taskbar search box, the auto suggestion field read (in bold print, naturally), "big pecker"! Guess google searchers aren't generally looking up birds that are/were preserved in oil...

                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                    I've been waiting too. Had a terrific pasta meal last night!!

                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                      Maybe foxy fairy's on holiday. I haven't seen a post recently...

                                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                        Nor have I, come to think about it. I hope she's not ill.....

                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                          We don't want to step on foxy fairy's toes, but people are raring to get started, so we contacted MMRuth and asked her to take a crack at putting together some threads for this month and she's agreed to work on it. She coordinated the last round of CotM, so she should be able to get people off on the right track.

                                                                                                                          -- Jacquilynne, Community Manager for Chowhound

                                                                                                                          1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                                                                                            Yes, I'm working on it now - some of the categories are obvious, but the recipes from some chapters may just need to be posted where they fit in - i.e, soup, meat, fish, etc.

                                                                                                                            While I'm trying to get this organized, do post if you have any thoughts, particularly on Buffet Foods, Picnics, Improvised Cooking, Luncheon, Supper & Family dishes and Substantial Dishes. Those are the chapters where I think it may make the most sense to post about recipes in the other categoriess. Thanks!

                                                                                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                              Many thanks to you, Jacquilynne and to MM. COTM is in very capable hands. Still hoping FF is OK!

                                                                                                                              MM I'm sure you'll be able to sort it out. If not - you know what a vociferous bunch we are. LOL

                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                Here are the categories I've come up with:

                                                                                                                                Hors d’oeuvres, Vegetables & Salads
                                                                                                                                Soups
                                                                                                                                Eggs, Cold Foods & Luncheon Dishes
                                                                                                                                Savoury Tarts, Pasta, Rice, Gnocchi, Polenta and Their Ilk
                                                                                                                                Fish
                                                                                                                                Meat
                                                                                                                                Poultry & Game
                                                                                                                                Sweets, Jams, Jellies & Other Preserves
                                                                                                                                Sauces

                                                                                                                                For the recipes in the chapters I refer to above would then get slotted into the appropriate category. If you have any suggestions, please post them here and not on the new threads that I'm setting up.

                                                                                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                  Just a couple of thoughts... Vegetables is a broad category all by its self, I think. Also, technically Gnocchi is a pasta so it needn't be listed in the title..What do you think?

                                                                                                                                  So when we report do we add the name of the recipe, the page number and either M, F, or S to indicate Mediterranean, French, Summer ??

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                    I think it makes the most sense to just use recipe name and M, F, or S, as we've established that people have different pagination.

                                                                                                                                    I agree vegetables is a broad category, but I see MMR's logic, as many of the hors d'oeuvre recipes are veg. If that would make for too big a thread, how about:

                                                                                                                                    Vegetables & Salads
                                                                                                                                    Hors d’oeuvres & Soups

                                                                                                                                    MMR, I think it makes perfect sense to post about Buffet Foods, Picnics, Improvised Cooking, Luncheon, Supper & Family dishes and Substantial Dishes in whichever thread the dish seems to fit best in.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                      Indeed, Caitlin... I agree with you.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                        OK - I'll separate out Vegetables. :-) I assume y'all are already taking up a collection to send a bottle of champagne my way.

                                                                                                                                        I'll also make some more clarifications in the Master Thread and the first threads I put up once I get done.

                                                                                                                              2. re: Jacquilynne

                                                                                                                                Thanks so much Gio, Jacquilynne, MMRuth.... I tried posting last night but the internet's a mess at my home and I haven't been able to get elsewhere to get online. MMRuth -- thanks... let me know if you want me to post/augment. I will get our next suggestions thread up too. So appreciate it, and thanks for the concern about me, Gio and other hounds!

                                                                                                                                1. re: foxy fairy

                                                                                                                                  Not a problem at all - just happy to hear that you are fine! Maybe just take a look at what I did and see if makes sense to you. Take care. MMR