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Cookbook of the Months Nominations for May-June 2010

Caitlin McGrath Apr 22, 2010 03:42 PM

We've decided to try doing a book for two months this time, to see if that helps breathe more vigor into COTM.

So please nominate books for us to cook from during May and June. Perhaps something that will let us play with lovely spring produce?

For reference, here are the books that have been done in the past: http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

Please nominate books through WEDNESDAY, APRIL 28. (I know that is just about May, but I think we should have ample time for discussion and nominations to develop before choosing and beginning [almost] two months of cooking.)

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  1. Rubee RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 22, 2010 04:49 PM

    Since CHs have expressed interest in it in other discussions, I already own it, and it has plenty of recipes to appeal to everyone:

    GOURMET TODAY: More than 1000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen

    1. s
      smtucker RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 23, 2010 07:07 AM

      In depth by cuisine:
      WASHOKU:: Recipes from the Japanese Home Kitchen (Hardcover), Elizabeth Andoh

      I have made about 5 dishes from this book, and each one has thrilled me. This is a book that I would love to cook together. When delving into a new cuisine I always find the reports from other about both ingredients and prep to be extremely helpful.

      GOURMET TODAY: More than 1000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen

      I own the green version, and have many recipes marked that sounded really interesting, but the book hasn't quite made it to the top of the pile. But it could!

      48 Replies
      1. re: smtucker
        Gio RE: smtucker Apr 23, 2010 08:47 AM

        OK...That's all the incentive I needed. I was hoping to cook from either a Japanese or Korean cookbook and have been looking at WASHOKU for some time. It's $21.00 at Jessica's:

        My second book is:
        GOURMET TODAY. I have the green book too.

        1. re: Gio
          Rubee RE: Gio Apr 23, 2010 09:07 AM

          Oh nice, I'd loved to delve into Japanese too. I think I'm going to order WASHOKU anyway to add to the library. Thanks for the Jessica's tip!

          1. re: Gio
            jen kalb RE: Gio Apr 23, 2010 12:26 PM

            this is the problem I have . I have 3 or 4 Japanese cookbooks, include Shizuo Tuji's definitive tome Japanese Cooking, A Simple Art. I am not inclined to buy yet another when I havent explored the books I have - thats why I always advocate for adding more than one book to these cuisine related projects, which are my favorites.

            1. re: jen kalb
              The Dairy Queen RE: jen kalb Apr 23, 2010 12:28 PM

              jen, I picked up a used copy of Tuji's tome a couple of months ago. I don't want to spread the group too thin, but I would love to do a Japanese month (or Japanese two months?), although, I confess I don't understand exactly how that fits into the new framework.


              1. re: jen kalb
                Westminstress RE: jen kalb Apr 23, 2010 03:52 PM

                I have the the exact same problem. If we do a Japanese month (or two months) maybe we could have Japanese Cooking, A Simple Art in addition to Washoku.

                1. re: Westminstress
                  Gio RE: Westminstress Apr 23, 2010 05:54 PM

                  Jen, DQ, WM: perhaps we should hold back the Japanese book for May/June and wait till we can do an all Japanese COTM....?? Is that what you're thinking?
                  I do like the idea of a 2 month spread, and will continue to support the nomination of Gourmet Today. Perhaps that book alone is good for 2 months. Lord knows 1000+ recipes can certainly withstand the length of time and tonight as I looked over the different cuisines represented there's enough variety to satisfy most folks...I think.

                  1. re: Gio
                    Caitlin McGrath RE: Gio Apr 23, 2010 09:38 PM

                    Gio, I guess I'm confused, but why don't you think we can do an all-Japanese COTM in May-June if people want (perhaps using the combo Westminstress suggests)?

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                      Gio RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 24, 2010 01:40 AM

                      Hi Caitlin... Oh no, I didn't mean to imply that we should/could not do an all Japanese COTM for the next 2 months. I was just wondering what the others were thinking. I guess I did put too much emphasis on GT, though, but I'm all for Japanese cooking.

                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                        greedygirl RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 24, 2010 01:56 AM

                        I'm confused too - are we supposed to be picking two books to do over two months, or just one?

                  2. re: jen kalb
                    smtucker RE: jen kalb Apr 25, 2010 07:47 AM

                    I would actually be willing to buy a second Japanese cookbook if that is the group consensus. But it is interesting to note that my local library network has 15 available copies of Washoku, and not one of A Simple Art.

                    Since one of the stated preferences in the "future of COTM" is to select books that are available at libraries so more people can participate, could others check their systems as well? This could be an interesting data point to understand before voting begins.

                    1. re: smtucker
                      The Dairy Queen RE: smtucker Apr 25, 2010 07:53 AM

                      My library:

                      Washoku, yes
                      Gourmet Today yes
                      Vegetable Love yes
                      New Portuguese Table yes

                      Japanese Cooking a simple art, no


                      1. re: smtucker
                        Gio RE: smtucker Apr 25, 2010 08:06 AM

                        My library system:

                        Washoku - 2 copies
                        Gourmet Today - 10 copies
                        Vegetable Love - 9 copies
                        New Portugese Table - 8 copies
                        Japanese Cooking a simple art - 3 copies

                        1. re: Gio
                          clamscasino RE: Gio Apr 25, 2010 11:53 AM

                          The Rhode Island Library system has:

                          Japanese Cooking: A simple Art: 8 out of 9 copies available
                          Washoku: 3 of 6 copies available (I'm one of the three "not available")
                          Gourmet Today: 7 of 17 copies available
                          Vegetable Love: 14 copies - can't tell how many are available...
                          New Portugese Table: only 5 of 16 copies are available. (RI has a large Portugese population.)

                        2. re: smtucker
                          smtucker RE: smtucker Apr 25, 2010 05:11 PM

                          Gourmet Today: 4 available, 7 out
                          Vegetable Love: 8 available, 2 out
                          The New Portuguese Table: 6 available, 4 out

                          1. re: smtucker
                            greedygirl RE: smtucker Apr 26, 2010 01:13 AM

                            On the basis that none of these books is available in any London library, and that I already have GOURMET TODAY, and have made two great recipes from there already, that's my nomination. Thanks.

                            1. re: greedygirl
                              The Dairy Queen RE: greedygirl Apr 26, 2010 03:49 AM

                              Which two recipes did you try? I have to know about the great ones, I tell you!


                              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                greedygirl RE: The Dairy Queen Apr 26, 2010 02:05 PM

                                The Napa Cabbage Salad with Buttermilk Dressing (p163) - killer good, and much lighter than an ordinary slaw. I especially liked the radishes in it.

                                Roasted asparagus with feta (p84). Simple and delicious.

                          2. re: smtucker
                            Westminstress RE: smtucker Apr 26, 2010 07:56 AM

                            I actually think Washoku sounds interesting but I don't want to buy it and I'm not sure I would be able to get it from the library. There don't seem to be too many copies of either Washoku or Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art in either the Brooklyn or Manhattan library systems. All the more reason to include both books in a Japanese COTM -- more people would have an opportunity to find one book or the other, which might increase participation.

                            That said, while I think a Japanese month (or two) sounds interesting, I don't mind deferring it either. I don't have strong feelings either way.

                      2. re: smtucker
                        mebby RE: smtucker Apr 23, 2010 09:21 AM

                        Washoku looks fantastic -- thanks for the idea. I've also been looking for an excuse to buy Gourmet Today, but I'd rather do an in-depth book coming off of Bittman. So I probably just need to buy both, right?!

                        1. re: smtucker
                          greedygirl RE: smtucker Apr 23, 2010 09:25 AM

                          Washoku looks very interesting - how difficult is it to get hold of the ingredients though? That has been a real obstacle for me to cooking from Kennedy.

                          (Also, why am I so weak willed when it comes to cookbooks - I'm supposed to be on a self-imposed ban after going mad in the last few months with purchases.)

                          1. re: greedygirl
                            smtucker RE: greedygirl Apr 23, 2010 09:46 AM

                            I have to admit, that I am extremely lucky. I have four Japanese markets close by. When shopping for unknown ingredients, I go in the afternoon when the bi-lingual kids are working. They don't know the ingredients, but they can translate.

                            Of course, if we chose a Japanese book, we could create a picture gallery of pantry ingredients to make it easier for others to sort through the kanji.

                            1. re: greedygirl
                              Caitlin McGrath RE: greedygirl Apr 23, 2010 09:47 AM

                              I imagine it would be easier for you to find Japanese ingredients in London than Mexican.

                              1. re: greedygirl
                                smtucker RE: greedygirl Apr 23, 2010 09:49 AM

                                Are you in London? Look what I found with my best friend google:


                                [edited to add: and if you aren't in London, they ship for 4.95 pounds]

                                1. re: smtucker
                                  greedygirl RE: smtucker Apr 23, 2010 02:44 PM

                                  I am in London, and obviously there are a number of Japanese stores in central London, but I read a review on Amazon complaining about the lack of availability of a lot of the ingredients. Obviously if it's a question of stocking up on ingredients which keep, a la Dunlop, that's fine. But if regular visits to a Japanese store are necessary that's a different matter.

                                  1. re: greedygirl
                                    smtucker RE: greedygirl Apr 23, 2010 03:15 PM

                                    My experience has been that most of the "unusual" ingredients are pantry items. Dried kelp, bonita flakes, dried anchovies and dried mushrooms are stored on a shelf. I keep the miso in the fridge and it seems to have a good shelf life. To be honest, this is one of the best things about this cuisine. Well, that and the resulting flavors.

                                    I buy the fresh pork, tuna, and vegetables at the regular store.

                                    Hope this helps a bit as you sort out your preferences.

                                    1. re: greedygirl
                                      BigSal RE: greedygirl Apr 23, 2010 07:27 PM

                                      You can cook a number of Japanese dishes with soy sauce, mirin, sake and dashi (made fresh from katsuo bushi or instant dashi), and seaweed. From these ingredients, you add protein (fish, seafood, chicken, pork, eggs, etc) and or starch (noodles). Of course there are many other ingredients (dried shiitake, sesame seeds, tofu, etc), but this will give you a good start.

                                      1. re: BigSal
                                        greedygirl RE: BigSal Apr 24, 2010 01:55 AM

                                        Thanks for the replies, folks. This is the review that got me thinking - you have to bear in mind that I will probably have to buy this book unsee and it won't be in many bookstores here, or in the library.

                                        "Even in oriental supermarkets these ingredients, in many of the recipes, would be hard to find: iroko, kombu, wakame, shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, burdock root, atsu kezuri, katsuo-bushi, adzuki beans, mitsuba, tuft daikon tops, mugi miso, gennmai miso, Sendai miso, Hatcho miso, hanpen, zakkoku mai, chikuwa, salmon flakes, shiso, sansho, bainiku, kamaboko, shichimi togarashi, shirasu-boshi, chirimen-jako, persimmon, yuzu peel, and many more such."

                                        Is this a fair assessment, smtucker?

                                        1. re: greedygirl
                                          The Dairy Queen RE: greedygirl Apr 24, 2010 02:57 AM

                                          I haven't been to the market in London, lately, and I don't know who wrote that review, but I would say that statement isn't entirely an accurate assessment.

                                          Just off the top of my head, for instance, I know these ingredients, which account for about 1/3 of that "hard to find list" are readily available in my local grocery store--I don't even have to go to the Asian Market for them: kombu, wakame, shiitake mushrooms (I mean, what the heck? isn't this very common, at least dried?), enoki mushrooms, burdock root (seasonal), adzuki beans, miso paste (not sure which kind it is though), bainiku, persimmon (seasonal).

                                          Off the top of my head, I know that I've seen these in my local Asian market (I recognize the packaging): katsuo-bushi, hanpen.

                                          Sansho--is this the same as Sichuan pepper? That I have in my cupboard!

                                          We do not have a large Japanese community where I live, which is in a mid-sized metro area (about 2.8MM people). We do have a fairly large Hmong population, but they are historically mountain-folk and don't really have a tradition of cooking Japanese cuisine, so, I think that's a non-factor in terms of availability of these particular grocery items.


                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                            greedygirl RE: The Dairy Queen Apr 24, 2010 04:05 AM

                                            I agree that some of those ingredients are common, but I don't think I've ever seen burdock root in my local oriental shop, never mind the supermarket. I don't even know what a lot of the ingredients mentioned are - eg atsu kezuri, mitsuba, tuft daikon tops, hanpen etc.

                                            1. re: greedygirl
                                              The Dairy Queen RE: greedygirl Apr 24, 2010 05:28 AM

                                              Yeah, that I can't help you with. :( I was just trying to answer whether that was an accurate statement --even though I'm not smtucker, sorry, maybe I should have let her answer--that all of those ingredients are hard to find "even in oriental markets."

                                              In fact, just the statement that the person says shitaki mushrooms are hard to find makes me question the person's entire comment.

                                              I'm saying, no, in my experience, it isn't an accurate statement because at least a third of the ingredients listed aren't hard to find even in the "international" section of a mainstream market in a mid-sized Metro area. (I'm not talking L.A. or San Francisco or New York here.)

                                              But, as far as your fear that you don't know what they are 1) Washoku has en extensive pantry section (with photos), similar to Dunlop, wherein she describes the ingredients and, where possible, recommends substitutes, 2) I find google images to be a big help. Many times, it will bring up photos of the packaging (whereas the book has photos of the ingredients themselves.)

                                              Are you able to use the "Search Inside" feature on the U.K. Version of google books? On the U.S. version of Amazon, I am able to read at least several pages of the pantry section. Or, better yet, a huge portion of the book is viewable on Google books. I don't know if this link will work: http://books.google.com/books?id=vGGS...

                                              Burdock all the time is seasonal, so, maybe you just haven't noticed it in season? It grows here, so, maybe that's why I see it.

                                              Here's what wikipedia says: "In some parts of North West England the flower of the plant is referred to as a "Sticky Bob"." It said "England", so, I couldn't help posting it for you. HA!


                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                greedygirl RE: The Dairy Queen Apr 24, 2010 06:09 AM

                                                Well, dandelion and burdock is a popular drink in the north of England, so I guess they must have it there! I've never heard of a "Sticky Bob" though!

                                              2. re: greedygirl
                                                jen kalb RE: greedygirl Apr 24, 2010 09:16 AM

                                                A lot of these, if you look up the name online you will see what it is and that it has an english name or description for example a couple are different versions of bonito flakes. You can also do a lot of japanese cooking without some of the specialty items.

                                                I dont think the person who made the assessment either did any research or was very familiar with shopping in asian markets. first of all, most major metro centers will have at least one store where the local Japanese folks shop. Second, most chinese markets carry at least a couple of shelves of Japanese ingredients and some of the vegetables, like mushrooms (shiitake are the main chinese mushroom as well) and burdock root - you need to look both on the shelves and in the refrig food areas which is where stuff like miso and surimi will be- staples like miso, the seaweeds, sansho and shichimi togarash, adzuki beans, dried bonito flakes (katsuo-bushi and atsu keduri) and surimi can usually be found without much trouble. Korean run or taiwanese run stores have even more of the ingredients since there is more coltural overlap. Health food stores and even asian run fish markets have some of these items.

                                                There can be an issue with labelling - items will not have the english transliteration of the Japanese names - the name may only be in Japanese. Here in the US there is usually a labelling requirement so you can look at the ingredients list.I dont know about you but I really love shopping in stores with unfamiliar food and trying to figure out what the stuff is. A little research and study into the ingredients online or even in the book will give you lots of ahh - thats it - moments when you see them in real life.

                                                1. re: jen kalb
                                                  buttertart RE: jen kalb Apr 26, 2010 06:19 AM

                                                  That in a nutshell, Ms Kalb, is the joy of shopping for foodstuffs from other cultures. I got the nicest squeeziest bottle of wasabi in a Korean market that way (don't read Korean, unfortunately). Love it too.

                                                  1. re: buttertart
                                                    The Dairy Queen RE: buttertart Apr 26, 2010 07:05 AM

                                                    If I don't check myself, I can easily spend a couple of hours in an ethnic market. I'm always so mesmerized by all of the unfamiliar products, wondering what they're for and so on.

                                                    Looks like the wind is blowing Gourmet Today, at least nominations-wise. I really hope my schedule eases up so I can cook along. May is doubtful, but we've got May and June now!


                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                      jen kalb RE: The Dairy Queen Apr 26, 2010 07:26 AM

                                                      what happened with the idea of doing two books/two projects at one time over a longer period? A cuisine and something more general? I also cant see doing two "portmanteau" books in a row, I mean my 25 year old daughter was cooking with Bittman now she has switched over to the Gourmet book as her main recipe source. I guess I could borrow the book from her but no way will I be buying a book like that.

                                                      1. re: jen kalb
                                                        buttertart RE: jen kalb Apr 26, 2010 07:32 AM

                                                        Because it uses up too much shelf space? I've resisted it for that reason too. It does have terrific recipes in it however.

                                                        1. re: jen kalb
                                                          The Dairy Queen RE: jen kalb Apr 26, 2010 07:32 AM

                                                          It seems the consensus was for a single book (or two related books) over two months


                                                          So, basically, as I understand it, the same as we were doing before, but for two months instead of for one. The front runners for this month seem to be Gourmet Today or Washoku (maybe with, maybe without Japanese Cooking A Simple Art)--it's hard to say when we've still got almost three full days of nominations left, as well as the voting. Anything can happen!


                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                            jen kalb RE: The Dairy Queen Apr 26, 2010 08:04 AM

                                                            whatever, Im just being grumpy. But my vote is for JAPANESE - two books WASHOKU and TSUJI. Two books give me a chance to be leisurely and try to get Washoku out of the library and compare with Tsuji.

                                                            the reason I liked the idea of two projects going on at the same time was that sometimes things get some energy behind them, get nominated a couple of months but then somehow fall out of consideration. If there is a way of capturing the energy for the Board, I think it would be a good thing. Also, if one project runs out of gas over a two month stretch (its happened over one month before, I think) energy could switch to the other project.

                                                            1. re: jen kalb
                                                              yayadave RE: jen kalb Apr 26, 2010 10:32 AM

                                                              I think some books run out of steam because they turn out being not so good to cook from.

                                                          2. re: jen kalb
                                                            JoanN RE: jen kalb Apr 26, 2010 08:29 AM

                                                            Good point about two portmanteau books in a row. Nonetheless, because of personal circumstances, I'd be much more likely to participate if we did GOURMET TODAY so I'm going to nominate that and suggest we do THE NEW GOURMET COOKBOOK (the big yellow book) at the same time. It would be interesting to compare the two, I have both, and have been very happy with recipes from each--although I've not yet cooked much from the newer book.

                                                            1. re: JoanN
                                                              The Dairy Queen RE: JoanN Apr 26, 2010 08:38 AM

                                                              Even though I'm not officially nominating or voting (because I just don't know if my schedule will really ease up: it should and I sincerely hope it does) I'd go for that, the new Green One and the old Yellow One! I have them both, too and have always wanted to explore them more. (Since I haven't explored them at all.)

                                                              You know, I think the key to consistent COTM success is to choose book(s) for which there is genuine widespread enthusiasm. If people are sincerely enthusiastic about the books chosen, I think there will be lots of participation no matter what. The good thing about the Gourmet book, at least the Green one, is that it does seem to be a book people can get their hands on.


                                                            2. re: jen kalb
                                                              Karen_Schaffer RE: jen kalb Apr 26, 2010 08:47 AM

                                                              I think this is a perfect example of why and how 2 books for 2 months would be a great idea for COTM. You have Washoku for those who want to explore a specific cuisine in depth and Gourmet for those who aren't interested in Japanese cuisine or can't/don't want to get Washoku, or for those days when even the devotees of Washoku (or their families) want something other than Japanese for dinner.

                                                              Going with both seems like a win-win to me. Choosing just Washoku will leave a lot of folks out of COTM for 2 months (either because they can't get the book or they're not interested). Choosing Gourmet is broader, but not of as much interest to some, precisely because it's broad (c.f. portmanteau book comments). Choosing both will keep more people engaged in COTM.

                                                              1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                                                                jen kalb RE: Karen_Schaffer Apr 26, 2010 08:53 AM

                                                                you said it better than me - my only quibble was wanting to have a second Japanese alternative for those who already might have a Japanese book - likewise the Gourmet people who want the older book included as well.

                                                                1. re: jen kalb
                                                                  beetlebug RE: jen kalb Apr 26, 2010 09:16 AM

                                                                  I agree in theory about the two books over the two months. However, I think if we did the green Gourmet book AND the japanese books, participation would decrease. In the past, when the books have been too broad (Julia Child and Penelope Casas comes to mind), people are spread all over the place, the thread counts go down, and participation dwindles. There seems to be less cooking together and comparing recipes and it just becomes sheer recipe reportage by a few intrepid hounds.

                                                                  In my memory, a focused approach to cooking usually brings out greater results (such as the two Dunlop books, the two Vietnamese books, Zuni, Lucques, etc).

                                                                  Just my two cents.

                                        2. re: smtucker
                                          Aromatherapy RE: smtucker Apr 23, 2010 11:17 AM

                                          Washoku sounds great, I've been wanting to cook Japanese again and a nice Japanese market just opened nearby. I've paged through the Leite book and that's tempting too--but not as much as Japanese.

                                          1. re: smtucker
                                            greedygirl RE: smtucker Apr 24, 2010 06:34 AM

                                            Here's a blog I found where a group of people cook their way through Washoku. Haven't had time to look at it properly yet, but it looks interesting.


                                            1. re: greedygirl
                                              The Dairy Queen RE: greedygirl Apr 24, 2010 06:49 AM

                                              That's a different model...choosing a few recipes per month for everyone in the group to try... It's amazing people don't get bored and peter off. (Maybe they do.) It would be hard on the library checker-outer folks.

                                              And, look at me procrastinating on chowhound when I have a million other things to do. I suppose I should go do them. I can't WAIT until my busy time passes and I can do COTM again. Japanese or Gourmet, I would love either one.


                                              1. re: greedygirl
                                                clamscasino RE: greedygirl Apr 24, 2010 08:15 AM

                                                Hey GG, that was a truly inspiring link! Beautiful pictures too. Wasn't too excited about Japanese month(s), but now I am....

                                                And although I think I could also get into the Gourmet books, the veggies used, at least in the "challenges" seem very appropriate for May/June.

                                            2. The Dairy Queen RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 23, 2010 07:25 AM

                                              Oh, I really hope my schedule frees up in late May/early June as I hope/expect it to, as I'm loving the nominations already!


                                              1. Bada Bing RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 23, 2010 09:13 AM

                                                Other ideas sound great, but I'll add Barbara Kafka, Vegetable Love:


                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Bada Bing
                                                  The Dairy Queen RE: Bada Bing Apr 23, 2010 01:44 PM

                                                  I own that book, B-B, but confess, I've never REALLY cooked from it. I've used it as a reference a lot. How does it compare to, say, Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

                                                  Any particular recipes you recommend?


                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                    Bada Bing RE: The Dairy Queen Apr 23, 2010 02:04 PM

                                                    I can't give you much satisfaction, Dairy Queen. I also own this book (a gift from about 6 months ago) but I also have not cooked from it. I suggested it simply from my high estimation of Kafka's reputation and also her "Roasting" book, which I've used more extensively. It came to mind also from the suggestion initially about targeting vegetables.

                                                    1. re: Bada Bing
                                                      The Dairy Queen RE: Bada Bing Apr 24, 2010 03:03 AM

                                                      I own that one and VCFE. Both huge books. I often wonder if I should ditch one.


                                                2. mebby RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 23, 2010 10:27 AM

                                                  I'm happy to cook from any of these, but here's another one to add to the list...THE NEW PORTUGUESE TABLE by David Leite. Just got IACP first book award. http://www.amazon.com/New-Portuguese-...

                                                  1. emily RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 23, 2010 10:54 AM

                                                    I like WASHOKU, as well. Have a copy, but have never cooked from it.

                                                    Btw, for those who are interested, there is a new Japanese cookbook coming out in April that looks good: "A Cook's Journey to Japan: Fish Tales and Rice Paddies/100 Homestyle Recipes from Japanese Kitchens."

                                                    1. c
                                                      cathyeats RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 23, 2010 12:17 PM

                                                      I don't think there's ever been a vegetarian or vegan cookbook as a COTM. So I nominate Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. http://www.amazon.com/Vegetarian-Cook...

                                                      22 Replies
                                                      1. re: cathyeats
                                                        JoanN RE: cathyeats Apr 23, 2010 12:25 PM

                                                        Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone was the selection for July 2008 and Vegetable Harvest, by Patricia Wells, was the selection for September 2007.

                                                        1. re: JoanN
                                                          The Dairy Queen RE: JoanN Apr 23, 2010 12:40 PM

                                                          Was Wells' vegetable harvest actually vegetarian, though, or was it just vegetable-focused? Sad to say, I didn't love that book. :(


                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                            LulusMom RE: The Dairy Queen Apr 23, 2010 01:20 PM

                                                            I don't think anyone loved that book! And it definitely wasn't vegetarian. I seem to remember tons of pork making its way into a lot of the recipes.

                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                              JoanN RE: The Dairy Queen Apr 23, 2010 03:11 PM

                                                              Sorry, TDQ. I'd forgotten. Took the book out of the library, made one dish--if that--and never saw a need to revisit it. That must be why I recalled it being vegetarian--there wasn't anything in there I wanted to cook! LOL.

                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                MMRuth RE: The Dairy Queen Apr 24, 2010 06:54 PM

                                                                Yes, that book didn't get much love in my house! As others have written, it was not vegetarian, and I did like her way of cooking duck breasts. Though i've now sold the book to the Strand, it was worth it for the Prune Pear compote recipe.

                                                                1. re: MMRuth
                                                                  The Dairy Queen RE: MMRuth Apr 24, 2010 07:00 PM

                                                                  I assumed it was me, and not the book, and gave it to someone who is a better cook that I hoped might work magic with it. Now I feel bad.

                                                                  I found this post of yours with a paraphrase of the prune pear compote recipe, I'll try that someday! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4542...


                                                            2. re: cathyeats
                                                              The Dairy Queen RE: cathyeats Apr 23, 2010 12:25 PM

                                                              VCFE has indeed been done! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5343... Remember, you can always go back and revisit those threads.

                                                              And it's not quite vegetarian, but check out the month we did Berley's Flexitarian Table: half vegetarian, half not. I know it wasn't a book that had a ton of support, but some of my all-time favorite vegetarian recipes came from that book. Maybe I need to dust that off again! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5148...


                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                Rubee RE: The Dairy Queen Apr 23, 2010 12:37 PM

                                                                I wasn't too excited for Flexitarian when it was voted in, but once I started cooking from it, I loved it. I agree, great book.

                                                                1. re: Rubee
                                                                  oakjoan RE: Rubee Apr 23, 2010 05:36 PM

                                                                  I also agree about Flexitarian. I was depressed that it became COTM, but then started cooking from it and have found a number of dishes I've made again and again.

                                                                  It's a terrible title, though. Sounds like some kind of exercise regime.

                                                                  1. re: oakjoan
                                                                    The Dairy Queen RE: oakjoan Apr 23, 2010 11:58 PM

                                                                    HA! It does sound like an unfortunate exercise regime. It really is a dumb name, although, once you understand the concept, I guess it does accurately describe the premise of the book. Still, it seems like they could have found a better word, especially since it was a made-up word.

                                                                    Funny--what is the hallmark of a good COTM? I mean, how to know when a book is going to fizzle or a book is going to sizzle?

                                                                    Undisputed sizzlers: Stevens, Goin, Dunlop, Vietnamese, Fish without a Doubt...

                                                                    Undisputed fizzlers: Vegetable Harvest (lousy, uninspired recipes), Breakfast/lunch/tea (no one could get the book), Art of Simple Food (this book turned out to be mostly random, sketchy-recipes, that didn't always yield great results or inspire)

                                                                    And then there are the books that were sizzlers for the core of people who loved them, but were that were not universally embraced: Ottolenghi, Flex Table, maybe even Southern month. Not sure where to place these.

                                                                    Is a book bound to sizzle when the recipes consistently yield fantastic results, assuming people can get their hands on it (which was a challenge for both BLT and Ottolenghi, although, in the latter case enough people were willing to go out of their way to buy the book) in order to at least try a recipe or two and get some excitement going?

                                                                    Some of our best books have been focused cuisines like Dunlop and Vietnamese, but others have had a focused technique (Stevens) or Ingredient (Fw/oAD). All were books that consistently yield great results.

                                                                    Just not sure how to choose a winner, and am not sure I have great confidence in my ability to pick the winners. I voted for Dunlop, Vietnamese, but, I also voted for AofSF and BLT, so, am feeling flummoxed.


                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                      greedygirl RE: The Dairy Queen Apr 24, 2010 01:48 AM

                                                                      Interesting question, TDQ. I think the "sizzlers" you mention are just terrific books, but also I think that there are lots of recipes in there that you can whip up fairly easily for a weeknight dinner. I think that's pretty key to a book's success, at least for me. I knew I wasn't going to cook much from Prud'homme, for example, because the recipes were amazingly rich, and pretty involved.

                                                                      What we've also learned, I think, is that "basic" books are going to fizzle (!) - it seems to me that Art of Simple Food and Bittman were chosen on the basis that people had them rather than they loved them or were unique. It seems to me that we should have done one of Waters' other books (Chez Panisse, maybe) rather than The Art of Simple Food, which is just too basic for experienced home cooks like us.

                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                        oakjoan RE: The Dairy Queen Apr 24, 2010 10:18 PM

                                                                        Funny, TDQ, I never got into Molly Stevens or the Vietnamese books nor Fish w/out a Doubt. The Vietnamese books didn't interest me because I ate so much Vietnamese food over a period of years that I can't stand the tastes anymore. My husband still wolfs down banh mi at least once a week, but I just can't get into it again.

                                                                        Molly Stevens is a book that didn't move me when it was COTM, but now keep meaning to get out of the library. I should give some of those recipes a try before it gets too hot.

                                                                        The books I most enjoyed were the 2 Dunlops. I still make several of the dishes I learned during that month and they're among our faves.

                                                                        I think the books that were the least popular were the southern books (by a woman and man?) and the barbecue book.

                                                                        I didn't cook that much from the Goin book either, but the recipes that I did try have been regulars on my table ever since. I consider her to be a goddess solely for that short ribs with horseradish recipe.

                                                                        It's weird about Breakfast Lunch Tea. I still love it use it regularly. In fact, I'm making the Lemon Polenta Rice Flour cake tomorrow. It will also have a place of honor on my shelf because of the fantastic celeriac and porcini soup. I have several friends who now make it regularly as well.

                                                                        I need to go over some of the old threads to see what REALLY happened during those months.

                                                                        1. re: oakjoan
                                                                          The Dairy Queen RE: oakjoan Apr 25, 2010 05:21 AM

                                                                          RE: least popular books:

                                                                          By Southern, do you mean Frank Stitt's Southern Table?

                                                                          And by BBQ, you mean Schlesinger and Willoughby? Thrill of the Grill, etc.?

                                                                          Yeah, those were before my time.

                                                                          I enjoyed the Dunlops, too. Those were also my first month. By "successful", I guess I mean a month where a decent number of enthusiatic people who participated, there wasn't a growly outlier group who felt marginalized that they couldn't get the book, and people who did participate look back on the book with fondness, agreeing the recipes were a success with few losers, and frequently nominate the books for a re-do and even continue to update the threads over time as they continue to cook from the books.

                                                                          (I didn't participate in Stevens or Goin, either, before my time, but I still put them in the clear winner category based on my criteria and my perceptions.)


                                                                          1. re: oakjoan
                                                                            JoanN RE: oakjoan Apr 25, 2010 03:49 PM

                                                                            Thinking about what you've said here, I realize that finding a book that will appeal to all of us all the time may well be something to aspire to but is going to be a very rare occurrence. That may just be something we all have to accept.

                                                                            Fish Without a Doubt has to be one of my top 5 COTMs, if not top 3. I turn to that book again and again and it very rarely disappoints. Same with Molly Stevens, although because her recipes tend to be more seasonal and more time consuming I haven't explored it at all as thoroughly as I have the Moonen.

                                                                            I jumped through major hoops to get Breakfast, Lunch, Tea from the library and didn't make a thing from it once I finally had it. Saw Ottolenghi at a friend's house, but never did get my hands on a copy for more than a flip through and from what I had seen, I wasn't going to go out of my way to do so.

                                                                            We clearly have different interests in food and in our preferred styles of cooking. They'll merge at some points, but probably can't be expected to with any great frequency. But given all that, we've had some great exchanges OJ, haven't we?

                                                                            1. re: JoanN
                                                                              LulusMom RE: JoanN Apr 25, 2010 04:10 PM

                                                                              Totally agree. As much as we all have in common a great love of cooking, we're always going to have slightly different tastes. Like JoanN, I LOVED Fish w/out a doubt. Definitely in the top 3. Also Vietnamese month and Dunlop month. I loved them all, learned so much and cook from those books still very often. But I do seem to be the only person who isn't in love with the Braising book (probably because of the number of meat/pork dishes in it). So I just chalk that up to my being an oddball and having weird preferences. But mostly, I think, we do pretty well, or at least agree when we haven't.

                                                                              1. re: JoanN
                                                                                oakjoan RE: JoanN Apr 26, 2010 07:22 PM

                                                                                We certainly have, JoanN. Of course now that you've written the above, I feel that it's necessary to have you banned from Chowhound altogether.

                                                                                Btw, I agree with you about Breakfast Lunch Tea and its less than stellar appeal as a COTM.

                                                                                I love the book and continue to cook regularly from it...I am finally actually making the Lemon Cake using polenta, rice flour, and almond meal tomorrow. The book is one of my faves, but I know it didn't exactly take off. Hey! Can I help it if you guys are mostly a bunch of bozos? It was also very hard to find.

                                                                                I should get back to Fish Without a Doubt, espec. since it's available at my local libraries. Molly Stevens is another book I hardly cooked from during its time as COTM.

                                                                                I also agree with you about Ottolenghi. I do think it's one of the best cookbooks I've ever come across, but it's not widely available, it's expensive, and the measurements have to be converted. I found it (and continue to find it) a book I return to regularly and I can't wait for the new one.

                                                                                I also loved the Casas month, although I didn't make many dishes. The baked rice from her Cocina de Mama (sp?) book made the whole month worth it for me. A delicious rice dish that you just stick in the oven and, when you take it out...heaven.

                                                                                1. re: oakjoan
                                                                                  jen kalb RE: oakjoan Apr 26, 2010 08:37 PM

                                                                                  Its interesting how very different folks reactions are. I bought BLT and was quite disappointed - the photography , typography and design did not appeal , the recipes just didnt speak to the kind of cooking I do (mostly dinner things and some desserts) and they seemed - almost naive - like a very timid step (in Paris) into being granola-y. I did like a ricotta/almond slice recipe however.

                                                                                  Fortunately, since it had been an expensive book, my husband was able to sell it on ebay for a good price.

                                                                                  We just have to try different things - good books will find an audience even if we dont all agree.

                                                                                  1. re: jen kalb
                                                                                    The Dairy Queen RE: jen kalb Apr 27, 2010 04:55 AM

                                                                                    So weird, your comment about BLT being an expensive book. How much did you pay? I bought mine brand new on Amazon right around the time it was COTM for $14.75 which is about $5 lower than the price of the average new cookbook on Amazon. It's priced at $19.77 right now (and I've bought two of them for gifts at that price). I just don't understand what's up with the pricing scheme for that book. I know there aren't many cheap used copies of the book out there, but the new copies seem fairly priced to me, comparatively speaking.


                                                                                  2. re: oakjoan
                                                                                    greedygirl RE: oakjoan Apr 27, 2010 12:27 AM

                                                                                    I agree that Ottolenghi isn't widely available.... in North America!

                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl
                                                                                      oakjoan RE: greedygirl Apr 27, 2010 02:47 PM

                                                                                      Sheesh, gg! How many times to we have to tell you that North America....well, maybe just from the Mexican border northward, is the ONLY place that counts! and we have misgivings about calling Canadians "North Americans" as well.

                                                                                      All books should be published here FIRST.

                                                                                    2. re: oakjoan
                                                                                      The Dairy Queen RE: oakjoan Apr 27, 2010 04:50 AM

                                                                                      I loved Casas month, too.


                                                                          2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                            LulusMom RE: The Dairy Queen Apr 23, 2010 01:20 PM

                                                                            I loved Flexitarian Table, and still use it all the time. I should see if i can find something new to make from it soon ... thanks for the reminder.

                                                                        2. yayadave RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 24, 2010 01:18 PM

                                                                          Here are some previous, mostly short, threads about Washoku.





                                                                          One review had these comments, which are about emphasis on two things I found very interesting - pantry section and presentation or plating.

                                                                          The book's first third is made up of a highly detailed pantry section and guide to techniques. In addition to informative head notes, many of the recipes also include notes on "Kitchen Harmony" (e.g., tips, shortcuts, and suggestions for recycling some ingredients), along with suggestions for "Harmony at Table" (i.e., ideas for presentation).

                                                                          1. soypower RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 25, 2010 09:18 AM

                                                                            That discussion about the possibility of discontinuing COTM really got me motivated to participate this month, so I'm putting a vote in for WASHOKU.

                                                                            1. LulusMom RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 25, 2010 11:25 AM

                                                                              So we're voting on one book for May and June? Or two that are somewhat related? Sorry, I feel a bit confused. People mostly seem to be voting for just one book.

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                Rubee RE: LulusMom Apr 25, 2010 11:51 AM

                                                                                Unless we've changed it - This is the nomination thread, and then there will be a voting thread. So I think we're suggesting books for May and June, and then there will be a vote to decide between the 2-3 most popular.

                                                                                1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                  Caitlin McGrath RE: LulusMom Apr 25, 2010 12:48 PM

                                                                                  Hi LulusMom, I think you're asking about the books/months aspect, right? Yes, we're nominating a single book or related books to cook from for both months. Basically, the same MO as usual for COTM, but we'll be extending the cooking period to two months - a variation that seemed popular in the the Site Talk thread and so, worth a try.

                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                    LulusMom RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 25, 2010 04:11 PM

                                                                                    Thanks Ladies. Wasn't sure if we were trying to get 2 books for 2 months or just the one.

                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                      smtucker RE: LulusMom Apr 25, 2010 05:08 PM

                                                                                      Me either... which is why I nominated two. Thanks for the clarification.

                                                                                2. LulusMom RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 26, 2010 02:35 AM

                                                                                  I'm going with GOURMET TODAY.

                                                                                  1. buttertart RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 26, 2010 09:08 AM

                                                                                    A thought: maybe, just maybe, one of the 2 books could be a baking book, say for Nov/Dec? Or the work of a particular author on the topic, say Nick Malgieri (my hero)?

                                                                                    17 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                                                      roxlet RE: buttertart Apr 26, 2010 09:22 AM

                                                                                      I'd love that, and Nov/Dec would be ideal...

                                                                                      1. re: roxlet
                                                                                        yayadave RE: roxlet Apr 26, 2010 10:41 AM

                                                                                        And David Lebovitz has a new dessert book out. Maybe by then it will have a little buzz and folks will want to bake out of it and have an excuse to buy it. Like we don't already have enough dessert cookbooks to give sugar shock to the whole city.

                                                                                        1. re: yayadave
                                                                                          buttertart RE: yayadave Apr 26, 2010 10:49 AM

                                                                                          Yeah, you should see my shelves...

                                                                                          1. re: yayadave
                                                                                            Caitlin McGrath RE: yayadave Apr 26, 2010 10:57 AM

                                                                                            I read that there are about a dozen new recipes in that book; the rest are in his previous books. So it's a good opportunity for those who don't have his out-of-print Room for Dessert and Ripe for Dessert, but mostly a repeat for those who do. There's a review on Amazon that lists all the recipes in the new book by chapter.

                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                              buttertart RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 26, 2010 11:00 AM

                                                                                              The only one of his I have is "The Sweet Life in Paris" (I dare you to read that title without singing the Joni Mitchell lyric to yourself) so this one is going on my list (after a library preview).

                                                                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                LulusMom RE: buttertart Apr 26, 2010 11:20 AM

                                                                                                "Nobody was calling me up for flavors, and no one's dinner to decide ..."

                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                  buttertart RE: LulusMom Apr 26, 2010 11:27 AM

                                                                                                  Wunderbar! (I guess he's a free man living the sweet life.)

                                                                                                2. re: buttertart
                                                                                                  Caitlin McGrath RE: buttertart Apr 26, 2010 11:59 AM

                                                                                                  buttertart, the best preview, in terms of knowing what's in the book, and the one that will seriously whet your appetite, is here: http://www.amazon.com/Ready-Dessert-M...

                                                                                                  (Scroll down to the review by S.D. Fischer.)

                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                    The Dairy Queen RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 26, 2010 12:02 PM

                                                                                                    That has to be the world's most thorough review. And, of course, now I'm tempted, too!



                                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                      buttertart RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 26, 2010 12:03 PM

                                                                                                      Holy cow! It had me at "I have nearly 400 cookbooks, about half of which are for dessert, and was still pleased to see so many new flavor combinations and otherwise inventive recipes in Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes." Sounds wonderful. (My own library is probably 1/4 baking and the rest everything else.)

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                        oakjoan RE: buttertart Apr 26, 2010 07:28 PM

                                                                                                        I get Lebovitz' blog emailed every day and read it regularly. What a treat.

                                                                                                      2. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                                                        yayadave RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 26, 2010 01:48 PM

                                                                                                        This has been out for less than a month. Where'd all the reviews come from already?

                                                                                                        1. re: yayadave
                                                                                                          JoanN RE: yayadave Apr 26, 2010 01:52 PM

                                                                                                          Quite a few of these people get review copies about a month or six weeks before the book hits the stores.


                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                            yayadave RE: JoanN Apr 26, 2010 02:53 PM

                                                                                                            Thank you. I thought maybe they were paid ads. On the other hand, I think they should HAVE to be certified Chowhound members to get review copies. (and let us in on the reviews in advance)

                                                                                                            1. re: yayadave
                                                                                                              JoanN RE: yayadave Apr 26, 2010 03:13 PM

                                                                                                              Wouldn't be the least surprised if there were a number of Chowhounds who are Amazon Vine members. But don't hold your breath for them to out themselves.

                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                                yayadave RE: JoanN Apr 26, 2010 04:03 PM

                                                                                                                You're probably right on both counts. There ARE some fine writers here, and there really are some ethical considerations.
                                                                                                                About that book, it looks like it already has plenty of buzz, judging by Amazon's sales ranking.

                                                                                                  2. re: yayadave
                                                                                                    JasmineG RE: yayadave Apr 28, 2010 11:13 PM

                                                                                                    I would love to do the Lebovitz book around the holidays, I've had such good experience with his books.

                                                                                              2. amyzan RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 26, 2010 06:31 PM

                                                                                                Of those nominated, the three of most interest to me are Washoku, Japanese Cooking: Simple Art, and Gourmet Today. I would cook from the New Portuguese Table or Vegetable Love, more than likely, too. I don't have any of them, but all are in the library system here.

                                                                                                Out of curiosity, I looked them up on World Cat(alog) and found that worldwide, either the 1st or 25th anniversary edition of Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art has the most copies available, 1127 between the two editions worldwide. Vegetable Love has 788 copies available and Gourmet Today follows with 752 worldwide, while Washoku has 491 copies available. The New Portuguese Table, being a newer acquisition, has the least number of copies at 387. If we were to give people enough notice, interlibrary loan is available for a nominal fee in most places, I think, if it's not subsidized. Americans would be at an advantage on ILL, I'm tninking? Anywho, I don't know if this info is all that relevant, but here 'tis.

                                                                                                So, in short, I suppose my first choice would be Gourmet Today.

                                                                                                1. pikawicca RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 26, 2010 06:36 PM

                                                                                                  Sorry, but the concept has lost its focus. I can't imagine that this iteration is going to succeed. One great book for one month works, I own Washoku and Gourmet, but neither excites me.

                                                                                                  1. waver RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 26, 2010 08:44 PM

                                                                                                    The WASHOKU book looks really interesting to me and has my vote even though I will have to buy/borrow it. I think it would be both fun and helpful to hear what recipes folks are trying and how they're working out. And if we have two months to work on it, I promise to contribute, really, I will!

                                                                                                    I own the yellow Gourmet book and use it as a resource when I need a specific recipe, but I don't feel the need the need to "share". Most of the recipes are competent, but not necessarily exciting. What's there to say about that? I guess its what I cook from when the in-laws are over...

                                                                                                    29 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: waver
                                                                                                      LulusMom RE: waver Apr 27, 2010 04:12 AM

                                                                                                      Just as an FYI, I think the majority of the Gourmet book votes here are for the green, not yellow, one.

                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                        oakjoan RE: LulusMom Apr 27, 2010 02:50 PM

                                                                                                        So I nominate 2 books: RIVER CAFE EASY cookbook by Ruth Rogers, and, springing from its kitchen, JAMIE OLIVER'S KITCHEN cookbook. I'd nominate the other books by Rodgers, but they don't seem to be U.S. friendly.

                                                                                                        1. re: oakjoan
                                                                                                          LulusMom RE: oakjoan Apr 28, 2010 05:31 AM

                                                                                                          Oh man, you KNOW I want to cook from the RIVER CAFE EASY books. I have a bunch of JO's books, but somehow think I'm missing that one. Maybe one (erm, two) month/s we could do a compendium of JO's work? Somehow I fear this won't get a lot of support ...

                                                                                                          Anyway, I've just made a second nomination, I guess.

                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                            greedygirl RE: LulusMom Apr 28, 2010 06:38 AM

                                                                                                            Given the publicity that JO's getting in the States at the moment, it wouldn't be a bad idea to check out his books, imho.

                                                                                                            I'm up for RIVER CAFE EASY (ITALIAN EASY in the States) as well.

                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl
                                                                                                              jen kalb RE: greedygirl Apr 28, 2010 07:31 AM

                                                                                                              GG do you like the River Cafe Easy book? The reviews of the River Cafe books Ive seen online are all over the place

                                                                                                              1. re: jen kalb
                                                                                                                greedygirl RE: jen kalb Apr 28, 2010 08:23 AM

                                                                                                                I haven't cooked from it for a while but I've had success with the recipes I've made. They are simple but good and rely on top quality ingredients. My one caveat is that the book may be too "easy" for some here. LLM - what do you think?

                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl
                                                                                                                  LulusMom RE: greedygirl Apr 28, 2010 10:04 AM

                                                                                                                  I think the one I've cooked from is the second one (I got the first for Christmas and have been itching for the chance/time to cook from it). I really like it a LOT, although there are some typos. Definitely very easy/simple food, but easy/simple food with very clear and delicious flavors. One recipe in heavy rotation around here is pasta with basil, cherry tomatoes, ricotta and fresh basil. Simple, but wonderful. And the grilled fish - what could be more simple, but also more delicious? And there is a napa slaw (they probably call it a salad) with capers that we also love. Not rocket science, but no one leaves the table unhappy.

                                                                                                              2. re: greedygirl
                                                                                                                cpw RE: greedygirl Apr 28, 2010 03:37 PM

                                                                                                                I wasn't going to vote this month as I was impartial to either selection. But now I cannot resist: RIVER CAFE EASY/ITALIAN EASY.

                                                                                                                1. re: cpw
                                                                                                                  cpw RE: cpw Apr 28, 2010 04:39 PM

                                                                                                                  Oops I forgot to add the second book: JAMIE OLIVER'S KITCHEN

                                                                                                                  Edit: Since so many of us have various JO books, I would like to suggest more than one JO book. So, I change my vote again to just: JAMIE OLIVER

                                                                                                            2. re: oakjoan
                                                                                                              The Dairy Queen RE: oakjoan Apr 28, 2010 09:14 AM

                                                                                                              Woo hoo! My library has one copy of River Cafe Easy!

                                                                                                              My library has lots of JO books, including several copies of Food Revolution, but none of Jamie's Kitchen. Just curious, Oakjoan, of all of the JO books out there, what particularly appeals to you about Jamie's Kitchen? I mean, if one were to own just one JO book, would this be it?


                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                LulusMom RE: The Dairy Queen Apr 28, 2010 10:05 AM

                                                                                                                If she answers this question well, I may have to strangle her.

                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                  The Dairy Queen RE: LulusMom Apr 28, 2010 10:14 AM

                                                                                                                  I know, I know, I am loathe to buy another cookbook right now, too. But if oakjoan swears this is THE JO book to own, I might be persuaded to buy it. Otherwise, maybe can do some sort of JO compendium as you suggest?


                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                    buttertart RE: The Dairy Queen Apr 28, 2010 10:21 AM

                                                                                                                    A small voice in the wilderness - I got the JO at home book out of the library after the estimable oakjoan recommended it - was excited that they had it - and it didn't really grab me. None of the recipes appealed...to me at least.

                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                      LulusMom RE: buttertart Apr 28, 2010 10:25 AM

                                                                                                                      My wallet and bookshelves thank you, buttertart.

                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                        The Dairy Queen RE: buttertart Apr 28, 2010 10:31 AM

                                                                                                                        Oh no, based on the feedback from buttertart, who is practically my same-taste-in-recipes twin, and greedygirl, I can see a personal pocketbook vs. cookbook crisis looming. I hope oakjoan pops in soon to tell us what she loves about Jamie's Kitchen so I'll feel less on the fence.


                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                          buttertart RE: The Dairy Queen Apr 28, 2010 11:04 AM

                                                                                                                          Twin DQ and LM, It may just be me, I want to emphasize. There's a lot about gardening in the book - which until we're settled in the new place next month is of no use to me. I can also see it - because of the gardening/fresh fruit and veg emphasis - being of more use to someone in the Bay Area (which I believe oakjoan is) than to someone in NYC, especially in the winter, when I read it and when produce is OK but no hell here. Many factors impinge on one's engagement with a particular book.

                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                            LulusMom RE: buttertart Apr 28, 2010 11:22 AM

                                                                                                                            Averting eyes, sticking with what I read in previous post ....

                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                              oakjoan RE: buttertart Apr 28, 2010 04:15 PM

                                                                                                                              buttertart: I don't think we're talking about the same book here. I nominated Jamie's Kitchen which has little or no gardening in it. I also have (and also love especially since I got it for about six bucks on Amazon) Jamie at Home, which IS his recipe/gardening book. I just ignore the gardening tips.

                                                                                                                              I like his style of recipes and find that I've cooked from his books a lot. My favorite dessert comes from Kitchen - it's a ricotta/mascarpone, orange peel, chocolate tart which is terrific. It's weird, since he gets so much publicity and I usually don't love books by those big star chefs like Emeril and Keller and Stewart. I cut him slack.

                                                                                                                              1. re: oakjoan
                                                                                                                                The Dairy Queen RE: oakjoan Apr 28, 2010 04:19 PM

                                                                                                                                Hmmmm...a ricotta/mascarpone, orange peel, chocolate tart does sound really delicious...

                                                                                                                                Still, I wish my library had it. Selfish of me, I know.


                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                  oakjoan RE: The Dairy Queen Apr 28, 2010 06:17 PM

                                                                                                                                  TDQ: I'll be glad to paraphrase the recipe for you if you want to try it.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: oakjoan
                                                                                                                                    The Dairy Queen RE: oakjoan Apr 28, 2010 07:18 PM

                                                                                                                                    Hey OJ, that would be wonderful, unless you just want to hold off in case it wins COTM and I end up having to hunt down a copy of the book anyway... I was reading the book using the "search inside" feature on Amazon. I wish they'd let you see some of the recipes. Anyway, I'm sure it would be interesting. I can't wait to jump back into COTM again.


                                                                                                                                2. re: oakjoan
                                                                                                                                  Karen_Schaffer RE: oakjoan Apr 28, 2010 08:15 PM

                                                                                                                                  I would be happy to cook from JAMIE'S KITCHEN.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: oakjoan
                                                                                                                                    buttertart RE: oakjoan Apr 29, 2010 06:05 AM

                                                                                                                                    Oho, I'm sorry - I was mistaken. Now to check on "Kitchen" - that tart recipe sounds beyond delicious. Hope the library has it for prepurchase preview!

                                                                                                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                          greedygirl RE: The Dairy Queen Apr 28, 2010 10:18 AM

                                                                                                                          I have it, and wouldn't say it's his best. I prefer the Naked Chef ones, which are less cheffy. Having said that, it's been a while since I've looked at any of them - too many new things on my bookshelves!

                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl
                                                                                                                            oakjoan RE: greedygirl Apr 28, 2010 04:19 PM

                                                                                                                            I'd be just as happy with the Naked Chef books. I do love the Kitchen book, but I found that it took me a while to get into it. It is a bit basic in its layout, but the recipes are inventive and mostly delicious.

                                                                                                                            1. re: oakjoan
                                                                                                                              LulusMom RE: oakjoan Apr 28, 2010 04:40 PM

                                                                                                                              See, the problem here is that I'm trying not to buy MORE cookbooks ...

                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                oakjoan RE: LulusMom Apr 28, 2010 06:19 PM

                                                                                                                                LLM: What a quaint notion! ;+)

                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                                                  greedygirl RE: LulusMom Apr 29, 2010 12:33 AM

                                                                                                                                  Tell me about it!

                                                                                                                          2. re: oakjoan
                                                                                                                            buttertart RE: oakjoan May 10, 2010 10:03 AM

                                                                                                                            To oakjoan: Apologies again for confusing the two JO books, I got "Kitchen" out of the library and am going to have to buy it - the recipe for squid salad with chili jam and fresh lychees sounds stupendous (am imagining the curl of the two on the tongue, with the slightly bitey inner layer of each and the tender outside). Brilliant.

                                                                                                                      2. s
                                                                                                                        smtucker RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 29, 2010 06:27 AM

                                                                                                                        Caitlin.... this may be the most invigorated nomination thread I have ever seen! Thank you for parsing through it and trying to figure out what it all means. You have your work cut out for you.

                                                                                                                        1. Rubee RE: Caitlin McGrath Apr 29, 2010 11:05 AM

                                                                                                                          Voting thread is up! Hmmm. .I'm torn between Gourmet, which I already have, or buying Washoku. Decisions...decisions.


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