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July/(August) Cookbook of the Month Nominations

It's time to nominate our next cookbook! On the agenda this month are two decisions:

1. What cookbook shall we cook from next? Please type the title of your nomination in ALL CAPITALS so I can pick it out from the discussion more easily.

Nominations are open through next THURSDAY, JUNE 17, at 9 PM, EST.

Here are all of our previous picks for COTM, for reference: http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

2. One month or two? We've done Gourmet Today for two months, which should give participants a sense of how they like a two-month period. Two months with a single-subject book might be a different experience than with a thousand-recipe "potmanteau" book with many kinds of food and cooking to choose from, so that is something to consider.

Please indicate whether you would like our next pick to be for one or two months, and I will tally preferences when I tally nominations.

Let the discussion begin!

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  1. August will be the last month of my stint as COTM coordinator. If someone would like to take over for the next six-month period beginning with the September selection, please shoot me an email (my address is in my profile). This job is obviously essential to COTM continuing, but it does not take a whole lot of time each month on the part of the coordinator.

    1. Hmmmm...quiet month so far. With July and August being the peak of the summer growing season here in the upper Midwest, it would be great to have a book that takes advantage of the wonderful seasonal produce. Nothing specific comes to mind, though. Maybe an oldie Chez Panisse Vegetables? p

      Caitlin, thanks for all you've done as COTM coordinator. Your successor will have big shoes to fill (though I am sure there is someone among us who will be up to the task!)

      ~TDQ

      1. To get the nominations going... Earlier this month Pikawicca asked me to nominate a book for her because she's on holiday for a few weeks. Her choice is:
        BLUE EGGS AND YELLOW TOMATOES: RECIPES FROM A MODERN KITCHEN GARDEN by Jeanne Kelley. I know next to nothing about the book myself but Pika loves it, that much I do know. After reading the product description I now know that the recipes reflect what Ms Kelley grows in her kitchen garden. Organically. Now That I Like !

        Here's a link to the Amazon page for it:
        http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Eggs-Yello...

        3 Replies
        1. re: Gio

          It's getting some great reviews on Amazon, but most people are just commenting on how pretty the book is and aren't really giving a lot of specifics that indicate they've actually cooked from the book. But, I do trust pikawicca's recommendation!

          I wish you could "search inside this book" on Amazon, but you can't. However, this book is indexed on EYB, so, those of you who have EYB can scan at least the recipe names and ingredients, if you wish. Lots of appealing sounding recipes, though it's not at all strictly vegetable focused (lots of meat recipes) and calls for a lot of citrus and other ingredients that don't grow here. But, there are a lot of things that don't grow here, so, that's nothing new!

          It's almost as if the book's subtitle should have been "Recipes from a Modern Farmers Market." (instead of Garden).

          Oh, and my library has it! (which, hopefully means other people's libraries have it, too!)

          ~TDQ

          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            Actually, I think it's a good thing that meats and seafood recipes are included. That makes for book that will appeal to omnivores. I do agree with you, TDQ, that it isn't totally garden based, from what i read. FWIW I still haven't decided what book I'm nominating. But I'm leaning toward Summery, gardeny, seafoody...

            1. re: Gio

              It doesn't bother me that the book has meat, seafood and poultry recipes in it (though I would personally prefer one that is more produce-oriented than this one seems to be per my review of the recipes--all 16 pages of them--on EYB. I have A LOT of produce to use up and only saw about 5 "vegetable" recipes in this book that called exclusively for vegetables that actually grow here and, therefore might be in my CSA*) as much as I was surprised by how many there were since the book is called "From a Modern Kitchen Garden," since most people (I am sure there are exceptions, of course) probably don't have meat or seafood growing in their garden. Poultry, maybe.

              Anyway, it sounds like a charming book. Lots of used copies on Amazon for about $5. And, given my recent EYB addiction, I'm pleased that the book is indexed

              *I just hate to go to the grocery store to buy produce when I have a fridge full of CSA produce.

              ~TDQ

        2. Here's a thought... the more I read about Blue Eggs the more I like it... but,
          what if we chose a new book Plus revisited those past cotms that lend themselves to cooking fresh summer produce? Each book we've cooked from has a vegetable chapter, but I'm thinking primarily of the ethnic books like the Spanish, Greek, Italian, Chinese, Indonesian, Indian books. Just a thought.

          And, although I'm not nominating a book right now I'd like to say that I really Do prefer a 1 month term for cotm. It's a good thing GT is such a large book but most books couldn't be stretched for 2 months unless one really Loved the book.

          1. Just to bore everyone silly, I'm going to go ahead and nominate the River Cafe books again. Or how about The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon (sorry if I'm misspelling here).

            Thank you so much Caitlin, for what you've done over the past 6 months. I'm feeling sort of overwhelmed right now, and my husband is planning to travel for a large chunk of the next few months, so I'm not going to be able to step up to the plate this time around.

            11 Replies
            1. re: LulusMom

              In our voting thread for May/June, waver had suggested combining River Cafe with Silver Spoon's "Recipes from an Italian Summer" for an Italian-ish month, which sounded pretty great and summery to me.

              Still mulling nominations and want to look at "Blue Eggs," but I definitely prefer the one-month COTM format...even with the huge GT book, I feel like the enthusiasm is winding down now that we're more than a month in (although my own recent absence from the board has been predominantly due to travel and the chaos that is the end of the school year with two kids and another performance/potluck/field trip every time I turn around!).

              1. re: mebby

                I love GT and didn't participate for the first couple of weeks because of some commitments, etc.., but I'm also getting bored with it. I guess this why I own so many cookbooks. I get bored even with the books I love. I did like the feeling that I had plenty of time, but, still, I'm starting to get antsy.

                ~TDQ

                1. re: mebby

                  Since I'm (as usual) trying not to buy another cookbook, I'll nominate the Italian idea:

                  RIVER CAFE and SILVER SPOON (I have this, but not the other Silver Spoons). It does have a large vegetable chapter.

                  I did enjoy the two-month idea but I can see why it might not have worked for some. I actually have dishes I've made this month to report, and still planning on (Peruvian Chicken this weekend), but haven't had the time yet to post.

                2. re: LulusMom

                  Oh gosh, LLM... I love The Complete Asian Cookbook, and in the same vein The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook by another author. I ordered the latter yesterday.

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    LLM, can you describe the Complete Asian Cookbook a little? It's not in my library and it's not super cheap even used on Amazon, so, I'm just wondering what you love about this book. I already have about 30 Asian cookbooks and I'm wondering if I really need another. (I'm sure I do! I need only the smallest amount of encouragement...)

                    EDIT: I'm pleased to discover the River Cafe "Italian Easy" and "Italian Too Easy" books are both indexed on EYB, as is The Complete Asian Cookbook. YAY! I'm telling you, it's life-changing.

                    Alas, Recipes from an Italian Summer is not indexed.

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      Well, TDQ, I have to admit to you that it (the complete asian cookbook) was an asked for gift, and since I got it I've either been cooking from a COTM book or been just going with very simple recipes because things have been a bit crazy. So it is really just selfishness on my part to want to have a good reason to really delve into it. The bit of time I've spent looking at it has me very interested. It was recommend to me by Gio and Greedygirl, I think, and I can see why after a few looks through. I do feel your pain on the additional asian cookbook thing - that initially scared me off, but I think, looking at this one, that I'd trade a few I already have in for this one. of course the proof of the pudding is in the tasting!

                      Similar story with the Italian Easy books. I already had Ital. Too Easy and have had some really good meals from it, and now have the first one too. Just looking for a good excuse to delve deeper into TOO and fully into the first one.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        Aha! Maybe GG and Gio will chime in, then, with some thoughts about the Complete Asian Book. I completely understand wanting to get some use out of a new-to-you cookbook.

                        ~TDQ

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Hiya.. TCAC is a very good cookbook. The author, Charmaine Soloman covers 15 Asian couintries with all the necessary additions of pantry, culture, and etiquette. She was born in Singapore IIRC, now lives in Australia and is very well known as a food historian and writer. Here's her web site and the page is the book we're discussing here:
                          http://www.charmainesolomon.com/index...

                          That's the edition I have... there are subsequent editions. My book was a gift too and I've cooked many recipes from it which were very successful and delicious. The photographs are full color/full length.

                          1. re: Gio

                            Thanks for this, Gio. In addition to the link you just offered, I discovered that there are a ton of pages available through Amazon's "Search this book" feature, for those interested in learning more about the book. Most importantly, the table of contents is there so you can see the 15 countries. I notice she's got Philippines and Korea on the list, which are two countries I am curious about and for which I have no other books. Interesting!

                            In the edition available on Amazon, she also has a section on "eating for health" where she says she's modified the recipes "using almost half the amount of fat called for in traditional dishes" in the revised edition. She also provides some general tips on how to substitute for certain fats.

                            ~TDQ

                    2. re: LulusMom

                      I was actually inspired to look into the River Cafe Books based on last month's nominations and ended up with both Italian Easy and Italian Two Easy. I like the emphasis on fresh ingredients and simple preparations.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        I took a look at Italian Too Easy in a local bookstore (where it was on a sale shelf for $11.99), and thought I'd mention for the benefit of those who prefer cookbooks full of photos, that it seems to have a photo of almost every recipe. Also looked like it could be appealing as a summer pick, with summery fruit/vegetable recipes and a chapter on grilled meat and fish, though I didn't have time enough to study it closely.

                      2. Am I wrong, Caitlin, that you have been coordinator for six months but only four selections? Do you want to step down, or is it just that you feel you should? If we’re going to go to a book every two months it seems to me that it would not be too much of a burden for coordinators to take on the job for longer than the six-month period established at the inception of COTM. Especially when we’ve got such a good one. I'm just saying, I don't think you should feel that you should step down just because others have after six months. The situation is different now. In many ways.

                        I recently bought THE COMPLETE ASIAN COOKBOOK and haven't had a chance to look at it yet so I'd be happy to have it be the selection for the next two months. I'm surprised to see the prices on Amazon. I certainly didn't pay that much for it. I bought mine used, but it didn't have a mark on it. I'm guessing it may be temporarily out of stock which can always send prices up.

                        I did find some less expensive used copies on Alibris:

                        http://www.alibris.com/booksearch?qwo...

                        Some of those look like the original edition from McGraw-Hill rather than the reprinted edition from Tuttle Publishing. Just guessing from the copyright page that all of these editions would be essentially the same with only minor revisions among them.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: JoanN

                          The one thing I was wondering about the newer editions of the Complete Asian Cookbook versus the less expensive used editions on Alibris is if it's only the newer editions that have the quantities of fat is reduced in the recipes...

                          ~TDQ

                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            I think that what the author is saying is that from the beginning she wrote the recipes to use less fat, and more healthy fats, than are sometimes called for in the dishes as they are traditionally prepared. I did not take that to mean that more recent editions of the book have scaled back from earlier editions.

                            1. re: JoanN

                              Thanks for the clarification on that!

                              ~TDQ

                          2. re: JoanN

                            Tuttle as pub explains the higher price of the reprint, their books tend to be expensive. Probably acquired and reissued in part for academic interest. I have the old one and it was my introduction to Asian cuisines other than Chinese too. Would be interested in participating with THE COMPLETE ASIAN COOKBOOK. Was intending to on the Gourmet book but our move has been more time-consuming than expected, and I haven't gotten around to buying the book. Thiose passion fruit gelées/pates de fruit I remember from the very nice candy section have my name on them when I do!

                            1. re: JoanN

                              Joan, you raise an interesting point. It's not clear whether we'll continue to one book for two months, or go back to one/one; I had seen pro and con comments on both options, which is why I asked people to indicate their preference in this thread so we can choose which way to go come July. When I took over from Yamalam, things were humming along in the same old one/one format, and there has been some change. I'm not necessarily opposed to coordinating for another book beyond the six months, but for my own purposes not having to do with the time it takes me each cycle, however, I'm not crazy about the idea of being responsible straight through November, which would be true if we continue to do one/two and I stayed on for six books. Regardless, someone will have to take over if COTM is going to continue, and I thought bringing it up sooner rather than later would make sense.

                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                Ok, just to be clear, Im making the nomination of Schwartz for ONE MONTH. I could spend two months on the books I nominated, but rationally I think most everybody is nominating what I would consider one month books. (excent maybe Solomon and Silver Spoon)

                            2. I will finally be back in the US mid-July, so I have hopes to be able to participate in the next COTM at least for part of the time. I don't have a particular suggestion at this point, but I did want to comment that I don't find Asian/wok cookery particularly appealing for the summer months. I know that you can use a lot of produce in Asian food, but somehow this seems more fall/wintery to me rather than peak harvest.

                              1. Just want to go on record as saying that I really appreciated the 2 month format for this book in particular. It always takes a bit for me to get to the library, mull through recipes, shop for ingredients and find the time to cook. But I agree that cooking from the book for 2 months probably won't work for more focused, smaller books.

                                I have a proposal. Can we vote for books 2 months in advance, so that while we're cooking out of the current selection, we can acquire the next book, and make the necessary plans to cook from it? I think it would really help with participation.

                                Either way, I love COTM and am excited that I have the summer off and can do some serious cooking with it. :o)

                                1. I'm trying to eat healthier these days, so I'd like to nominate HUDSON VALLEY MEDITERRANEAN: THE GIGI GOOD FOOD COOKBOOK by LAURA PENSIERO.

                                  It's full of recipes that I think would take advantage of the local farmers markets this summer.

                                  1. Id like to nominate Arthur Schwartz's two Southern Italian Cookbooks, NAPLES AT TABLE and the SOUTHERN ITALIAN TABLE. The latter came out last fall. these are perfect summer books. I have the second on order and cook from the former with great pleasure - it is an extremely good rendition of good Campanian cooking - very enjoyable to cook from, with good results.

                                    12 Replies
                                    1. re: jen kalb

                                      I love NAPLES AT TABLE, and I have SOUTHERN ITALIAN TABLE in my basket on Amazon to buy when I get home. I'd second this nomination in a heartbeat!

                                      1. re: jen kalb

                                        Oh boy... I'm having a difficult time trying to chose this month. I have Naples at Table too but have only cooked 1 or 2 recipes from it. I have The Complete Asian book and love it.. but I'm also loving Mediterranran: Land of the Sun by Jacqueline Clark and Joanna Farrow... and have just bought their new book, The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook.
                                        Such a dilemma...!

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          So many cookbooks, so little time!

                                          1. re: roxlet

                                            Well, on the chance that I may be repeating myself (or even re-repeating myself)....I'm going to nominate ITALIAN EASY and Jamie Oliver's THE NAKED CHEF (or the NAKED CHEF TAKES OFF), I don't care). Oliver was a protege of Rose Gray, Ruth Rogers. He worked at The River Cafe and I like the idea of pairing them together.

                                            1. re: oakjoan

                                              Ooh, I like this suggestion. I've got a bunch of Jamie Oliver books and would enjoy cooking from any of them, and the idea of pairing one of his with Italian Easy is intriguing.

                                              So I'll second ITALIAN EASY and Jamie Oliver's THE NAKED CHEF (or the NAKED CHEF TAKES OFF).

                                              I also vote for continuing with the 2 MONTH COTM format.

                                              1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                Or how about JO's Italy book (can't think of the name right this minute)? That would fit perfectly. And (I type, trying not to be too selfish) I already own it.

                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                  "Jamie's Italy". I have this... so I could give this a go.
                                                  http://www.amazon.com/Jamies-Italy-Ja...

                                                  The River Cafe book I have is Italian Too Easy. But I think there are many on-line recipes from both Italian books.

                                                  Although I'm not ready to nominate yet, I vote for a 1 MONTH COTM.

                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    If we did Jamie's Italy (and thank you Gio, for helping take care of my malfunctioning brain) and the Italian Easy books, I would be ok with 2 months. After all, that is 3 books worth of cooking to do.

                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                      ... <",that is 3 books worth of cooking to do.">

                                                      Right. I was going on an either/or premise. Either Jamie's Italy - or - the 2 River Cafe books...

                                                      10 books have been nominated so far. Seems like a record ..?

                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        I liked Oakjoan's idea of pairing them, since they worked together. And if we did JO's Italy book, it would make perfect sense to do so.

                                                2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                  I'd be happy with ITALIAN EASY and an OLIVER book too - either the Italian one or the Naked Chef as I have both.

                                                  I am less keen on Schwartz having discovered they're hard to get hold of in the UK. Naples at Table is £35 used on Amazon!

                                            2. re: Gio

                                              I know what you mean. I'm going to Campania next month for a week, so am tempted by the Schwartz books but am trying not to make new purchases at the moment!

                                          2. I am going to throw in another suggestion. In July and August, when vegetable gardens are producing widely, I refer to "how to pick a peach." It is straightforward and has simple recipes for summer cooking. It has allowed me to plant vegetables I have never planted before because I had no idea what to do with them.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Jane917

                                              That's a good suggestion--and a very smart book based on the simple premise that food tastes best in un-fussy preparations of what's fresh, local, and in season. Many copies are available from Amazon for pennies plus shipping.

                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                In order for a nomination to "count" the title of the book has to be in all caps. Jane or ncw--did you mean to officially nominate the book or just throw it out there for general discussion?

                                                ~TDQ

                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  Actually, I was just throwing it out in case people were interested in having a look at it; don't wish to alter the direction of things unless enough people were actually interested in such a book.

                                            2. I'm endorsing the ITALIAN EASY books and nominating JAMIE'S ITALY.
                                              The Complete Asian Cookbook will have it's day later.

                                              1. I am love the idea of doing RIVER CAFE/ITALIAN EASY in combo with JAMIE'S ITALY and my preference is for ONE MONTH.

                                                1. Wow, a lot of new books mentioned that I have to explore further, but I'm on board with ITALIAN EASY/ITALIAN TWO EASY in conjunction with JAMIE'S ITALY. Although I prefer the one month format (in my short tenure with COTM - only since February), but I think two months could work with the three books or one month for Jamie's Italy or the Italian Easy series.

                                                  1. OK, just realized I haven't actually voted, and never put anything in caps. I'm going to go with the ITALIAN EASY books (both of them) and the JAMIE"S ITALY (or whatever it is the Jamie Oliver Italy book is called). Thanks so much, as always, for all your work Caitlin.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                      Although I recommended Jamie Oliver, I didn't mention Jamie's Italy. That was because, based on only a short look at it in a bookstore, it didn't grab me the way his other books have. Of course I'll go along with whatever gets voted in, but I am still pushing for one of Jamie's other books, all of which I love. I also am more partial to two books that aren't the same or very similar. Since Oliver learned at the knees of the authors of Italian Easy, I think it'd be more interesting to choose one of his non-Italian books....of course he has Italian recipes in all his books, but they almost all take something from his own ideas, too.