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Of the 50 COTM's of the past, which is your all-time favourite?

Wow, can you believe there have been 50 COTM's? Being relatively new here, I have to say, the COTM feature is my absolute favourite feature of Chowhound. I love the idea of being able to refer to the experiences of fellow hounds as I'm trying a new recipe or, considering the purchase of a new book. Its also great that these threads continue to be updated as folks try recipes from these books long after they were featured as COTM's.

So, this got me wondering, of all 50 COTM's past, which book or books are your favourites? Here's a link to the list:


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  1. Bon Appetit, Y'all - it was fun AND we had imput from the author.

    1. Can't choose just one...I have three favorites:
      Fuchsia Dunlop, "Land of Plenty"
      Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi,"Ottolenghi: The Cookbook"
      Virginia Willis, "Bon Appetit Y'All"

      But then there's:
      Madhur Jaffrey, "Indian Cooking"
      Ruth Reichl, "Gourmet Today"

      Oh dear...and my new favorite:
      Dorie Greenspan, "Around My French Table"

      2 Replies
      1. re: Gio

        Gio, my dear, I'm not sure AMFT counts, as it was not a COTM!

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          Of course you're correct, Caitlin. Wishful thinking on my part...

      2. No contest,

        Dunlop (don't make me choose between LOP & RC, though, please)--this was my first COTM, so, I can't comment on the ones before that.

        Next: Vietnamese, Ottolenghi.

        After that: Casas and Flex Table

        Here's a thread of favorite COTM recipe favorites "Recipe so good you've made it at least 3 times: COTM Edition" : http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6609... It's about a year old, so, perhaps we need to refresh it!


        1 Reply
        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          I just bumped 'er. More input would be great.

        2. I have favorites and dudds in my mind for sure, but I look forward to it every month regardless.
          Strangely, some months I will enthusiastically source out the book and then not post re; a single recipe. I guess that's just life, but the most memorable COTM for me were:
          Sunday Suppers at Lucques
          Flexitarian Table
          I really enjoyed exploring these books, and I'm not sure I ever would have discovered FT if not for Chowound. And now some of his recipes are constants in my repertoire.
          I'm sure part of what made these favorites was actually getting involved in the COTM process. Reading, shopping, cooking, taking photos and then getting to discuss it all with you great people. What's not to like?
          And I reassure myself that yes, SOMEDAY we will do My Bombay Kitchen ;).

          1. Oh holy cow, I could never ever name just one, but I"ll say

            Fish without a Doubt
            Vietnamese month

            probably were my favorites and the ones that have made the most impact on my cooking.

            But ... I'd hate to leave out Zuni, Arabesque, Hopkinson, Flexitarian and Gourmet today from my list of favorites.

            1. Oh, definately All About Braising comes first. Second place so far is Bon Appetit Y'all.

              I was actually really enjoying the Elizabeth David Classics book, both just reading from it and actually cooking from it. Then my avatar got (fatally) sick and I had to spend the rest of that month nursing and cooking for him instead of my family.

              6 Replies
              1. re: clamscasino

                I'm so sorry to hear about your dog - part of the family. So sorry.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  Thanks for your kind words LLM. I always said "my second child is a dog." We would have liked a couple more years with him, but he had as good a life as a rescue dog. Now I have a third child....and he sure helps me burn all the calories from COTM. :)

                  1. re: clamscasino

                    I called my dog my dog-ter (as in daughter). Had her for almost 17 years, and boy, did she help me become a better mother now to Lulu. I'm sure you know what I mean.

                    Congrats on the free aerobics!

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      "dog-ter" I like it! Third child could just be the poster boy Chowhound needs:

                      1. re: clamscasino

                        He certainly likes to put things in his mouth!

                        1. re: clamscasino

                          awwww....look at pup!!! so cute! love the picture! ♥♥

                2. For me, the three tops have been:

                  Molly Stevens: All About Braising,
                  Fuchsia Dunlop: Land of Plenty
                  Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi: Ottolenghi: The Cookbook

                  Close runner up would be:
                  Indian Month
                  Fish Without A Doubt

                  And I am a fairly recent COTM'er... maybe 18 months, or two years.

                  1. I haven't participated regularly at all, but looong ago I was introduced to "Mexico One Plate at a Time" by Rick Bayless. And now I make proper tamales, but more important, I'm open to and interested in whatever else comes down the pike!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: blue room

                      I am on the new side too and COTM is my single favorite aspect of Chowhound. So far, my favorite selections have been:
                      Sunday Suppers
                      and I am looking forward to years and years of more choices!

                    2. The one I know best, having cooked from it longest: Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking (she has a cracking good one just out, At Home With Madhur Jaffrey, by the way).
                      The ones I think are the most stellar achievements, since the recipes are simple and they produce absolutely authentic food, are the Fuchsia Dunlops.

                      1. I started following COTM sort of late in the game (Hopkinson, i think). However the COTM's I wish I could have participated in were:


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: soypower

                          Trust me, if you cook from them and report, we'll all be reading along!

                        2. I can't believe I missed this thread entirely! Where was I? Oh, right. Mexico.

                          I also can't believe only two people mentioned Sunday Suppers at Lucques. Was there a miss in that book? If so, I don't recall.

                          As far as which book I've used the most, it's probably a tossup between Fish Without a Doubt and Land of Plenty.

                          In addition to Lucques, the two books I use most often for entertaining: The Zuni Cookbook and All About Braising.

                          The book that knocked my socks off because I was so charmed by it and it was so unexpected: Roast Chicken and Other Stories. Bought his second book, too, and still have scads of recipes I want to make that I never got around to.

                          Book that didn't appeal to me at the time but that I finally bought two years later and keeps coming up in my EYB searches: The Flexitarian Table.

                          Book I'm most sorry I wasn't around for, didn't get into, and don't have: Arabesque.

                          And thank you, yet once again, redwood2bay, wherever you are.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: JoanN

                            Joan, redwood2bay popped up recently, posting in the Arabesque revisit a few months ago, and more recently in the Maida Heatter BCOTM! I know some of us were very pleased to see her, given that she is entirely responsible for starting this project so many have gained so much from.

                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                              So happy to hear that, and to know she's aware of what a huge success COTM has become thanks to her.

                              Now, anyone seen Mrs. Smith?

                              1. re: JoanN

                                How I wish I could point you to Mrs. Smith. Such a shame she stopped posting (before even the CNET transition, I believe).

                            2. re: JoanN

                              JoanN, I'm so glad you found this post and value your feedback. I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts and recipe reviews/experiences. I also, really appreciate your beautiful photographs, they really bring your experiences to life and always make me hungry and keen to try a recipe. Your travels through "Around My French Table" inspired me to take a look at it today at the book store (even though I swore I definitely didn't need another French or French-inspired book!)

                              I too was charmed by Roast Chx...I love the recipes, the stories and the lovely illustrations in that book.

                              Thanks for the info on Flexitarian Table, I haven't paid any attention to this so I'll take a look at the recipes in EYB, its not a book I currently own. Lately I've been finding Mollie Katzen's recipes have come up a lot in my EYB searches, perhaps since I've been searching based on the veggies I'm picking up at the market.

                              I'll have to give Zuni another look. I have to admit I was so excited to get the book as I knew the back-story of the restaurant but found Rodgers a little off-putting in the forward and early pages of the book...a little too "me focussed". Flipping through the book I kind of got the same feeling, that the book was more about telling her stories and sharing her recipes than it was about the reader. For instance, no effort seems to have been made in trying to have recipes start at the top of a page. Maybe I was just cranky, I'll have to give this some more attention.

                              Thanks again!

                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                Oh my goodness, Breadcrumbs. Can you see me blushing over my morning coffee? Thank you.

                                With regard to Zuni, I think I like about it just what you don’t. I usually enjoy reading about a chef’s history and influences, how she developed her cooking philosophy. And I like reading, too, about how an individual recipe came about, how it evolved, how it’s served at the restaurant, and what wines she recommends go with it. All that what-to, why-to, how-to makes me I think a better, and certainly a more knowledgeable, cook.

                                As far as recipes beginning a new page, that would have been very, very easy to do. But considering there are about 250 recipes in the book, that could easily—and conservatively--have added another 100 pages and $20 to the book. I’m happy they didn’t do that.

                                Interesting story in that regard, although it’s somewhat OT for this thread. Many years ago I was working on a cookbook with the name of a very well known magazine in its title. The people at the magazine insisted that no recipe run from a right- to a left-hand page. So we’d rearrange the recipes and adjust the art work all in an attempt to make sure that each double-page spread was complete in itself. When we ran into trouble and just couldn’t make a recipe fit, the editors would start deleting ingredients. First pepper, then garlic, then other herbs and/or spices until finally no recipe carried over to the next page. Retest the recipe? Are you kidding? When the book was finally published, I wanted to run around to bookstores putting a sticker on each one that read “Just add pepper and garlic.”

                            3. I just realized I'd missed this thread too! That's what going back to work will do for you!

                              My favorites:

                              Sunday Suppers at Lucques
                              Roast Chicken and Other Stories
                              Vietnamese Month
                              Dunlop Month
                              Julia Child
                              Elizabeth David

                              I also really like the Frank Stitt's book, though very few participated that month, if I recall correctly.

                              1. Arabesque. Love that book.

                                1. Oh, so hard to choose just one. I can barely stick to 5:

                                  Dunlop's "Land of Plenty"
                                  Hazan's "Essentials of Italian Cooking"
                                  Roden's "Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon"
                                  Goin's "Sunday Suppers at Lucques"
                                  Rodgers "Zuni Cafe".