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:
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"
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!
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
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 ;).
Oh holy cow, I could never ever name just one, but I"ll say
Fish without a Doubt
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
I just realized I'd missed this thread too! That's what going back to work will do for you!
Sunday Suppers at Lucques
Roast Chicken and Other Stories
I also really like the Frank Stitt's book, though very few participated that month, if I recall correctly.