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APRIL 2011 COTM VOTING THREAD.

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Wow, what interesting discussions we've shared on our nominations! Now it time to vote. Please do so by USING ALL CAPS for the book you are voting for. Since everyone is ready to know the outcome quickly and get hold of the book(s) for the month, we will keep voting open only until Friday morning, March 18th at 9.am. CDST. The books listed below got the most attention and are eligble for the April COTM. Happy voting!

AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE by Dorie Greenspan

MARCELLA'S ITALIAN KITCHEN and revisit Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by
Marcella Hazen.

THE SOUTH AMERICAN TABLE by Marie Baez Kijac

David Thompson's Thai books (vote for one or more) -
THAI FOOD
CLASSIC THAI CUISINE
THAI STREET FOOD

Many other great books were mentioned, and I hope we'll return to them at a later time.

-Paula

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  1. Thanks for posting this so quickly bayoucook. Just to be sure I don't mess up. . . we each get just one vote right? (meaning I need to take my time and be certain when I weigh in!!)

    2 Replies
    1. re: Breadcrumbs

      I think that's what the rules say. Tough choice, huh?

      1. re: bayoucook

        Definitely bayoucook! One thing for certain, we'll have a good book in April, regardless of which is chosen. It's so nice to see al the enthusiasm for the COTM too!!

    2. THAI FOOD!!!
      Perhaps I am a bit overzealous, or maybe just an excited food nerd?!
      I would be very interested in exploring more of South America at a later date......

      1. MARCELLA'S ITALIAN COOKING and ESSENTIALS

        1. THE SOUTH AMERICAN TABLE gets my vote!

          1. AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE

            Thank you, bayoucook!

            2 Replies
            1. re: blue room

              I am on my iPhone so I don't know how to post links, but I think someone needs to post a link to this voting thread at the bottom of the nomination thread.

              1. re: dkennedy

                Good suggestion, DK -- I just did it.

            2. AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE

              1. AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE

                Many thanks Paula...!

                1. David Thompson's THAI FOOD

                  1. David Thompson's THAI FOOD. I could get into the South American book as well.

                    1. David Thompson's THAI FOOD

                      1. MARCELLA'S ITALIAN KITCHEN

                        1. Tough choice this month. AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE Thank you, bayoucook.

                          1. These all look great.......

                            THAI FOOD.

                            Thanks for the hard work Bayyoucook.

                            1. MARCELLA'S ITALIAN KITCHEN and revisit Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
                              Marcella Hazan (pls note spelling of last name)

                              1. THAI FOOD

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: gembellina

                                  Though I really want to vote for The South American Table, I am not going to, due the concern raised by our UK participants that they need more time to get a copy of the book. Please, everyone, read up on South American Table, I think it will make a great choice for next time if there is enough interest and our UK participants order in advance.

                                  AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE

                                  Truly an all around great book. Most of the recipes are very approachable and I have really enjoyed all the things I have made out it. My special favorites, the apple cake (you wouldn't think so, but it is a keeper), and the avocado with pistachio oil. TGC has it for $11.99!

                                2. AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE

                                  23 Replies
                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                    Question for those who have and have cooked from Thai Food: I've been doing some research online about David Thompson, based on the votes above, and it sounds like his recipes require a pretty sophisticated understanding of Thai food and Thai cooking. Has that been your experiences? I am attaching a link to my search engine, which includes numerous reviews of his books and recipes, as well as a smattering of recipes, for those who would like to read up.

                                    http://www.google.com/search?client=s...

                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                      Thanks for that DK.. It's been my worry that Thai Food will require more effort, ingredients, familiarity and thought than G & I can give just now.

                                      To quote from the on-line review regarding I Think, Thai Food:
                                      http://www.miettas.com.au/chefs/great...

                                      'He describes it as a "tortuous, onerous tome, an encyclopedia, a history of Thai food from the 14th century". Provisionally titled ‘Thai Cooking’, "is not about me or my recipes, but is my understanding of Thai food." ' So that frightens me. Thai Street Food may be doable for us but I'm wary.

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        I adore Thai food and ordered this book from Abe's as soon as I saw it gaining some support on the nomination thread however I'm guessing the earliest it will arrive will be mid-April. Unfortunately our library doesn't carry it either. I've also been reading some cautionary reviews on the www and wanted to gauge for myself. I'll be interested to hear what folks who've cooked from it have to say.

                                        I'm still undecided as to where to place my vote this time around. We have some good choices. Like dk, as much as I'd like to cook from S A table, I definitely can appreciate that folks need time to purchase it so I'll hope we can see it as a COTM at a later date.

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          I've had this book since it came out, was thrilled to get my hands on it, and got so bogged down in it that I was never inspired to cook from it.
                                          The Street Food book is beautiful but it makes the Alford/Duguid books look like Penguins. Would be v hard to cook from in anything but one of those magazine-spread kitchens.

                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            Thanks Breadcrumbs and Buttertart. I would love to cook from a Thai cookbook, just not Thompson's. In fact I've had 2 Thai books for years:
                                            Simply Thai Cooking by Wandee Young and Byron Ayanogly and A Taste of Thailand (authors names escape me) and have cooked a couple of recipes from Simply Thai. I've been reading about David Thompson for several years now and I think his "tome" is just too much for me, I'm afraid.

                                            1. re: Gio

                                              Gio it was at Young Thailand, Wandee Lee's restaurant, that I developed my love of Thai cuisine! I have her Young Thailand cookbook and have found the recipes to be accessible and, to produce good results. I also have Taste of Thailand by Kit Chan. Not sure if that's the one you have. I've also made dishes from the Australian Women's Weekly Thai book and have loved everything we've had from there.

                                              1. re: Gio

                                                Gio: I have the same misgivings. Sounds like we also have the same book - Taste of Thailand by Vatcharin Bumichitr, which is currently out of print.

                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                  Yes, GG, I have the Bumichitr, A lovely book with the history of the country and beautiful photographs. I take it out every now and then to see if I can actually cook something but for some reason I can't seem to get started with it. I've had it for maybe 10 - 12 years...

                                                  Currently it's available from Amazon's secondary sellers:
                                                  http://www.amazon.com/Taste-Thailand-...

                                              2. re: buttertart

                                                I don't care *how* many magazines I spread around my kitchen, it's still a humble spot!

                                                The Thompson Thai books inspire awe, but I think I'd have more substitutions than grains of rice in each dish.
                                                (My vote already cast earlier, for Dorie's table book.)

                                                1. re: blue room

                                                  I meant the kind of kitchen you see in magazines, with tons of space, a huge island, etc. I only have one friend who has such a one and I'm very happy she's a good cook because I'd be even more jealous of it if she weren't.

                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                    Yes, I know you meant those achingly gorgeous magazine kitchens. Promiscuously, I like them all--kitsch, chrome, Queen Victoria.

                                                    If the Thai books win we'll all learn a lot regardless.

                                              3. re: Gio

                                                Like dk and gio I am concerned that thai food will be time consuming. We need a bit of prep time to enjoy it - find places to buy ingredients since not all of us live in major cities - and buy or borrow books. What do you all think about making a decision for May or June to cook from one of David Thopmson's books? I love thai food, even taken a class to learn how to cook it and it still intimidates me:) This said, I love to eat it and would make big effort to cook from Thai Street Food.

                                                For April, though, my vote goes to AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  I would love to cook Thai food.... but I need a book that helps me learn that principles. In general, I love the months that I need to really invest some energy like Young, Cradle of Flavor, etc.... immersion learning. But those books really held my hand so I could find the ingredients, figure out the profile of the flavors, and prepare the ingredients in a way that allowed them to cook properly.

                                                  Love the idea of street food, but the book is pretty expensive and I am fearful that it would sit on the shelf unloved.

                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                    A few years ago (maybe 5?) I gobbled up all the Thai cookbooks I could find that looked like I could learn the principles from, but alas I abandoned them after some experimentation, packed them away to the attic.

                                                    I think the crowning blow, the event that my final decision was going to a restaurant recommended by a nurse who went for her 20th anniversary. I can still see my dish this day. It was one of those experiences that one cannot forget.

                                                2. re: dkennedy

                                                  I've had the book for years and never cooked from it. The recipes are not accessible. No doubt there is some fantastic stuff in there for someone willing to put in the work of collecting ingredients and cooking it, but I'm certainly not up to the task. Even if there are some recipes that are more accessible, paging through it looking for them and seeing fish innards, large live mud crab, betel leaves, etc scares me away. I haven't decided not to vote for it, because it would be interesting to see what other people make, but I doubt I would make much.

                                                  1. re: sarahcooks

                                                    I got sick to death of him talking about hot peppers as "scuds". They're freaking Thai chilies! They're not that hot! Annoying.

                                                    1. re: sarahcooks

                                                      Maybe we can start an adjunct thread to discuss which Thai cookbook would be the most accessible when we decide to have our Thai month. I have only three cookbooks 0f 170 on my shelves that fall into the Thai department. They are Vatch's South East Asian, A Taste of the Far East, and True Thai. Two of the three are a blending of cultures and I have not cooked out of any of them. I wouldn't mind adding another if it was truly instructive re foundational Thai cooking. But, I think it warrants a deeper discussion then we have time for before the deadline of 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. JMI.

                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                        That's a very good idea.

                                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                                          Here's just such a Thai cookbook thread from the not too distant past, 2009:

                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/610669

                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                            That's a very helpful thread, Gio, thanks for linking here.

                                                          2. re: dkennedy

                                                            I think that's a great idea too. I would love, love, love to do a Thai month and I live close to L.A.'s Thaitown so could probably get at least most of the ingredients, but I can see already that Thompson would be a bit much for me. I bet the results are fantastic, but any book that intimidates the likes of Buttertart and Gio is way beyond my abilities! I agree with smtucker that a book that does a bit more hand-holding in introducing the cuisine would probably be a better fit, for me at least.

                                                        2. re: dkennedy

                                                          I don't have my own copy of Thai Food (Yet--it's in the mail as we speak!) but have cooked from it a little. I'm quite a novice at cooking Thai, which is one of the reasons I would like to try such an authentic book. He really goes into depth with his recipes and sometimes does request items that would be next to impossible for me to get my hands on in my mid-sized prairie city. However, the book is so large and varied that I am confident I would be able to find enough to cook from for the month. (By the way, how often are we supposed to cook from these COTM books?) Perhaps he is a bit of a purist when it comes to ingredients, but would that really stop people from making substitutions when necessary? Not me. I mean, short of growing my own garden or flying to Montreal, there is no way I will ever get coriander root--a very common ingredient in the book. I may also stray from the recipe and used jarred paste if I'm in a bind or don't feel like spending hours on dinner. Yet I still want to cook from it, and will do what I can to make the best of things. Isn't that what cooking is all about?
                                                          I've been flipping through his first book, Classic Thai Cuisine, and it seems that he gives more leeway with the ingredients in this one. It does seem more accessible. Maybe if we supplemented Thai Food with Classic Thai Cuisine, we would have more people wanting to participate.

                                                          1. re: Allegra_K

                                                            "By the way, how often are we supposed to cook from these COTM books?"

                                                            As often or not as you feel like, no rules about it. Cooking from the COTM every night, once a week, or once in the month are equally valid. Do what works for you.

                                                      2. Wow-- this has been an interesting month. Thanks, Paula for all your work coordinating. I have been so busy, I am just trying to get caught up on the nominations and voting now. Although I love Thai food, I think it sounds like Thompson's books are going to be way above my pay grade for the time being.

                                                        I vote MARCELLA'S ITALIAN KITCHEN. Never cooked from it, know it's at my library and have always heard about her. I'm curious to see if my noodle-loving children and Korean husband who thinks he doesn't like Italian food (based on his mom's spaghetti) would like real Italian.

                                                        Can't wait to see what wins.

                                                        1. AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE

                                                          1. I'd love to cook from THAI FOOD.

                                                            15 Replies
                                                            1. re: waver

                                                              It's funny, I thought there would be more people voting since it was such a lively discussion during the nomination's process. Was it just the few people here talking back and forth?

                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                Hah! I was thinking the same thing dk, but then I haven't voted yet either. I'm flipping through Dorie's book right now and then I'm moving on to take a closer look at Marcella. Maybe others are doing the same. Certainly there are some avid participants that haven't weighed in as yet.

                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                  I am thinking about it, long and hard,
                                                                  Can't decide between Marcella and Dorie. I'd love thai, but a different author. -Though I did request one of his books from my library just to see what all the buzz is about.
                                                                  Either way this goes, I think it will be a fun COTM.

                                                                  1. re: rabaja

                                                                    I have also requested 2 of his books from my library, along with Marcella's, (though I am sure there is a reason I got rid of my Marcella book in the first place)....so I am well set up to participate, whichever way the wind blows.

                                                                    Someplace up the thread someone mentioning needing a Magazine style kitchen to prep properly for Thai Food. I have a pretty large, accessible kitchen. So, if our L.A. based COTM-ians want to get a group together to cook through some Thai Food recipes (should it be selected), maybe we can arrange a day to cook together at my place. Might be fun. Am I allowed to suggest such a thing? I guess I'l find out soon enough.

                                                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                                                      I would love that DK, although my skills are not perhaps up to par with some of the other COTMers. And I don't know how many other L.A. COTMers there are...I guess we'll see. I was on the LAPL site today and saw that Thompson and maybe the Marcella were in transit for a hold and wondered if they might be for another COTMer! I'm in Silverlake...you?

                                                                      1. re: mebby

                                                                        I am on the Westside, near the Sunset exit of the freeway.

                                                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                                                          We ask that any kind of Chowhound meetup be organized off-board, so as not to clutter threads with organiztional minutiae. If you would like to coordinate such an event, please do it via email, by offering an address where others can contact you, either in a post or in your profile.

                                                                          1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                            Understood, sorry I wasn't clear on the protocol. I need to figure out how to add an email to my profile.

                                                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                                                              I added mine in the blog space since I don't have one.

                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                Thank you, I will do the same.

                                                                      2. re: dkennedy

                                                                        Sheesh, I've been absent from Chowhound for a while for no good reason and now I find it very hard to choose this month. I don't have any of the books and none are available at the library....well some are, but they're either reserved or out and reserved upon return.

                                                                        I guess I'll vote for AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE and hope I can get my hands on a copy or find recipes on websites.

                                                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                                                          Oakjoan, I ordered Around my French Table from Amazon - have not received it yet but it seems to be shipping swiftly. I wanted the book regardless of it being this month's COTM but hope that it will be:)

                                                                          1. re: herby

                                                                            It is available right now from The Good Cook for $11.99

                                                                            1. re: dkennedy

                                                                              Member price, I think.

                                                                  2. re: dkennedy

                                                                    After a few months of voting and then participating less than I thought I would be able to, I feel more comfortable participating in the nomination threads and really weigh whether or not to vote based on how confident I am that I'll be doing a significant amount of cooking from the book that month -- and that may be true for others. Also, I think all the choices this month look great and I think I'm going to defer to the greater wisdom of the collective COTM mind!

                                                                2. AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE. I am very interested in the South American book, I hope we revisit it when the UK members can more readily access it. Thai food certainly interests me, but living in a smaller city, I don't know how much access I will have to ingredients. I've got it reserved at the library, so I'll look at ingredients for when I'm in the "big city."

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                    Funnily enough, I am much more likely to have access to Thai ingredients than South American, although there are some Colombian restaurants and shops in my neighbourhood. The South American book doesn't grab me at all - I've always found the food to be quite heavy and very meaty although my experience is limited to Colombia.

                                                                    So I have eliminated the South American book, but am torn between the others. Thai Food does intrigue me but I find his emphasis on "authenticity" a bit off-putting. I have been to Thailand several times, and taken cooking classes, and I just don't seem myself having the time to pound all those pastes. Even Thai cooks take shortcuts - the ladies in the beachfront place we stayed last time made delicious food, sometimes using pastes from a tub, or prepared by someone else.

                                                                    I think the voting ends at 3pm GMT so hopefully I will have made my mind up by then!

                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                      GG,

                                                                      I think voting is due to end at 9:00 a.m., not 3.

                                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                                        She lives in London...

                                                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                                                          As Gio says, I'm in London and several hours ahead of you guys. Just realised it's still winter so 9am CDST is 2pm GMT - better make my mind up!

                                                                        2. re: greedygirl

                                                                          I had wondered about that. I thought South American ingredients might not be readily available in the UK. I've even had a more difficult time finding some South American and Mexican ingredients since I moved north from California!

                                                                      2. AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE, please.

                                                                        Thank you!

                                                                        1. Well, this was a tough one. I have interest in all these books so will be happy no matter where we end up. That said, this month I'm casting my vote for:

                                                                          AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE

                                                                          As I mentioned, I've ordered Thai Food but I don't expect it will arrive until mid-April based on past experience w Abes. If this book isn't selected, I hope someone posts a "Cooking From Thai Food" thread similar to what someone did for Around My French Table. That way we could start cooking from it and have a central place to share our experiences and decide whether some of the issues that have been raised around this book are valid or not.

                                                                          I'm still keenly interested in the South American Table and hope more folks get copies so we can do this as a COTM soon.

                                                                          I don't see Marcella getting enough support in this voting thread but since there's a historical COTM thread for Essentials, I'm going to try a few recipes and post there, maybe others will join me?

                                                                          Ok, now back to Jamie, I need a recipe for tonight's dinner!!

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                            What a nice post Breadcrumbs. I've been thinking along similar lines. The historical COTM threads are such great resources. I find myself looking through them often for ideas and pointers.

                                                                            While "Thai Food" is a book that I love and use it regularly, and voted for it above, the concerns about it as a COTM make sense and seem valid. So maybe a separate thread as you suggest would be a good way to resolve the issue. I'd be happy to get one going, as long as it is clear that it isn't a "pout" and in no way meant to under cut April's COTM, this is assuming that Thai Food "loses". Would others be OK with that?

                                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                                              Of course!

                                                                          2. Gosh, this is a tough one. Like others, this particular Thai book sounds like it would mean too much work for me. And if there are people who can't get the south american book, then that one is out for me. Not sure how much I'm going to be able to cook next month, but my vote is going to go to MARCELLA'S ITALIAN KITCHEN and revisit ESSENTIALS.
                                                                            Thanks bayoucook!

                                                                            1. MARCELLA'S ITALIAN KITCHEN and revisit Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by
                                                                              Marcella Hazen. I have had these books for so many years and never gave them enough attention.

                                                                              1. I'm going to vote for MARCELLA'S ITALIAN KITCHEN and revisit Essentials. Thank you!

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                  You have Kitchen, right? Like it?

                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                    I don't, actually. I have Marcella Cucina and the Essentials.

                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                      Please get Kitchen. In my top 10 ever owned.

                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                        There are cheap copies I can get shipped from the States. As there's no hurry now I might well do that.

                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                          You won't regret it!

                                                                                2. Paula, when do we find out which book was voted in? Will you post on this thread?

                                                                                  Many thanks!

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: herby

                                                                                    Hi Herby, Around My French Table won -- Paula started a new thread here to announce: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/772864 (you can also find by looking at the top of the Home Cooking board). I just looked back through my copy and am thrilled that we're doing this one!

                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                      My copy of The South American Table just arrived (that was fast)! I will look through it and report back. The foreword is by Charlie Trotter so that is a promising sign.

                                                                                      Charlie recommends the Quinoa Soup with Pork (among others) so I think this will be me first recipe. This recipe dates back to the Inca Empire, and the ingredients include things like peanut butter, peas, potatoes, pork, and, of course, quinoa.

                                                                                      A quick look already has me drooling. I wish I had this book in hand before we voted, but I think everyone who orders it will be pleasantly surprised. I am going to start gathering my ammo to tempt everyone next time. The book contains 450 recipes, many of which are reminiscent of African, French, and Mexican dishes. I am especially enticed by the Appetizer, Meat, and Bread sections.

                                                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                        The few recipes I've made from South American Table came out really well.

                                                                                        Very Good were:

                                                                                        Potato Soup w/Avocado and Corn, p. 135
                                                                                        The Quinoa Soup w/Pork, p. 145
                                                                                        Neruda's Fish Soup, p. 152

                                                                                        Spaghetti w/Chicken and Spinach Sauce, p. 180 was pretty good, too.